Watch it grow!

ConAgra (CAG) filed its preliminary proxy yesterday and its seems like director Mark Rauenhorst has plenty to be thankful about. That’s because Rauenhorst’s company, the privately-held construction company Opus Corporation has seen its work for ConAgra grow dramatically since Rauenhorst joined the board four years ago.

In the current proxy, ConAgra notes that it paid Opus “and its affiliates” $52.9 million for construction during fiscal 2005. In fiscal 2003, that number was a meager $1.45 million. ConAgra also pays Opus for various leases: $19.8 million in fiscal 2005, a number that has been relatively stable over the past few years.

Granted, ConAgra says that Opus, which is privately owned, has revenues of over $1.25 billion and it’s true that Rauenhorst doesn’t serve on any critical board committees. But it seems like more than just a coincidence that Opus’ work for ConAgra has grown so sharply since Rauenhorst joined the board.