Friday
Apr142017

From the Manager - April 2017

Ah, the first day of spring, 2017. As I write this, it is close to fifty degrees and just feels like spring is in the air. I realize in Minnesota the winter weather can still linger on for a number of weeks, but I have the feeling that spring is here to stay and it will be nice weather from here forward. I still have enough farmers’ blood in my veins to be an eternal optimist.

May is a busy month. We will be honoring our beef producers, during Beef Month, for providing us with the best tasting, most nutritious beef in the world, right here in Minnesota. In May, Memorial Day, is also when we honor those that have sacrificed so much to give us the life and freedoms that we enjoy today and hold sacred to our way of life. And of course, we should not overlook one of the most important days of the year, Mothers Day. We honor our Mothers for not only giving us life, but shaping our lives to become the people that we are. As I looked back I thought I had an average, normal childhood with two parents that loved us and provided for us as well as taught us what was important in life. I was wrong, I had exceptional parents. My Mother was very adamant about teaching us four boys that the foundation of life consisted of three important principles. These three principles for life were God, The Golden Rule and Family. Everything in your life revolves around God and your relationship with Him. In order to be well grounded in life, you need to be well grounded in the Lord. Treat others as you want to be treated, “The Golden Rule.” We grew up having respect for our elders, other people and other peoples’ property. That included respect for every one you come in contact with at school, work or play. One thing that sticks out in my memory was a conversation I had with my Mother right after I agreed to take my first General Manager’s position. She said, “Be good to your employees and treat them with respect, remember yesterday you were one of them.” I have always tried to follow her wishes, although I am sure that not all employees, past and present, will believe I have done a good job honoring my Mother’s wishes. None the less, she did her level best to instill the “Golden Rule” into my character. The one foundation my Mother spent the most time on with us boys was family. Nothing is more important than taking care of family! According to Mother, nothing is more important and you do have a responsibility. More times than I care to remember, Mother would ask me to do something for someone, probably a younger brother, and I would either object or make a face. Her response was always, “Are you not your Brother’s keeper?” I mention this not only to honor my Mother, but also to make the point that at Equity Elevator we are family. I think that is one of the most important bonds we have every day we come to work. We are here to look out for each other as employees and serve the members needs. We definitely are our brother’s keepers. I think that is one of the things that separates Equity from our competition. One of my favorite events of the year is the Annual Meeting held in late summer. I love to see friends and neighbors come together to enjoy an excellent meal along with fellowship. That is family!

I also want to make sure that I send out an acknowledgement to our Dairy Producers for the fine job they do keeping us in milk, ice cream, cheese, yogurt and numerous other dairy products. June is Dairy Month. The dairy farmer works tirelessly, 365 days a year, producing the safest, best tasting and nutritious food you can nourish your body with. Thank you for hard work and dedication.

Please take note of the page in the newsletter that tells about our new “Value Added Vehicle Purchase Program” that offers an opportunity for equity holders in Equity Elevator and Trading Company to purchase pickups and trucks at discounted prices. An excellent program if you are interested in ordering a new pickup. You deal directly with the fleet management company. Equity’s only involvement is the verification that you, as an Equity Elevator member have equity in your local cooperative. If you have questions, please feel free to contact the fleet management company listed on their information page or call me and I will share whatever information I have with you.

During the first week in February we finished our six month financial review with the CliftonLarsonAllen auditing crew. I am happy to report that at the six month mark we were ahead of budget and everything was on track. No surprises, no discrepancies according to the auditing team. We are looking forward to a busy spring and summer serving you the customer-owner-members.

Have a safe spring!!!

“TOGETHER WE CAN BE SUCESSFUL”

Rod Winter
General Manager

Friday
Dec162016

From the Manager - December 2016

What a year! Who would have thought that we could harvest two excellent corn crops in a row. Last year’s corn crop was good and this year’s was better, for the most part. Plus, our soybean crop was better than a year ago. With the current market prices, big yields will be our only redeeming value. On behalf of the Employees and Directors, I would like to thank each and every one of you that helped make this a successful fall season for Equity. We handled a record amount of grain this fall. Our soybean handle was the most bushels we ever received during harvest and our corn handle was definitely way above the average of years past. Once again, THANK YOU!!!

This past week I had the opportunity to attend the CHS Annual Meeting in Minneapolis. This usually proves to be a very educational meeting in many ways. In visiting with friends and acquaintances from all over the midwest, the comments were pretty much the same. Tremendous yields, not enough storage, large ground piles, disappointing market prices, farmers selling very little corn and selling soybeans to meet their cash flow needs. Listening to the “marketing experts” did not prove to be an emotionally uplifting experience either. They all agreed we have too many bushels of both wheat and corn, and if we have a third good year, prices will tank worse than they are now. (Although they did say we have never had three years in a row of above trend line yields.) Soybeans on the other hand are commanding a much better price today, topping $10.00 on the CBOT. Even with the prices we have now, they were very skeptical of keeping prices at this level, without growing season problems in South America. Their words of advice were to either sell or watch South America very closely.

