By Lucinda Held-Faulhaber – THE VILLAGE REPORTER
Stockholders of the Edon Farmers Cooperative Association gathered to conduct business for the ninety-fourth time during their Annual Meeting held Saturday, November 9, 2013 at Edon Northwest Local Schools. Nearly three hundred members and guests dined on a delicious steak and chicken dinner as the night got underway.
With everyone warmly welcomed by Chairman Rob Walz, Rod Stoller of Arend, Laukuf and Stoller, Inc., Certified Public Accountants, presented the financial report for Fiscal Year 2013 noting once again it was another good year for the Association. With consistent patron support, good stewardship, dedicated employees and great leadership, the cooperative continues to be a solid presence in the community.
Sharing what a difference a year makes ~ from harsh drought conditions to bountiful harvest ~ Chairman Walz presented a rundown of the Cooperative’s purchases, improvements and undertakings over the past twelve months, stating the Board of Directors had:
•Installed a new outbound scale with electronic printer at Montpelier; traffic flow has greatly improved at the facility.
•Buried all electrical wiring at Edon (Cooperative qualified for a rate reduction which, in five years, pays for initial project costs); replaced the truck scales and installed a zero entry bin sweep.
• Improved the lighting at Edon and Montpelier facilities.
• Purchased four new fertilizer buggies and truck chassis.
• Awarded scholarships to Kaleb Long (Edon), Kyle Gearhart (Edon), David Headley (Edon), Sabrina Brown (Edon) and Morgan Keil (Montpelier).
• Purchased projects at Junior Fair Livestock Sales held in seven surrounding counties across three states (twenty thousand dollar budget); donated towards Defiance County Fair’s new swine barn project.
• Paid out five hundred eight thousand dollars in February; six hundred sixty-two thousand dollars from this year’s business will be paid out to members in February 2014. Additionally, the association will try and pick up two hundred fifty thousand dollars in equity.
As part of the subsequent Manager’s report to Stockholders, Rick Dunbar paused first to acknowledge the Cooperative’s retired employees and past Board of Directors in attendance before recognizing and congratulating current employees Joe Radabaugh (10 years), Brian Shaffer (10 years), James Jackson (10 years), Greg Livensparger (5 years) and Mike Trausch (5 years) for reaching a milestone in their years of employment as well.
When looking over the status of the Cooperative and its accomplishments during Fiscal Year 2013, Manager Dunbar echoed previous reports of having another solid year. “We had a good fall harvest season and spring planting season,” he shared. “Put them all together, with a couple other factors, and it made for another successful year.” He additionally pointed out the Board had continued discussions regarding the direction the cooperative would take and a major decision was reached: a new fertilizer plant would be built at the present site.
“We’ve talked about this in planning sessions for the past five years,” Dunbar said. “We’ve already purchased twenty acres and the plant we plan to build will be just under seven thousand tons. Plans also call for a second liquid plant along with a tower you can drive underneath (for easy blending and loading) and drop scale.” With groundwork now underway, the 3.5 million dollar project will be financed with five hundred thousand dollars of working capital and a three million dollar, ten-year loan from CoBank; first phase completions are anticipated in fall 2014.
Dunbar also went on to share possible future projects ~ more grain storage, a dryer and new agronomy equipment ~ along with summarizing yields and quantity of bushels of wheat, corn and beans taken in this harvest before turning the meeting back over to Chairman Walz. “Thanks again for supporting your Cooperative,” concluded Dunbar. “We appreciate your business and congratulations on another good year.”
As the night drew to a close, prizes were awarded to several lucky ticket holders. Overseen by Kylene Nester and Rob Walz ~ with assistance from the remaining Board of Directors ~ forty gift cards and six fall centerpieces were given away; each Board member’s wife received a beautiful centerpiece as well.
With all business addressed, the assembly was adjourned until the 95th Annual Edon Farmers Cooperative Association Stockholders Meeting in November 2013.
Lucinda Held-Faulhaber may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org