American Crystal Sugar stock prices soar


MOORHEAD, Minn. — The stock price of American Crystal Sugar Co. has reached near record highs in price per planted acre. The price today is about the same as the price of the farmland on which the beets are grown.

The award is likely on the minds of growers who will make history by meeting virtually this year because of COVID-19 – at their factory district meetings, lender meetings and even the annual meeting. company, according to company officials.

The stock selling “season” usually begins in early fall and continues through March or April. The shares provide rights and obligations to market the beets through the closed cooperative.

This year, FNC Ag Stock LLC of Grand Forks made the first sale of the season on August 28 — a record 25 shares at $3,950 per share. The brokerage had 50 shares listed for sale at $3,900 a share and 100 shares listed at $4,100. Individuals willing to buy shares offered up to $3,750 for 50 shares.

Jayson Menke, broker for Acres & Shares, a brokerage in Grand Forks, said to date there have been four stock sales traded.

“Brokerage sales are off to a good start, based on a near perfect harvest, higher sugar content and optimism about sugar prices,” he said.

Chris Griffin, president of Red River Land Co. of Grand Forks, said his first sale was Sept. 17 at $3,850 and the company’s most recent was $3,900.

That compares to a previous high in October 2012 at $4,400 per share, but at that time farmers were allowed to plant more acres per share.

“On a planted acres basis, we’re close to a record, if not a record,” Griffin said.

Given that shareholders today are only allowed to plant 74-79% of their shares, this translates to an effective price of $5,064 per planted acre. The price hit a record high of $4,400 per acre in October 2012, which would have been an effective price of $4,944 per planted acre.

Andy Gudajtes of FNC Ag Stock said farmland in the Red River Valley costs between $2,500 and $5,000, with the highest prices being where rainfed potatoes are grown.

“It shows there is optimism in the sugar beet industry,” he said.

The cooperative has 500,000 shares outstanding. According to American Crystal records, shareholders harvested an average of 426,000 acres of beets during the 2010, 2011 and 2012 crop years. For comparison, they harvested 398,000 acres in 2017, 385,000 in 2018, and expect to harvest 405,000 acres in 2020.

The high selling price is likely tied to high expectations for sugar beet payment per tonne and a good harvest, Griffin said.

“There is some variability due to rain, but overall a solid crop,” he said.

Other encouraging elements are the favorable trade policies of recent years. It’s too early to predict the volume of stocks that will change hands, Griffin said.


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