CHS elects directors at 2017 CHS Annual Meeting

CHS owners elected three new board members and re-elected five others to the CHS Board at the 2017 CHS Annual Meeting Dec. 7-8. The three new board members were (l. to r.): front – Scott Cordes, Wanamingo, Minn., Tracy Jones, Kirkland, Ill., and Russ Kehl, Quincy, Wash.; back – Perry Meyer, New Ulm, Minn., Edward Malesich, Dillon, Mont., Jon Erickson, Minot, N.D., Dan Schurr, LeClaire, Iowa, and C.J. Blew, Castleton, Kan.

With a pledge and priority to strengthen relationships in 2018, CHS kicked off its annual cooperative meeting in Minneapolis, Minn., on Dec. 7. The two-day annual meeting was filled with networking, educational sessions, board and management reports, and director elections.

“Strengthen and grow: These words represent so much more than an annual meeting theme. This is a priority that we have. It captures how we will operate our company moving forward,” said CHS Board Chairman Dan Schurr, an Iowa farmer, during the general session.

With approximately 2,200 owners in attendance, Jay Debertin, CHS president and CEO, promised that strengthen and grow, which has been a focus of CHS for 85 years, will continue to be the cooperative’s focus for a long time to come – just as it has been the driving force behind local cooperatives.

The business meeting featured regional caucuses; board, financial and management reports; and company governance with an open question-and-answer session.

In conjunction with the 2017 CHS Annual Meeting, 110 young producers, nominated by cooperative partners in 11 states, attended the CHS New Leaders Forum. Both crop and livestock operations were represented with nearly half (44 percent) managing more than 2,000 acres. Two participants already serve on local cooperative boards and 85 percent of the others expressed interest in serving on a local board in the future.

CHS New Leader Forum participants had the opportunity to network with other future ag leaders, learn about and practice strategies for effective leadership and communication, and learn more about CHS and related businesses.

Find pictures from the 2017 CHS Annual Meeting on the CHS Flickr page, watch video featuring local cooperatives, and read the 2017 CHS Annual Report.

2017 officer slate elected

CHS owners elected farmers from Illinois, Minnesota and Washington, and re-elected five other farmers to serve terms as directors of the CHS Board. CHS directors must be full-time farmers or ranchers to be eligible for election to the 17-member board.

Newly elected Director Scott Cordes of Wanamingo, Minn., succeeds Curt Eischens of Minneota, Minn., who had served on the board since 1990. With his brother and nephew, Cordes operates a 1,000-acre corn and soybean farm. He received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Minnesota and previously served as the president of CHS Hedging.

Newly elected Director Tracy Jones of Kirkland, Ill., succeeds Greg Kruger of Eleva, Wis., who had served on the board since 2008. Jones, who operates a corn, soybean and wheat farm, and also finishes 1,400 head of feedlot cattle annually, has been chairman of the CHS Elburn Producer Board since 2011.

Newly elected Director Russ Kehl of Quincy, Wash., fills the final year of a three-year term previously held by David Bielenberg, who resigned in June 2017. Kehl raises potatoes, dry beans and other crops on a 12,000-acre farm. A director for CHS Connell Grain (now CHS SunBasin Growers) since 2004, Kehl also operates a dry bean processing facility and cow-calf operation.

Re-elected were C.J. Blew, Castleton, Kan.; Jon Erickson, Minot, N.D.; Edward Malesich, Dillon, Mont.; Perry Meyer, New Ulm, Minn., and Dan Schurr, LeClaire, Iowa.

Following the annual meeting, the CHS Board re-elected Schurr to a one-year term as chairman. Other directors selected as officers for 2018 were:

  • J. Blew, first vice chairman
  • David Johnsrud, Starbuck, Minn., secretary-treasurer
  • Jon Erickson, second vice chairman
  • Steve Riegel, Ford, Kan., assistant secretary-treasurer

Farmers Have Expanded Health Plan Choices Through New Minnesota Cooperative

This year, farmers and production agricultural businesses have new options for health plan coverage. 40 Square Cooperative Solutions (40 Square), Minnesota’s newest co-op for farmers, is offering self-funded health plan choices that strive for greater stability than the individual marketplace and ownership for the members it serves.

For more than 15 years, 40 Square has been a joint effort of two long-standing cooperative partners: Cooperative Network, the cooperative trade association for Minnesota and Wisconsin cooperative businesses and United Farmers Cooperative (UFC), a farm supply cooperative based in Winthrop, Minnesota. Several other organizations and agencies have supported the effort throughout the journey as well.

40 Square is based upon Cooperative Network’s successful efforts to create and establish the Farmers’ Health Cooperative of Wisconsin (FHCW), currently in its ninth year of operation. While 40 Square differs in structure from FHCW, both seek to offer their members health care plans, with the 40 Square Plan offering tools to help members make educated choices when seeking health services.

