Michael Astrup, 54, a director from the Moorhead Factory District since 1996, was elected chairman of the board at the cooperative's December 6, 2007, board reorganization meeting. Astrup has been a farmer since 1976 near Dilworth, Minn. He serves on the Board of Directors of United Sugars Corporation, the Board of Governors of ProGold Limited Liability Company and is a director of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association.
At the same meeting, Neil Widner, 56, was elected vice chairman of the board. Widner has been a director representing the Drayton Factory District since 2000. He has farmed near Stephen, Minnesota, since 1973 and serves on the Board of Directors of United Sugars Corporation and as a director for the American Sugarbeet Growers Association.
William Hejl and Curtis Knutson also joined the board as newly elected directors.
William Hejl, 52, will represent the Moorhead Factory District. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in business and Behavioral Science from the United States Air force Academy and is a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel. In addition to farming near Amenia, ND, for the past 20 years, Hejl was president of the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association, president of the World Association of Beet and Cane Growers, manager of the Rush River Water Resource District, and president of the North Dakota National Guard Association.
Knutson, 50, represents the Crookston Factory District and has grown sugarbeets for 36 years near Fisher, Minn. He also raises Black Angus and Quarter horses. Knutson is a co-owner of KB Manufacturing and is a seed sales representative for Crystal Sugarbeet Seed. He serves on the Polk County Extension Board and is a sworn member and captain of the Polk County Mounted Sheriff's Posse.
David Kragnes, 55, formerly the board's chairman, retired after serving American Crystal for 12 years on the board, one year as vice chairman and the past two years as chairman. A farmer since 1972, Kragnes farms near Felton, Minn. He served as chairman of the board of directors of United Sugars Corporation and on the board of directors of Midwest Agri-Commodities Company, the Board of Governors of ProGold Limited Liability Company and is a director for the American Sugarbeet Growers Association.
Jim Ross, 57, who has been a director from the Crookston Factory District since 1998, also went off the board. He has farmed near Fisher, Minnesota, since 1971. He served on the Board of Governors of ProGold Limited Liability Company and the board of the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association.
Other members of American Crystal's board include: William "Buzz" Baldwin, St. Thomas, ND; Rick Borgen, Perley, Minn.; John Brainard, Ada, Minn.; Brian Erickson, East Grand Forks, Minn.; Robert Green, St. Thomas, ND; John Gudajtes, Minto, ND; Curt Haugen, Argyle, Minn.; Francis Kritzberger, Hillsboro, ND; Jeff McInnes, Hillsboro, ND; Ronald Reitmeier, Fisher, Minn.; Neil Widner, Stephen, Minn.; and Steve Williams, Fisher, Minn.