EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fifth in a series of monthly stories dedicated to Farmers Union Industries and its seven businesses.

Farmers Union Industries’ businesses are centered around one theme — collecting that which was once simply thrown away and turning it into products consumers demand.

Midwest Grease is no different. Collecting used cooking oil from restaurants in all of Minnesota as well as significant parts of North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, Midwest Grease’s trucks transport the used grease to Central Bi-Products where it is processed into yellow grease, which is a feed additive.

Based out of Redwood Falls, Minn., Midwest Grease is one of seven businesses owned by Farmers Union Industries, which is partially owned by North Dakota Farmers Union. Midwest Grease manager Jamie Trebesch said he’s proud of what the business does every day.

“If this restaurant grease was thrown in the garbage, it would be unbelievable how much it would fill landfill facilities,” he said. “We keep it out of there. It’s reused and recycled. That’s what we’re all about.”

Midwest Grease also cleans grease traps for restaurants, which is a service Trebesch said has been added in the past 10 years.

“Those traps catch the grease before it gets into the sewer lines, so they don’t get plugged up,” he said.

Trebesch said Midwest Grease often deals with two types of systems at restaurants — outside and inside containers. Outside containers often sit outside by a dumpster and are lifted and dumped, while inside containers require a hook-up and are pumped out. Trebesch said the latter is becoming more common.

“It’s a lot cleaner,” he said.

Midwest Grease is always looking for new customers, Trebesch said. Currently, it provides service to all of Minnesota including the busy Twin Cities area. It even travels all the way to Minot to provide service.

“There is never a shortage of new restaurants opening up, especially in larger cities,” Trebesch said. “It’s been picking up the last number of years.”

To learn more, go to midwestgrease.com. To read more about Farmers Union Industries and its commitment to family farms, visit fuillc.com.

— Chris Aarhus, NDFU