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Mike Hughlett

Reporter | Food industry
phone: 612-673-7003
Mike Hughlett covers the food industry for the Star Tribune,.including General Mills and Supervalu. Previously, he was a food reporter for the Chicago Tribune.
Recent content from Mike Hughlett

Dakota Plains accused of defrauding financier

Lawsuit surrounds loan at the center of federal investigation.

Dakota Plains CEO Craig McKenzie resigns to help oil company reduce expenses

Company says the resignation was not the result of a disagreement.
Last Minnesota leg of $2.1 billion electricity mega-project done

Last Minnesota leg of $2.1 billion electricity mega-project done

Growth in renewable energy, especially wind, driving multistate project, Xcel says.
Microgrids like new one at OATI a trend in electricity

Microgrids like new one at OATI a trend in electricity

Systems like OATI's can serve as alternatives or backups to the general electrical grid
Xcel plans big expansion in wind power, adding enough capacity for 750,000 homes

Xcel plans big expansion in wind power, adding enough capacity for 750,000 homes

The company will add eight to 10 new wind farms in the Upper Midwest.

Headway made in solar garden disputes between Xcel, developers

However, it's still uncertain how many gardens will be online by the end of 2016.
Gerdau Ameristeel, operating at half speed, gets Xcel discount

Gerdau Ameristeel, operating at half speed, gets Xcel discount

The PUC votes in favor of amending a 2012 deal.
North Dakota oil production outlook poor for rest of 2016

North Dakota oil production outlook poor for rest of 2016

Production outlook for rest of 2016 looks poor after a flat July, as world continues to have a supply glut.

Minnesota Power receives permission to cut industrial customers' rates by 5 percent

Decision put off on plan to fund Minnesota Power's reduction.

Minnesota solar incentive program part of WTO dispute with India

The "Made in Minnesota" program is included in India's complaint.
Former Granite Falls executive gets prison for embezzling $5.77M

Former Granite Falls executive gets prison for embezzling $5.77M

Kirsten Ann Tjosaas plead guilty to wire fraud and money laundering while serving as corporate controller and CFO at Fagen Inc.
Tesla supercharging station opens in Oakdale

Tesla supercharging station opens in Oakdale

Tesla drivers Tuesday marked the opening of the electric car company’s first supercharging station in the Twin Cities. Tesla’s superchargers provide enough juice in 30…
Enbridge Energy is pulling plug on the Sandpiper pipeline in state

Enbridge Energy is pulling plug on the Sandpiper pipeline in state

Calgary-based firm is withdrawing its application for the pipeline from the state. The move comes weeks after it announced buying a stake in a different pipeline that doesn't cross Minnesota.

C.H. Robinson buys Australian firm for $225 million

C.H. Robinson purchased a major Australian freight forwarder for $225 million, the logistics company’s third-largest acquisition in five years. Eden Prairie-based C.H. Robinson announced Wednesday…
CenturyLink, heir to old Bell system, wants to be freed from state oversight

CenturyLink, heir to old Bell system, wants to be freed from state oversight

The phone carrier says it should be deregulated, but state agencies aren't so sure.
Analyst: Texas investor might be suitor for Northern Oil and Gas

Analyst: Texas investor might be suitor for Northern Oil and Gas

TRT and related companies own almost 20 percent of Northern's stock.

Minnesota will not appeal ruling against clean energy law

It turns out Minnesota will not appeal a federal appellate court's decision to quash part of the state's 2007 clean energy law, conceding a victory to North Dakota and officially ending a five-year legal battle.
Manitoba Hydro CEO Kelvin Shepherd talks about Minnesota's hydro needs

Manitoba Hydro CEO Kelvin Shepherd talks about Minnesota's hydro needs

Minnesota is a key consumer for Manitoba Hydro, with demand on the rise.
Ousted CEO Michael Reger sues Northern Oil claiming wrongful termination

Ousted CEO Michael Reger sues Northern Oil claiming wrongful termination

Reger is being investigated in connection with another company, Dakota Plains Holdings.

Xcel Energy agrees to reduce its rate increase request

The settlement is a big step, but final deal isn't likely until 2017.
Northern Oil and Gas fires CEO Michael Reger, who is under federal investigation

Northern Oil and Gas fires CEO Michael Reger, who is under federal investigation

CFO Thomas Stoelk was appointed interim CEO.
Xcel Energy's challenge: remake itself and boost profits amid flat demand

Xcel Energy's challenge: remake itself and boost profits amid flat demand

Xcel Energy balances coal, wind and solar in an evolving industry.
Oil production continues to drop in North Dakota

Oil production continues to drop in North Dakota

North Dakota’s oil production dropped 2 percent from May to June as low oil prices continued to take their toll. And there’s no quick turnaround…
Members question motives for hikes in electric co-op solar fees

