The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Carl and Kim Casale Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Chris Petersen.

November 6, 2015


Carl Martin Casale was born in 1961 in Parkrose, Oregon and grew up on a farm with five siblings. Kim Kristine Casale (née Martin) was born in Sacramento, California, but moved frequently during her upbringing. When it came time to choose a university, Kim, as with Carl, wished to attend a school with a strong agricultural heritage and Oregon State University emerged as a good fit. Once at OSU, Carl decided to study Agricultural Economics. Kim initially started out as an Agricultural Engineering major, but later switched into Agricultural Economics as well.

Both Carl and Kim joined Greek life (Carl in Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Kim in Delta Delta Delta, where she served as house president for one year) as soon as they arrived at OSU, and the couple met through mutual connections within the Greek system during winter term of their freshman year. Kim was also involved with the Memorial Union Program Council and studied at the University of Hawaii for one term on an exchange. As a student, Carl worked for the Beaver Club booster organization and was active in intramural sports.

Kim and Carl completed their OSU degrees in 1983, at which point Carl returned to the family farm and Kim began work for a pharmaceutical company. The couple married in 1984, and Carl found employment with the Monsanto Company as a sales representative based in Walla Walla, Washington. In the years that followed, the Casales relocated multiple times before settling in Missouri, where Monsanto's corporate headquarters were located.

Once arrived, Carl moved out of sales and into management, gradually moving up the ranks of the company. In 1997, he became Co-Lead of U.S. Markets for the Pharmacia Corporation, a division of Monsanto. He held this position until August 1999, when he became the Vice President of North America for Pharmacia. During these years, Kim also rose through the ranks at Bristol-Myer Squibb Company, eventually becoming an area director.

The Casales made a return to agricultural roots in 1998, when they purchased their first small farm, in Oregon, and began growing blueberries. They continued to purchase more farmland over time, eventually including Carl's family farm in their holdings. Now based in St. Paul, Minnesota, the Casales often operate their Oregon farming interests remotely, in some cases deploying cutting-edge technologies to monitor conditions and improve efficiency.

In June 2000, Carl became the Vice President of North America at Monsanto. Three years later, he was named the company's Executive Vice President of North America Commercial, North America, and Latin America. His next promotion came in 2007, when he was named Executive Vice President of Strategy and Operations, with new responsibilities including manufacturing and information technology. Carl became Monsanto's Chief Financial Officer in September 2009 and held this position until the end of 2010.

In 2011, after twenty-six years with Monsanto, Carl accepted the position of Chief Executive Officer and President of CHS, Inc., a leading energy, grains and foods company, the nation's largest member-owned cooperative, and a Fortune 100 company. He was the first person in CHS history to have been hired into this position from outside of the organization.

The Casales involvement with their alma mater ramped up in the early 2000s. Carl became a trustee of the OSU Foundation in 2006, holding this post until 2012, and Kim served on the steering committee for the Campaign for OSU fundraising initiative. In 2008, both Carl and Kim also became lifetime members of the OSU Alumni Association. The couple has likewise been closely involved with activities in the College of Agricultural Sciences, serving on the college's cabinet from 2007 to 2015, as well as its Dean's Council.