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Welcome back, American Crystal employees

Speaking on behalf of American Crystal Sugar Co., I would like to welcome all the company's employees back to their place of work. For well over a year, news of contract negotiations and labor disruption has filled the newspapers and airwaves of ...

Speaking on behalf of American Crystal Sugar Co., I would like to welcome all the company's employees back to their place of work. For well over a year, news of contract negotiations and labor disruption has filled the newspapers and airwaves of our Red River Valley communities. Much of that news has included accusation and blame.

Throughout that year, people have expressed strong disagreement about the relationship between people who have worked for American Crystal for many years, and the company that has benefited from their hard work. Expressions of disagreement have frequently been passionate. In many cases, they have become personal. This is regrettable, but it is also understandable. Many people value their jobs almost as much as they value their families and their friends. Jobs don't just give people paychecks; they give us a sense of accomplishment, and an opportunity to build a better future for our families.

It is my sincere hope and expectation that all of us will now put the disagreements of the past year behind us. Doing that will allow every one of us to devote our attention and our efforts to re-building relationships and building on the feeling of achievement and security that we gain by doing our jobs.

American Crystal was founded 122 years ago, and it has been an economic pillar in the Red River Valley for 85 years. There can be little doubt that the events of the past year will be remembered as some of the most important in all of those years. Recognizing that these events have seriously disrupted many peoples' lives, it is my personal goal that we will now turn a page and begin to add many more years of good jobs and economic success to the company's future.

American Crystal's growers and owners and its employees all make their own unique contributions to enable successful operations in the field, at receiving stations and factories. This combination of talent and effort has allowed us to be a preferred supplier of sugar and sugar coproducts to thousands of customers in the United States and overseas. The contributions of each group are needed to build on this record of success into the future. I ask members of each group to re-orient themselves today to continue making the contributions that they have for so many years.

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By respecting and valuing the contributions that every person at American Crystal has made, and will make in the future, we will bring this difficult chapter in our company's history to a close. We can then begin to write new chapters full of strong relationships, individual fulfillment, and economic stability.

Berg is the president and CEO of American Crystal Sugar Co.

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