Georgia’s Farmers Oilseed Cooperative, Inc., has hired a Minnesota native as its new chief executive officer. Bob Carlson began serving as CEO on Nov. 3, according to Ben Deal, president of the cooperative.

"I’m very excited about bringing Bob on board. He has an extensive background in the marketing side of the industry, and the knowledge he brings us will be a tremendous asset," says Deal.

Carlson began his career in the oilseed processing industry in 1972 with Cargill, Inc., and managed soybean plants in Minnesota, Iowa and North Dakota. After leaving Cargill, Carlson served as vice president of operations for National Sun Industries of Minneapolis, from 1993 to 1996, operating multi-seed plants that processed canola, soybeans and sunflowers in North Dakota and Kansas.

When NSI’s parent company sold the crush plants to ADM, Carlson moved to Cairo, Egypt, in 1997, where he was managing director/president of Champion Food & Oils Group. Champion operated four processing plants — primarily cottonseed — and three refineries. In 1999, Carlson returned to Minneapolis and started his own consulting practice conducting feasibility studies for oilseed processing plants, edible oil refineries and biodiesel plants.

In 2001, Carlson moved to Beijing, China, as general manager of Crown Friendship Engineering Company, a joint venture between a U.S. company and a Chinese partner that designed and built oilseed processing equipment. He returned to the states in 2002 and resumed his consulting practice prior to joining Farmers Oilseed Cooperative.

The cooperative, formed in May 2002, currently has 152 farmer-producer members and hopes to expand to 800 member when a stock sale is offered. The cooperative plans to build a multi-crop oilseed processing facility in Claxton, Ga., capable of processing canola, soybeans, peanuts and sunflower seeds. The office currently is located in Hagan, Ga., in the city’s former city hall.

Deal says officers of the cooperative’s board of directors will remain the same. Carlson has the authority to hire a support staff for the office. At the beginning of next year, the cooperative plans to hire someone with an agronomy background to handle public relations with prospective farmer members.