The one really “bright spot” I heard in two days at this meeting came from a geopolitical strategist, Peter Zeihan. A featured speaker, Zeihan spoke about the world and how American agriculture is and would fit into the scheme of “feeding the people”. In all honesty, he was the most optimistic speaker I have heard in the last twenty years on the future of American agriculture. Zeihan feels we are on the cusp of an agricultural boom in the U.S. as we try to feed the world. Positive comments he made about the future demand for our agricultural products centered around Southeast Asia, Mexico-Central America, Cuba, and Africa. These four areas of the world are and will continue to demand the food we raise. Cuba, he noted, is 12,000,000 new customers, anxious to improve their diets with American food. Aside from the “boom” for our agricultural products, Zeihan also noted that we are an energy independent nation, if we decide to be. Overall, Zeihan was very optimistic of the future of the USA in general and USA agriculture in particular. His underlying message was that the USA will be the world leader and leading supplier of food, if we embrace the fact that we are the most influential and blessed nation on earth.

After listening to Peter Zeihan, I am reminded that we, as a country and its citizens, are truly blessed. I think quite often we focus on the things we do not have and want, instead of the things we do have. It is not hard to look around and find more things or abilities that we think we need. The challenge is in taking inventory of the things that we do have and should be extremely grateful for. We just got done celebrating Thanksgiving. The many things we need to be grateful for is family, friends, health, safe communities, excellent crops and the freedom to enjoy our lifestyle. Be “thankful” for all that you do have!

As this year comes to an end and we get ready to celebrate the Holiday Season, remember to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. Even though to some it may not be “politically correct”, I want you to know in “Our World” that it is “Correct” to celebrate the birth of our “Savior” and share that “Joy” with others.

Wishing you and your loved ones a “BLESSED CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR”!!!


“TOGETHER WE CAN BE SUCESSFUL”

Rod Winter
General Manager

Friday
Sep302016

From the Manager - September 2016

It is hard to believe that another fiscal year, summer, Wood Lake Fair and annual meeting have all slipped past us. Time is moving fast and harvest is just days away. 2016 has been a unique summer in that I never remember an August with rain like we have had this year. Hopefully it equates to the old adage, “Rain makes grain."

For those of you that attended the annual meeting, you witnessed Al Torke retiring from the board after twelve years of service. Al has served you the members, diligently and faithfully. Al was the president when I came to Wood Lake four years ago. In fact, Al was one of the reasons we decided to make the move to Equity. Three things impressed me about Al and the rest of the board...  First was their loyalty and commitment to Equity Elevator and Wood Lake. I remember after my first interview with the board, my wife asked me, “What do you think?” My response to her was, ”If everyone was as committed to making Equity successful as these seven guys, it was a good place to be." Secondly, Al, as well as the whole Board, was extremely honest, open and forthright with the facts. In fact, I felt Al went out of his way to be as open and transparent as anyone I had ever dealt with in a situation similar to this. In doing this job, it is not what you know, but what you do not know, that creates problems and sleepless nights. For that I am eternally grateful. And, as my third point, Al called me several times while I was contemplating the position and even after I accepted their offer and before we moved here. He just called to visit and see how things were working for us in making the transition. He was truly concerned and interested in our welfare, which in my mind, made him an excellent ambassador for both EET and Wood Lake. Al, we all offer a sincere thank you for your service to Equity Elevator and the Wood Lake community. 

I am excited about the arrival of fall weather and harvest. With our recent upgrade in the grain handling and dumping we should be able to get you in and out pretty fast. This year Jory also has a new program, 'Cash Advance Price Later'. Call Jory and have him explain how it can work to your advantage.  Make sure you check out the 'Grain Policies', effective September 1, posted in this issue of the newsletter.  Another program that is gaining in popularity is the 'Customer Loyalty Program'.  This program rewards agronomy customers with the potential of earning 10 cents per bushel premium on the price of their grain when selling to Equity Elevator, if they meet the requirements. This is strictly a voluntary program designed to reward you for your loyalty to Equity Elevator. If you sign up and decide you want to sell your grain elsewhere, you can. This is an agreement, not a contract. For more details visit with either Brooks or Jory. 

Those of you that have sold grain to Equity Elevator over the past fiscal year will be receiving a notice of your share of the DPAD allocation. The Board of Directors has decided to reallocate Equity’s DPAD allocation to you the members that sold grain this past fiscal year. You will be receiving a letter in October or November letting you know what your allocation is for your year-end tax planning. If you have any questions, please contact either Pam or me, we will be happy to help you.

HAVE A SAFE HARVEST!!!

“TOGETHER WE CAN BE SUCESSFUL”

Rod Winter
General Manager