From the Boardroom - June 2019

On April 22 of this year you received a letter from the Managers and Board Presidents of Equity Elevator and Farmward Cooperative announcing that both Boards of Directors had agreed to look at the possibility of unifying our two companies for the benefit of the members.

As you know, there is a process involved when exploring unification.  Equity and Farmward have agreed to conduct a feasibility study as the first step in this process. The feasibility study will help us assess the benefits of bringing the two organizations together.  We are currently engaged in this process. The staff from both cooperatives have been exchanging information and looking at a lot of different aspects of the operations of both Cooperatives.  This process will take time for us to do our due diligence in exploring this opportunity.  It is our intent to provide open communication throughout the process, as we know that there will be many questions.  As the process moves forward, we will be communicating with you and we will have informational meetings at the appropriate times.  If you have questions, please feel free to contact myself or any of the Board Members.  Rest assured that both organizations have pledged that at the end of the day, unification will only be proposed if it is a win-win situation for all of the stakeholders.

Les Sander


From the Boardroom - April 2018

As I write this newsletter article, the calendar says it is spring and we should soon be in the field. But, as I look out the window, it does not look like corn planting is less than a month away. The Board of Directors has had a busy and productive winter. 

We started in December with a one-day retreat where the Board of Directors, along with Rod, Anne and Jory met with Scott Hansen from White Commercial Corp. to discuss the grain markets going into 2018, as well as taking a look at our current grain policies and how we compare to the industry and our region. At that meeting, we also visited with a local banker about Risk and Credit Management for the upcoming crop year. 

Previously, we had decided to do an insurance review every third year, which includes putting our property and casualty insurance out for bids, and 2018 was the year for that. We had three companies actively bid for our business, and they were able to maintain the level of coverage that we have established necessary for your company. By comparing, we are able to maintain quality coverage at a competitive rate. We went over our policy in detail with a representative from the successful bidder to make sure that we maintain a level of coverage that we feel is necessary to protect your assets.

Congratulations to Jon Wolff for completing his Board of Directors Certification Training with the Iowa Institute of Cooperatives, this past January. Certification training consists of four education phases, which include cooperative accounting, governance, rules, regulations, current topics and how to be an effective Board Member for your local cooperative. We thank Jon for his active participation in serving on your Board of Directors.

One of the ongoing projects that the Board is focusing on is our equity and making sure that our records are in proper order for managing the company’s equity. Please read Pam’s article, review her list of past patrons, and let her know if you have any information on any of the people listed. Thank you in advance for your cooperation!

The entire Board of Directors has undergone several training sessions as a group this winter. Those include the U of M Cooperative Board /Manager Seminar in January, and the Minnesota Grain and Feed Association Annual Meetings. These training events help keep us abreast of the current issues that affect the cooperative world, as well as providing us with the proper training on how to deal with day to day issues that Boards face each month.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact myself or any of the current Directors.

Have a safe spring season.

Les Sander


From the Boardroom - April 2017

Spring is just about upon us and everyone will busy getting the crops in. Even though it was a relatively mild winter, it is still time for it to be over. 

It has been a busy winter for the directors. During January we attended the U of M Director/Management training session at Redwood Falls. Chris, Bob, Jon, Mike, Galen, Les and Rod attended the two day seminar discussing the future of agriculture and the cooperative system. Meetings like this prove to be valuable because of the chance to interact with Directors from other local coops, big and small. Seems like regardless of our coop’s size, a lot of the challenges we face every day are the same. Mike Boland from the University leads this seminar and does a good job making it relative to our coop, our challenges and our future. Jon Wolff also attended the first half of his “Director Certification” training with the Iowa Institute of Cooperatives. He will complete the certification next year. Both I and Galen have completed this certification training, as well as Les, who completed the first half of his certification last year and will complete the process next year. Bob and Rod also represented Equity at a one day Land O’ Lakes Director training in early January.

In the first part of February, the Board engaged our auditing firm, CliftonLarsonAllen, to conduct our annual six month review to make sure everything is on track and proceeding according to our annual budget. The six month review showed that the first six months of our fiscal year 2017 was right on track. The auditor related to the Board that everything looked good and was just as expected. We are grateful to Anne and her accounting group for providing us with accurate, timely records each month. 

In March the Board attended the Minnesota Grain and Feed Association Annual Meeting and Convention in downtown Minneapolis. Aside from the meetings and trade show, a highlight for me was when we as a Board spent a half day in a planning session discussing what we think the next two, five or 10 years will bring and how Equity is equipped to react to a constantly changing cooperative and business environment. Planning is an important function of the Board as we work hard to protect the members Balance Sheet and serve the members needs.

Other items Board has addressed: (1). The Board has agreed to offer a value added program to the equity holding members for purchasing vehicles. This program can save you thousands of dollars if you use it to purchase new pickups and etc. Check the information on this program in this newsletter and contact either fleet purchasing account manager or Rod for more information. (2). The Directors also approved the purchase of a new high wheel fertilizer spreader to put urea on side dress. This will allow you to apply your own dry nitrogen. Remember, we also are set up to apply liquid 28% nitrogen with our Miller applicator. (3). The Board approved the construction of a new Board/Employee meeting room to be built in the northwest corner of the store. By the time you read this construction should be well under way. (4). The Board reviewed our current property tax in detail, part of our planning process as we look to future projects for Equity. (5).This winter we have been spending time looking at cleaning up our membership and equity records. We have a good start, but it will take some time to complete. As a part of our planning process we need to get our house in order and make sure we are adhering to our Articles and Bylaws and the laws of the State of Minnesota.

It has been a busy, but productive winter. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact any of the current Board Members or our General Manager.

Have a safe and productive spring.

Chris Long