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January 16, 2020

Executive Compensation at the Corn Refiners Association

by Anne Paddock

The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) is a Washington, DC-based non-profit, tax-exempt 501 (c) (6)  providing educational material and resources on corn and corn products.  A member-driven trade association, the CRA represents corn wet millers (companies that break corn kernels down into their component parts:  oil, starch, fiber, protein, by using water (as opposed to dry milling).

CRA has 6 member companies (Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, Grain Processing Corp, Ingredion, Roquette America, and Tate & Lyles Americas) who pay membership dues totaling $9 million annually (note:  the website states there are 6 member companies but the Form 990 reports there are 4 member companies).

In 2018, CRA reported total revenue of $9.2 million and expenses of $6.6 million, which means $2.6 million was left unspent and allocated to the general fund which had $7.5 million at year-end (up from $4.9 million at the beginning of the year).

The $6.6 million in expenses were primarily compensation ($2.6 million), Fees for Services – primarily legislative, research, and consultants ($2 million), and Office-Related Expenses ($0.9 million).  19 employees received $2.6 million in compensation which equates to an average compensation of $137,000. However, only 6 received more than $100,000 in compensation:

  • $912,267:  John Bode, President and CEO
  • $380,960:  Christina Martin, Secretary (beginning Jan, 2017)
  • $173,272:  Julia Gustafson, Counsel/Director Legislative Affairs
  • $170,577:  O Shannon Marshall, Director, Member Services
  • $148,404:  Benjamin Gruitt, Director, Sustainability and Advanced Bioproducts
  • $147,592:  Cassandra Kuball, Senior Director, Trade and Industry Affairs

Collectively, the 6 employees above were compensated $1.9 million, which equates to an average compensation of $317,000. In essence, the top third of employees were compensated 70% of the total compensation.  If the total employees (19) and total compensation ($2.6 million) were adjusted to exclude the 6 most highly compensated employees, then 13 employees were compensated $0.7 million, which equates to an average compensation of $54,000.

 In summary, the CRA is a small trade organization for 6 member refiners who compensate the President and CEO almost $1 million a year for what appears to be primarily lobbying/legislative matters (note: the organization has a related political action committee).

To read the IRS Form 990 (2017), click here.

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