To become a member of 40 Square, individuals must be a Minnesota farmer in production agriculture with one “Common Law” employee, file Form 1065 or Schedule F with their income tax returns or have a business that directly supports production agriculture. Membership then grants access to the health plans, which were designed based on survey feedback from what farmers were seeking from their health care organization.

The health plans are self-funded and allows members to own and adjust the structure and features of their plans, as a group. All premium dollars remain in a trust, and if not used, the farmer-controlled board decides, based on feedback from the member-owners, on how those unused funds should be appropriated.

Open enrollment season ends December 15, 2017, and interested farm families can run a quote online at 40Square.coop or work with a local insurance agent to get enrolled.

To find out more information about 40 Square health plans or find an agent-partner in your area, visit 40Square.coop or call 1-844-205-9579.

Unconscious Bias and the Role of Women in Agribusinesses

Women in Agribusinesses

 

By Amy Piersak, market intelligence specialist with CHS

A farmer standing in their field surrounded by the sights and smells of a spring rain. An agronomist analyzing a seeding recommendation. The grain merchandizer settling into a Monday morning at your local cooperative. The animal nutrition specialist you trust to provide the right feed for your animals. Now pause and visualize these people. Who are you picturing?

If you are picturing men in these roles, you are likely experiencing unconscious bias. Humans are only able to consciously process a fraction of the information we receive every second, so out of necessity, our brains have developed the incredible ability to unconsciously process thousands of pieces of information in an instant. While this is invaluable when assessing the threat of a lion in the brush (spoiler: very high), it can cause us to fall prey to biases when envisioning tasks or roles such as those mentioned earlier.

Despite these perceptions, the role of women in agriculture has been steadily evolving. Much of the shift has come from the changing demographic landscape in education. Most colleges of agriculture are posting higher numbers of women seeking ag-related degrees. In the spring of this year, The College of Agriculture at Purdue University posted that 58% of their undergraduate students were women. This is a colossal change from the 1970s when women comprised only 2-5% of their undergraduate population. For comparison, women represented 43% of the total undergraduate students at Purdue University in spring of 2017. In 2017, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State reported 52% of their undergraduates are women. Like Purdue University, Iowa State University reported that of their undergraduate students, 43% were women.

As women are obtaining more degrees in areas related to animals, animal behaviors, entomology, botany, plant sciences, and environmental sciences compared to men, the implications on the “typical candidate” will be significant. It is worth noting that these degrees are considered STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) degrees. Women have historically been underrepresented in STEM degrees, and agriculture is a leading area of growth on that front.

Unfortunately, the gains in education are not as well represented in the working world. The United States Department of Labor reports that women represented 47% of the workforce in 2016. Which remains relatively unchanged from the last 20 years. When we look at agribusinesses and local agricultural cooperatives, the percentage of women in the workforces drop to 32% and 22% respectively.

So where does that leave us? We have a growing number of qualified candidates, and yet a top 5 challenge identified by agribusiness leadership is the availability of qualified talent. How do we bridge this gap? A great place to start is for both sides to begin watching out for their biases, and working proactively to compensate for them. This simple change will help expand a talent pool that is perceived to be constrained, and increase career opportunities for members of your local community.

This article was originally published on AgCareers.com.

CHS reports fiscal year-end results, announces FY 2018 priorities

CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, today reported net income of $127.9 million for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2017, compared to net income of $424.2 million for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2016. Consolidated revenues totaled $31.9 billion for fiscal 2017, approximately a five percent increase over consolidated revenues of $30.3 billion for fiscal 2016. (more…)

Gear Up For Gift Cards for Gallons

Beginning Nov. 1, end-user customers can earn one $50 VISA® gift card for every 125 gallons of qualifying Cenex®lubricants purchased through February 28, 2018.

Qualifying Cenex products include:    

  • Superlube TMS®
  • Superlube 518®
  • Qwiklift® HTB®
  • Maxtron® Enviro-EDGE®
  • Maxtron® DEO
  • Maxtron® THF+
  • MP Gear Lube
  • Maxtron GL
  • Cenex premium greases

To redeem purchases, end-user customers must complete a redemption form, attach their detailed invoice(s) and/or receipt(s), and mail the documentation as instructed no later than April 6, 2018.

Article courtesy of Cenex Fuels & Lubes

The Fall Versus Spring Nitrogen Debate

nitrogen management

 
Nitrogen management is critical for growing healthy corn and farmers are sensitive to their role in helping build a more sustainable world. They are faced with the often-daunting question of whether fertilizer applications can be both profitable and sustainable. Often, the delicate balancing act begins with the decision of whether to apply N in fall or hold off until spring.