Members question motives for hikes in electric co-op solar fees

Co-ops' motives for hikes in electric solar fees is fueling the debate.
PUC rejects CenterPoint's appeal of rate hike decision

PUC rejects CenterPoint's appeal of rate hike decision

Regulators on Friday denied a review of decision that cut utility's request by nearly half.
Enbridge purchase of stake in Bakken pipeline throws Sandpiper project up in the air

Enbridge purchase of stake in Bakken pipeline throws Sandpiper project up in the air

The Sandpiper project, still being evaluated by Minnesota regulators, appears on verge of losing its two backers.
Xcel reports flat profit; execs stick to full-year outlook

Xcel reports flat profit; execs stick to full-year outlook

The state's biggest energy utility missed analysts' expectations slightly.

OSHA cites Fraser Shipyards after workers exposed to lead during retrofitting

OSHA team says 14 workers at Superior, Wis., yard were overexposed; dozens more had high levels of the toxic metal in their blood.

Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approves size caps, rate structure for solar projects

Developers fear the output limit mixed with a reduced rate paid to generators will limit growth.

Federal Enbridge settlement could affect timelines of Minnesota pipelines

Enbridge Energy's consent decree settled claims surrounding oil spills in Illinois and Michigan.
North Dakota oil production sees slight increase in May

North Dakota oil production sees slight increase in May

May's increase was welcomed, but analysts aren't predicting an industry resurgence soon.

Great River Energy to close North Dakota power plant

Great River Energy will close its Stanton, N.D., power station in May 2017, saying the coal-fired plant is no longer economical to operate.The relatively small…

Mosaic Co. idles potash mine in Canada, 330 workers affected

Citing “challenging” market conditions, Mosaic Co. said Wednesday it will idle one of its Saskatchewan potash mines for the rest of 2016, laying off about…
Cliffs CEO paints upbeat picture of potential for disputed Essar Steel site

Cliffs CEO paints upbeat picture of potential for disputed Essar Steel site

CEO says firm would build "direct- reduced iron" plant; Essar has vowed to fight its ouster in court.
Minnesota solar energy development caught in delays

Minnesota solar energy development caught in delays

Problems persist in hooking into grid, but Xcel says build-out is at hand.

Xcel scores well in energy report card by nonprofit Ceres

Utility ranked fourth in study, getting 21 percent of electricity sales from renewables in 2014.

Regulators say Xcel's 9.8 percent rate hike isn't justified

A final decision won't be made on the proposal until 2017, but Xcel has said the major drivers of the rate increase include upgrades to its power grid and nuclear power plants; and investments in cleaner energy.
Appeals court upholds ruling blocking Minn. clean energy law

Appeals court upholds ruling blocking Minn. clean energy law

North Dakota challenged the 2007 law restricting imports from power plants that increase greenhouse gases.
North Dakota oil production posts biggest drop in state's history

North Dakota oil production posts biggest drop in state's history

Bakken fields have been battered by lower prices.
Obituary: Engineer and inventor Frank Werner's sensors were used in moon landing

Obituary: Engineer and inventor Frank Werner's sensors were used in moon landing

Frank D. Werner Sr. grew up on a Kansas farm, but he didn’t care much for farm life — except for machinery repair. His love…

Regulators to review fees on residential solar arrays

After fielding complaints about high fees on residential solar arrays, Minnesota regulators will review charges set by the state's electric utility co-ops.The review pivots on…
2 Alaska Airlines flights to use Minnesota-made corn-based jet fuel

2 Alaska Airlines flights to use Minnesota-made corn-based jet fuel

Gevo Inc. is betting big on isobutanol produced at its plant in southwest Minnesota.
General Mills rolls out first new cereal brand in 15 years

General Mills rolls out first new cereal brand in 15 years

Trying to counter squishy cereal sales, General Mills is launching its first totally new brand in 15 years, a fruity oat and corn concoction dubbed…

CenterPoint Energy gets 3.5 percent rate increase

Customers to receive refund of interim hike from last fall.

SunOpta sunflower nut recall grows bigger

It now involves some Nature Valley, Quaker and Kashi granola bars.
Size limit upheld for Xcel community solar gardens

Size limit upheld for Xcel community solar gardens

Xcel Energy said the appellate decision allows program to move forward.
Spam Snacks not the 'miracle in a can' of its predecessor

Spam Snacks not the 'miracle in a can' of its predecessor

Spam Snacks, introduced by Hormel last fall, will disappear from store shelves by summer's end.
General Mills recalls 10 million pounds of flour over E. coli scare

General Mills recalls 10 million pounds of flour over E. coli scare

General Mills is recalling the flour in an "abundance of caution" over the possibility that it's linked to an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 38 people in 20 states.
New owners of Gold'n Plump chicken investing up to $80M in company

New owners of Gold'n Plump chicken investing up to $80M in company

GNP is riding a chicken boom, its sales growing 14 percent over the past three years, hitting $470 million in 2015.
Memorial Day weekend gas prices lowest in at least seven years

Memorial Day weekend gas prices lowest in at least seven years

Prices ahead of the holiday remain a relative bargain despite a recent increases that reflect rising demand.

