Dean Haubenstricker, Mike Leen join co-op’s 13-member Board of Directors; Adam Herford elected Chairman

BAY CITY – Two new faces have joined the Michigan Sugar Company Board of Directors, two outgoing directors were recently honored for their service and a new slate of board officers – including a new Board Chairman – has been elected.

New to the board are Dean Haubenstricker of Frankenmuth and Mike Leen of Carsonville. Both were elected to serve four-year terms during Michigan Sugar Company’s annual meeting held Thursday, Jan. 9, at Saginaw Valley State University. Also re-elected for another four-year term is incumbent Director Warren Bierlein of Vassar.

Haubenstricker represents Michigan Sugar Company’s West District, Leen the East District and Bierlein the Central District.

Following the annual meeting, officers were elected to serve for the coming year. They are: Chairman Adam Herford of Elkton, Vice Chairman Clark Gerstacker of Midland, Secretary Richard “Rick”Gerstenberger of Snover and Treasurer James Roggenbuck of Harbor Beach.

After 12 years as Board Chairman, Gerstenberger chose not to seek re-election as Chairman. He was pleased to be elected Board Secretary, a role through which he will continue to serve on the Executive Committee.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as Chairman for Michigan Sugar Company,” said Gerstenberger, who also is wrapping up his final year as President of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association, a 10,000-member, 11-state sugarbeet organization. “I am so proud of our cooperative and the talented farmers and world-class management team and employees who run it. I believe we have a very bright future and the right people in place to get us there.

“As we look to the future, succession planning is vital. I look forward to continuing my work on the Co-op Board and its Executive Committee, drawing from my experience and offering my insights to help our new Chairman Adam Herford lay the groundwork for future generations of sugarbeet growers to be successful.”

Herford was elected to the Board of Directors in 2018, following in the footsteps of his father William “Bill” Herford, who served on the Co-op Board from 2002 to 2018. Today, Adam Herford oversees the family’s farm operation that includes about 1,900 acres of sugarbeets, as well as alfalfa, dry beans, wheat, corn, soybeans and cattle.

“I am honored and humbled to be elected Chairman and to serve this amazing cooperative,” said Herford, who earned his bachelor’s degree in agribusiness management from Michigan State University in 2001. “It also is humbling to follow Rick Gerstenberger in this role as he is one of the most well respected leaders in our industry. I know I have enormous shoes to fill and I’m thankful to have Rick by my side and grateful for his continued leadership to our cooperative.”

The Michigan Sugar Company Board of Directors is now composed of:

  • Adam Herford, Chairman, of Elkton.
  • Clark Gerstacker, Vice Chairman, of Midland.
  • Richard Gerstenberger, Secretary, of Snover.
  • James Roggenbuck, Treasurer, of Harbor Beach.
  • Warren Bierlein of Vassar.
  • Teresa Crook of Frankenmuth.
  • Clay Crumbaugh of St. Louis.
  • Tom Gettel of Sebewaing.
  • Dean Haubenstricker of Frankenmuth.
  • Mike Leen of Carsonville.
  • Mark Sylvester of Fairgrove.
  • Tom Wadsworth of Sandusky.
  • William A. “Bill” Zehnder, Outside Director, of Frankenmuth.

During the Annual Meeting, outgoing directors Mark Richards and William Meylan were honored for their years of service to the board. Richards was elected to the board in 2012 and became Board Treasurer in 2014. Meylan stepped up to fill an open board position in 2017.

About Michigan Sugar Company

Michigan Sugar Company was founded in 1906 when six smaller sugar companies merged their operations. In 2002, Michigan Sugar Company became a grower-owned cooperative and in 2004 merged with Monitor Sugar Company to form the company that exists today.

Michigan Sugar Company is headquartered in Bay City and has sugarbeet processing facilities in Bay City, Caro, Croswell and Sebewaing. The company’s nearly 900 grower-owners plant and harvest up to 160,000 acres of sugarbeets each year in 20 Michigan counties, as well as Ontario, Canada. Those beets are sliced at the factories and turned into about 1.1 billion pounds of sugar annually. That sugar is sold to industrial, commercial and retail customers under the Pioneer and Big Chief brands.

Michigan Sugar Company has 930 year-round employees and an additional 1,100 seasonal workers. It is the No. 1 employer in Huron County, the No. 2 employer in Bay and Sanilac counties and the No. 3 employer in Tuscola County. The company’s annual payroll is about $65 million and its annual local economic impact is about $500 million.