BMPs and the 4Rs

Corn producers understand there is no blanket practice. There is, however, a disciplined application approach that has long proven effective.

“When we talk about sustainability in agriculture, specifically as it relates to nutrient management, it really goes back to a foundation of best management practices (BMPs) in conjunction with the Fertilizer Institute’s 4R Program,” says Eric Scherder, field scientist, Ph.D., Dow AgroSciences, from Huxley, Iowa. “We can address some of the challenges we’re facing with nitrogen leaching and surface application runoff more effectively using this approach.”

As most growers are aware, the 4R program is a concept to help them select the right fertilizer source at the right rate, at the right time, with the right placement. While source, rate and placement are important, often the most scrutinized decision — both from an economic and sustainability standpoint — is timing. (more…)

Palmer Amaranth Confirmed in Douglas County

MDA Investigation Leads to New County Find

St. Paul, MN: The Minnesota Department of Agriculture confirmed today a new Palmer amaranth find in Douglas County. The invasive weed has now been detected in four Minnesota counties: Douglas, Lyon, Todd, and Yellow Medicine.

The Douglas County infestation was found through MDA’s investigation into a Palmer amaranth find in Todd County. That investigation is still ongoing as the Department searches for the source of the weed seed.

“It is fortunate that we are finding these infestations early on,” said Geir Friisoe, the MDA’s Director of Plant Protection. “Through early detection, we can develop an effective eradication plan and manage these small, isolated sites before the weed spreads beyond the plantings.”

All of the Minnesota infestations have been found in conservation plantings. None of the weeds have made their way into row crop fields which could be economically harmful. Palmer amaranth can cause substantial yield losses and greatly increase weed management costs in soybeans and corn.

It is illegal to sell any seed in Minnesota that contains Palmer amaranth. Dealers must test seed lots before putting them on the market. Proper seed labeling laws must also be followed.

“To help curb the spread of this weed, landowners should buy seed mixes from reputable seed dealers,” added Friisoe. “You should ask the dealers to see the blending paperwork and lab certification results.”

The MDA is having success in eradicating the 2016 finds in Lyon and Yellow Medicine counties. A small number of weeds were found this year, a major decline when compared to the initial discoveries last fall.

Press release courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture

CHS New Horizons supports hometown community safety initiative

 

CHS New Horizons supports hometown community safety initiative

Photo (L to R): Terry Johnson, CHS New Horizons Morris Location Manager; Matt Solemsaas, Morris Fire & Rescue

Herman, MN (October 12, 2017) – CHS New Horizons announced today a $2,000 grant to Morris Fire & Rescue in Morris, MN. The funds will support the purchase of a Polaris Ranger, which will be used to assist responders during rescue calls.

“We’re proud to support this project as a way to strengthen the community and see it thrive,” says Terry Johnson, CHS New Horizons Morris Grain Manager. “Projects like this are essential to enriching our rural area and the people who live here.”

The funds contributed by CHS New Horizons were matched dollar for dollar by a CHS Seeds for Stewardship grant, which helps cooperatives grow their impact locally. Together, $2,000 will benefit Morris Fire & Rescue.

“Cooperatives were founded on the principles of education, community involvement and cooperation,” says Johnson. “By combining resources, we are providing double the impact to our area and demonstrating the cooperative spirit.”

Providing products and services in the agronomy, energy, and grain markets with locations in the communities of Chokio, Donnelly, Fergus Falls, Herman, Morris, Underwood, & Wendell, CHS New Horizons is here to supply for your needs. For more on what’s new, visit us at www.chsnewhorizons.com, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

Spring wheat now eligible for CHS Pro Advantage grain marketing contracts

CHS Pro Advantage open enrollment

CHS has announced open enrollment for spring wheat contracts through CHS Pro Advantage now through December 13, 2017. Corn and soybeans contracts are also included in this enrollment period.

CHS Pro Advantage gives growers access to industry experts at CHS Hedging/Russell Consulting Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CHS, to price and sell their grain. This helps to manage risk while delivering superior profits even during a tough market.

“With wheat futures falling from three-year highs seen just a few months ago and volatility following USDA’s August report, now is the time to commit bushels for professional management and marketing by our hedging experts,” said Kent Beadle, director, Russell Consulting Group.

Growers can enroll 2018 and 2019 bushels. Bushels in the one-year program will be priced between Dec. 18, 2017 and Aug. 24, 2018. Bushels in the two-year program will be priced between Dec. 18, 2017, and Aug. 23, 2019.

If you’re interested in knowing more, contact your local CHS grain team for more information or visit the CHS Pro Advantage website.

© 2017 CHS Inc.