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CHS Inc. : statement on recent filing of plea agreement

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10/25/2012 | 02:31pm EST

October 25, 2012 - CHS Inc. has issued the following statement in response to the recent filing in the U.S. District Court in Montana of a Plea Agreement related to a November 2009 fire at the CHS Milk River Cooperative location at Malta, Mont.:

CHS Inc. has reached a plea agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) related to a November 2009 fire at the CHS Milk River Cooperative location at Malta, Mont.

On November 21, 2009, a fire destroyed the shop, a warehouse which contained some crop protection products, and the office at the Malta location. Local CHS staff partnered with local emergency officials to respond in a timely and appropriate manner in keeping with accepted protocols and in what they believed were the best interests of community health and safety. There were no injuries and the fire was extinguished in a short period of time. CHS has since completed full remediation of the fire site in accordance with Montana state law.

Follow up review by EPA regulators determined that while CHS staff had promptly notified the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and the Montana Department of Emergency Services, they inadvertently failed to make notification to the National Response Center as mandated for events in which there is a potential chemical release - essentially, a failure to make a phone call in the middle of the night. This situation resulted from an inadvertent, unintentional human error related to a technical reporting requirement.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, CHS has agreed to enter a guilty plea to one count of failure to report a release of a reportable quantity of a hazardous substance, a violation of the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). In addition, CHS has agreed to pay a $500,000 fine and, as part of this plea agreement, would contribute an additional $50,000 to the Malta Fire Department for equipment that would assist the fire department in fighting future fires in its community.

As a farmer-owned company with more than eight decades in business, CHS has a record of operating in a safe and environmentally sound manner. In this incident, as always, we put the well being of our employees, neighbors and farmer-owners first.

CHS Inc. (www.chsinc.com) is a leading global agribusiness owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the United States. Diversified in energy, grains and foods, CHS is committed to helping its customers, farmer-owners and other stakeholders grow their businesses through its domestic and global operations. CHS, a Fortune 100 company, supplies energy, crop nutrients, grain marketing services, livestock feed, food and food ingredients, along with business solutions including insurance, financial and risk management services. The company operates petroleum refineries/pipelines and manufactures, markets and distributes Cenex® brand refined fuels, lubricants, propane and renewable energy products.

This document contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are based on management's current expectations and assumptions. These forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the potential results discussed in the forward-looking statements. The company undertakes no obligations to publicly revise any forward-looking statements to reflect future events or circumstances. For a discussion of additional factors that may materially affect management's estimates and predictions, please view the CHS Inc. annual report filed on Form 10-K for the year ended Aug. 31, 2011, which can be found on the Securities and Exchange Commission web site (www.sec.gov) or on the CHS web site www.chsinc.com.

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