Co-op News > September 2020 > From the Manager's Desk

From the Manager's Desk

Sep 01, 2020

September Update

As I write this in late August, most of our trade area has missed out on any measurable rain the past couple of weeks and it is really showing up in the fields. I can’t remember seeing corn and beans go from lush green to golden brown quite so quickly. Despite this, and because of the excellent weather earlier, it looks like we will have a very good harvest this year. Our team is busy hauling out the last of about eight million bushels of grain we received at our facilities this year. September will be a big push as we empty out and get the bins ready for the 2020 crop. Last year at this time we had one very big grain project underway in Westby and a smaller, but much needed, addition in Mazomanie. Both finished up midway through harvest, so we are looking forward to having both up and running at full speed to start this fall. We are still hoping to get a couple smaller projects completed ahead of harvest in Richland Center and Mineral Point, but the recent Derecho storm in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana has thrown a wrench into the availability of millwrights, equipment, and materials needed. I’ve never seen destruction so widespread. One cooperative in Iowa had severe damage at 21 of its grain locations, toppling or damaging an estimated 30 million bushels or more of storage. Thank goodness there was only one minor injury at the company. With harvest already underway in our area, please watch out for farm equipment and grain trucks as you navigate our country roads. If you need help with handling or marketing your grain, please give us a call.

September 30 marks the end of another fiscal year at your cooperative. While there are many internal functions we need to get done to close out the books, one of the most important things each of you can help with is having your charge account current at the end of September. Each year our staff spends countless hours calling and meeting with customers to make sure their accounts are all current prior to our year-end. This creates uncomfortable situations with members/friends and takes valuable time and resources away from providing quality products and services to our members, a task the staff would much rather be doing. For those of you that continue to pay your accounts in a timely manner each month, thank you very much. We know it can be difficult and greatly appreciate your efforts. For those that may have a balance past the credit terms, please clear it up by September 15.


With less than a month left in our fiscal year, I’d like to thank all of you again for your support. We have a great group of highly trained, hardworking, and dedicated employees to help you in all areas of our company. Your board of directors commits time away from their farms to provide the vision and tools our team needs. We will continue to strive to exceed your expectations and we appreciate your feedback in helping us stay ahead of your needs. We will continue to look for new ways to add efficiencies and value to what we are currently doing. Like any business that is constantly moving and adapting, we will run into bumps and make mistakes along the way. I hope that by working together (board, employees, and members) we will continue to build the company you are proud to be owners of.

A year ago, in August, I wrote to all of you about how “chaotic and exciting” the next year would be around the Fiene home. We were expecting our third grandchild in September, found out number four was on the way (born in Feb ’20), and toasted our daughter’s engagement and 2020 wedding plan. At that time, I thought those three things would make for a chaotic year. As it turned out, they were very minor when compared to the chaos created by the pandemic. After all, what beautiful young girl dreams of the perfect virtual wedding growing up? I’m pretty sure mine didn’t, but in September our 300 or so guests will be livestreaming as she and Sam tie the knot in our backyard. I’m already looking forward to a year or two down the road when we hope they’ll all be able to attend a reception and dance. I normally don’t wish time away, especially as more and more of it passes me by, but I’m looking forward to putting 2020 behind me with hopes of a brighter 2021. While I will cherish 2020 for what I’ve been blessed with, I’m afraid it’s going to take a while before I’ll completely recover from the bumps, bruises and scars it will leave. I hope all of you enjoyed the holiday weekend and that you continue to find ways to connect with others while staying healthy. 

Enjoy what’s left of summer and the beautiful upcoming fall weather. It just won’t be the same without the Badgers!


Andy Fiene


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