Boys on bike hit by car in St. Paul

Two boys riding on one bicycle in St. Paul were hit by a car Sunday, with one suffering critical injuries. The incident occurred about 6…

Fire damages restaurant, coffee shop near Lake Calhoun

Sunday afternoon fire damaged a Noodles & Co. and a Caribou Coffee shop.

Man critically injured in St. Paul bar shooting

Injured suspect called police and was arrested.
Young woman stole squad car, drove it 25 miles, then crashed

Young woman stole squad car, drove it 25 miles, then crashed

An apparently intoxicated young woman stole a University of North Dakota squad car on Sunday, police say, driving it from Grand Forks to Crookston where…
Minn. public company profits down 11%, first big dip since recession

Minn. public company profits down 11%, first big dip since recession

Strong dollar, oil slump are putting a drag on Minnesota corporate profits.
Kraft Heinz to spend $100 million expanding New Ulm plant

Kraft Heinz to spend $100 million expanding New Ulm plant

While Kraft Heinz is closing several plants across the country, the food giant is investing more than $100 million in Minnesota, expanding its New Ulm…
General Mills makes investment in Kite Hill

General Mills makes investment in Kite Hill

California company uses almond milk to make alternatives to traditional dairy products.

Recall of sunflower seed products widens as SunOpta reels in Planters products

All the recalls have been tied to a listeria contamination at a plant in northwest Minnesota.
Famous Dave's posts another 'unsatisfactory' quarter

Famous Dave's posts another 'unsatisfactory' quarter

Sales drop; CEO resolves to turn the situation around.

Hy-Vee recalls frozen fried rice products

The recall is linked to a broader series tied to listeria contamination.
Xcel's profit rises 57 percent on cut in expenses

Xcel's profit rises 57 percent on cut in expenses

Mild weather held down demand for heat during the first three months of the year.
Why Cargill executives are moving out of Lake Minnetonka mansion office

Why Cargill executives are moving out of Lake Minnetonka mansion office

"I want to be near the team," said Dave MacLennan, Cargill's CEO since 2013. The Lake Office "is too quiet."

Sunflower nut recall connected to SunOpta Minnesota plant widens

Recalls linked to possibly listeria-tainted sunflower nuts processed in Crookston have mushroomed, and now appear to involve several major food companies across the nation.
Cargill seeing renewed success in Argentina

Cargill seeing renewed success in Argentina

A new regime has made the country a friendlier place for the export trade.

Planters, other SunOpta sunflower kernel products recalled

Crookston plant is shut down temporarily until the problem is resolved.
Cargill CEO Dave MacLennan: Food consumers are increasingly values voters

Cargill CEO Dave MacLennan: Food consumers are increasingly values voters

Customer choices likely to cause more disruption for companies.
Cereal makers try to win back millennials after soggy sales

Cereal makers try to win back millennials after soggy sales

Cereal isn't just for breakfast anymore as manufacturers pitch it as a snack food.
Beans fueling big expansion at Faribault Foods

Beans fueling big expansion at Faribault Foods

Faribault Foods, launching a big expansion, finds its profit niche in canning – beans in particular

Hormel sells Diamond Crystal Brands to private equity firm in Texas

Hormel Foods has sold its Diamond Crystal Brands business to a Texas private equity firm for an undisclosed price. Diamond Crystal, which is based in…
Some investors hit pause on Buffalo Wild Wings

Some investors hit pause on Buffalo Wild Wings

Stock sinks after company misses on expectations.
As sales slip, Buffalo Wild Wings stock takes a dive

As sales slip, Buffalo Wild Wings stock takes a dive

The restaurant chain's stock fell 11 percent as investors reacted to the financial results that were announced Tuesday afternoon.
Supervalu's profit beats forecasts despite pressure on sales

Supervalu's profit beats forecasts despite pressure on sales

With Supervalu posting another quarter of sagging sales, the company’s new CEO has his hands full — but at least he understands his mission. “Our…

Cargill buys back candle company it sold in 2007

Cargill is getting back into the candle business with the purchase of NatureWax, a market-leading provider of natural waxes. Minnetonka-based Cargill owned NatureWax from its…

Ex-finance officer of Fagen Inc. charged with embezzling $5.7 million

She is charged with embezzling $5.7M from contractor from 2006-15.
North Dakota rig count drops to lowest level in more than a decade

North Dakota rig count drops to lowest level in more than a decade

The number of rigs drilling for oil in the Bakken fields has fallen nearly 90 percent from a May 2012 high.
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