ADM celebrates 120th year in business

This year, one of Marshall’s largest employers, ADM (Archer Daniels Midland) celebrated their 120th year in business. ADM was incorporated on Sept. 30, 1902, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as a regional linseed oil business.

John W. Daniels began crushing flaxseed to make linseed oil in Ohio in 1878, and in 1902 he moved to Minneapolis to organize the Daniels Linseed Company. The company consisted of a flax crushing plant that made three products: raw linseed oil, boiled linseed oil, and linseed cake or meal. In 1903 George A. Archer joined the firm, and in a few years it became the Archer-Daniels Linseed Company. Archer also brought experience to the firm, as his family had been in the business of crushing flaxseed since the 1830s. Archer and Daniels then hired a young bookkeeper by the name of Samuel Mairs, who eventually became the company’s chairperson.

These three men had a common goal of “year-round production at low margins,” a goal that continued to direct the company into the 21st century.

In 1923, ADM purchased the Midland Linseed Products Company, which then led to the incorporation as the Archer-Daniels-Midland Company.

Today, ADM is one of the world’s leading processors and distributors of agricultural products for food and animal feed, with additional operations in transportation and storage of such products. Its principal operations are in the processing of soybeans, corn, and wheat, the three largest crops in the United States.

Locally, the ADM plant began in the early 1980s through efforts of a group of farmers who had a vision for the future. They pooled their resources to create Minnesota Corn Processors (MCP) because of the potential of corn as a renewable resource. Like shareholders in any cooperative, MCP members wanted to add value to corn as well as livestock feed to create more income for grass roots producers.

By the early 1990s MCP was the second largest producer of ethanol in the world next to the Decatur Ill.-based Archer Daniels Midland. A second MCP plant was built in Columbus, Nebraska.

In 1997 MCP shareholders voted to sell 30 percent of their cooperative to ADM and five years later ADM acquired MCP in its entirety.

The Marshall ADM plant employs 250 employees and grinds 200,000 bushels of corn daily. The corn is grown and harvested by area farmers.

This month the State of Minnesota recently celebrated the manufacturing industry. In Minnesota, more than 75,000 job openings for manufacturing positions through 2030 with average annual wages for workers in manufacturing are $74,630, 10% higher than across all industries in Minnesota.

Manufacturing is the largest employing industry in southwest Minnesota, accounting for over 18% of all jobs in the region. That makes the region unique — it is the only planning region (of 6 in the State of MN) where manufacturing is still the largest employing industry, while all other regions now rely more heavily on Health Care & Social Assistance.

Manufacturing, including ADM, needs people with all levels of education, from a high school diploma or equivalent to advance degrees in science, math or engineering. Some plants, including Marshall’s ADM plant are among the most state-of-the-art and sanitary environments you can find as well as high-tech machinery and workplace standards are designed to protect safety and well-being.

Earlier this year ADM announced it will invest to significantly expand starch production at its Marshall, Minnesota, facility in order to meet fast-growing demand from the food and beverage sectors, and to support the continued expansion of the company’s BioSolutions platform.

To support this expansion, in May of this year, the Marshall ADM plant was awarded a $1.87 million grant through the Minnesota Department of Transportation Rail Service Improvement Program for a new loadout building and equipment along with a new track connection to existing rail infrastructure. The Marshall expansion project is expected to be complete in the second half of 2023.

— Sharon Hanson is the city administrator for the city of Marshall


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