By: Lucinda Held-Faulhaber
For the ninety-fifth time, Edon Farmers Cooperative Association stockholders convened to conduct business during their annual meeting held Saturday, November 8, 2014 at Edon Northwest Local Schools. Nearly three hundred members and guests dined on a delicious steak and chicken dinner prepared by school personnel and served by FFA members; providing musical entertainment for the event was the EHS cast of The Wedding Singer.
As the night got underway, Chairman Rob Walz warmly welcomed those in attendance before Rod Stoller of Arend, Laukuf and Stoller, Inc., Certified Public Accountants, presented the financial report for Fiscal Year 2014. Noting sales of $1.05 million generated net margins of $1.75 million after taxes, Stoller stated once again it was a good, strong, financial year for the Association’s members and patrons.
Reiterating Stoller’s remarks, Chairman Walz offered his thanks to everyone as well. “We’ve had another successful year here at the Co-Op,” he said. “Special thanks [is paid] to you, the patrons, the employees and our Board ~ it takes all three ingredients for the Co-Op to remain successful.” Walz then went on to recap the Cooperative’s asset purchases, major improvements and undertakings over the past twelve months, sharing the Board of Directors had:
- Agreed on an additional three-year contract with Manager Rick Dunbar.
- Undergone the largest capital improvement project to date: putting up a seven-thousand-ton fertilizer facility at Plant II.
- Upgraded unloading pits, thereby increasing the number of semis handled per hour from four to thirteen.
- Added a seven-hundred thousand bushel grain tank at the Montpelier Plant; concrete work is now underway.
- Purchased fifty-thousand dollars worth of fertilizer equipment.
- Replaced two pick-up trucks and added a semi-tractor in Edon.
- Purchased an Edon Village property to help create more of a “buffer zone” between the elevator and local residents.
- Awarded one-thousand dollar scholarships to Wyatt Zulch (Edon), Kaylyn Sack (Edgerton) and Nathan Buehrer (Montpelier).
- Continued its support of 4-H throughout seven surrounding counties across three states; this year’s Junior Fair Livestock Sales purchases reached nearly twenty-two thousand dollars.
- Paid out six hundred fifty-nine thousand dollars in patronage this past February and picked up two hundred thirty-five thousand dollars in past equity. Additionally, the association will pay back at least ten percent of profits for back patronage on top of four hundred forty-two thousand dollars from this year’s business (paid to members in February 2015).
Additionally that evening, Manager Rick Dunbar paused to share with stockholders his thoughts and observations of the past fiscal year.
“Last year, we took in over thirteen million bushels of grain ~ the best we’ve ever done,” he began. “I think we’re going to do it again this year.” Several acres coming out of the CRP program and placed into beans helped contribute to over three million bushels brought in at harvest. Prior to that, a million bushels of wheat were taken in; however, the presence of vomitoxin overshadowed the accomplishment. “USDA restrictions call for one part [vomitoxin] per million; flour mills will take two and we have four,” explained Dunbar. Two hundred thousand bushels still remain onsite, tying up storage needed for beans.
“The good thing about it (I told the Board), is we’ll probably need to build another bin!” While it will be a struggle, Dunbar is optimistic about getting rid of the wheat sometime next summer.
With the current harvest winding down, the number of bushels brought in keeps climbing. “Our fall harvest lasts about fifty days and in those fifty days, we’ve unloaded over seven million bushels of grain.” Good yields have been produced the past two years, an annual trend Dunbar hopes to see continue.
Although having underestimated the size of this year’s wheat and corn crops (and overestimating the railroad’s performance at harvest); Dunbar was quick to point out one easy solution persists in coming to the forefront: more storage. “Just one more bin would not only solve our storage issues but would also relieve worries about when railroad cars would arrive; it would also generate more revenue [with bushels being kept longer].” In moving forward, perhaps one more bin will become a future project taken up by the Board of Directors.
Before turning the meeting back over to Chairman Walz, Manager Dunbar acknowledged current employees Greg Chrisman (30 years), Mike Long (25 years), Jeff Wilson (15 years) and Roger Muehlfeld (10 years) for reaching milestones as employees of the Edon Farmers Co-Op.
“Thanks again for supporting your Cooperative this year,” concluded Dunbar. “We really do appreciate your business.”
To bring the night to a close, prizes were awarded to lucky ticket holders. Overseen by Kylene Nester and Rob Walz ~ with assistance from Directors Mark Trausch, Keith Crowl, Mike Bever, Jon Hake, Jake Reitzel and Duane Appel ~ forty, twenty-five dollar gift cards and five fall centerpieces were given away; each board member’s wife received a beautiful centerpiece as well.
With no further business to address, the assembly was adjourned until the 96th Annual Edon Farmers Cooperative Association Stockholders Meeting in November 2015.
Lucinda Held-Faulhaber may be reached at email@example.com.