Emil A. Syftestad
Emil A. Syftestad devoted his life to helping farmers improve their living standards by raising the quality and reducing the cost of their production supplies. He went to work for a cooperative when he graduated from business school, and became general manager of Farmers Union Central Exchange (now CENEX) at the bottom of the Great Depression in 1932. During his 26 years as general manager, business increased from less than one million dollars a year to $68 million.
Syftestad was an early advocate of cooperatives working together to solve farmers problems. His leadership helped establish the Minnesota Association of Cooperatives, the National Cooperative Refinery Association, Northwest Cooperative Mills and Central Farmers Fertilizer Company. He was one of the pioneers in advocating that cooperatives work together to get back to the basic source of farm supplies even oil wells. He devoted his entire life to saving farmers millions of dollars.