"CHS is clearly a company in motion. And when it comes to creating value for our owners, our goal is to stay in motion."

About Casale: Born and raised near Portland, Ore., Casale received a bachelor's degree in agricultural economics from Oregon State University and an executive MBA from Washington University in St. Louis. He joined CHS in early 2011 after working for the Monsanto Co. for 26 years, rising to executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Personal file: Casale operates a family-owned blueberry farm with his wife near Aurora, Ore., which has done business with area cooperatives for generations.

What's big in 2015: CHS will begin the three-year construction of the Spiritwood fertilizer manufacturing plant near Jamestown, N.D. At nearly $3 billion, it will be the largest investment in the company's history, and will provide fertilizer products mainly to Minnesota, the Dakotas, Montana and Canada. The plant will enable the Inver Grove Heights-based company to manufacture fertilizer for the first time, using the region's natural gas reserves, and supply it to growers through wholesale customers and the company's own retail facilities. The company is also investing more than $400 million to increase efficiency and diesel production at its refinery in Laurel, Mont. — one of two that it owns. The CHS brand may become more familiar in the coming year: The company purchased naming rights for the new regional downtown ballpark for the St. Paul Saints baseball team, slated to open in March as CHS Field.

Final word: "To be a leader at CHS means several things: A relentless focus on helping our owners grow. Integrity and accountability. A learning culture. We're putting those in place so the CHS culture is sustainable and can be regenerated with every successive generation of leadership that comes through."