© 2020 Cooperative Development Foundation

  • Black YouTube Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon
  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black LinkedIn Icon
  • Hall of Fame

Noel Estenson

Updated: Dec 16, 2019


Inducted: 2011


Noel K. Estenson's visionary leadership and willingness to take bold steps positioned agricultural cooperative members for 21 century success in the competitive global marketplace. Throughout his nearly 40-year career, he recognized the value of new business structures - joint ventures and mergers - as a means of creating operating efficiencies that built stronger cooperative organizations.


In the early 1980s, he led the formation of the ground-breaking joint venture between Cenex, Inc. and Land O' Lakes Inc. that eliminated duplication in both cooperatives agricultural supply and energy operations. In 1998, Estenson envisioned the long-term strategic value for member-owners of uniting supply cooperative Cenex with its grains and foods counterpart, Harvest States Cooperatives, which culminated in the largest unification in co-op history.


The resulting creation of CHS Inc., has returned value to its member-owners across the U.S. through reliable supplies of agricultural inputs, a competitive position in the global grain markets and unprecedented financial returns. Estenson served as CEO of CHS until his retirement in 2000.