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Thursday
Mar312016

From the Board Room - Spring 2016

Welcome to the first article of 'From The Boardroom', to be appearing on a regular basis in your quarterly newsletter from Equity Elevator. This article is intended to keep you informed with the activities and decisions of the Board of Directors in conducting your business. Your current Board of Directors is:

Chris Long, President

Les Sander, Vice President

Pat Remiger, Secretary

Al Torke

Bob Borning

Mike Hinz

Galen Skjefte, Jr.

Remodeling our south concrete elevator and the construction of a new 350,000 bushel grain bin has consumed much of the time and planning this past year. We are pleased with the success we saw this past fall in efficiently getting people in and out during the harvest season. Our goal was to be able to make facility changes that not only would be good for the members, but also fit into our long term plan of service and profitability for Equity members. The Board continues to concentrate on long range planning and providing a vision that will keep Equity moving forward in a positive direction. As a Board we feel that we need to keep reinvesting in Equity with improved property, plant, equipment and employees. We want to continue to be an extension to, and add value to your operation. In order to achieve this it will require Equity to be profitable and willing to plow the profits back into the business. The value of Equity to you as a member is not merely dividends, but the value that the property, plant, equipment and employees bring to you every day. Whether it is delivering feed, spreading or spraying your fields or dumping your grain in an efficient manner in the fall, so you can get back to the combine, we want to be able to meet your needs. The Board will continue to explore opportunities that will enhance member service and profitability, while protecting your investment in Equity Elevator & Trading Company.

As a Board we are constantly involved with training and self improvement. This past year I completed the 'Director Certification Program' through the Iowa Institute of Cooperatives. Galen completed this same certification program in February of this year and Les completed the first half of the program and should complete the program a year from now. This past January, Rod, Anne, Bob, Mike, Galen and I attended a two day seminar conducted by Mike Boland from the University of Minnesota. On the first day we discussed how the Board and CEO can improve their relationships and teamwork to more effectively achieve the vision, mission and strategic initiatives of our coop. Issues we addressed included the most appropriate division of responsibilities of the Board and CEO, Board responsibilities (primary, general and legal), conflict resolution, philosophical foundations and principles of policy governance, Board-CEO relationship principles and building effective Boards. The second day was devoted to cooperative finances and advanced governance. We discussed building and protecting the balance sheet through income distribution and equity management. Topics discussed were allocated vs. unallocated equity classes as well as cash patronage rates. We also discussed benefits of using qualified vs. nonqualified patronage. Overall a very interesting, thought provoking seminar. The information will be important as we move forward with decisions on equity and our balance sheet management.

In January, 'Clifton Larson Allen', an auditing firm engaged by the Board, completed our six month financial review. I am happy to report that everything was in order and we were on course with our expectations. In January the Board also voted to pay out six estate requests and four age 72+ retirement requests, for a total in excess of $80,000. At the current time we are caught up on the requests that have been submitted to the Board. Also, at the January meeting, the Board of Directors voted to return to the practice of paying out all estate requests and age 72+ retirement requests at the end of the fiscal year. Originally that was the practice, but over the years that has not always been done that way. So, the Board has voted to return to original way this policy was set up. This will add conformity to the process, as well as help us with the budgeting process. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact myself or our General Manager.

Feel free to contact any of the Board members with any questions you may have, as we are elected to represent your interests in Equity Elevator. Our major responsibility is to protect the balance sheet of your company and add value to your own operation with products and services.

Chris Long
President