From the Manager's Desk

Dec 01, 2020

December Update

As I mentioned last month, we held our audit in November and I’m very pleased to report that your cooperative had another solid year in 2020. In addition to the expected challenges we face each year, like unpredictable weather and commodity markets, this year was like no other as we navigated through the new challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the pandemic, and because of your continued support and the dedication of our employee team, we were able to overcome the challenges in fiscal 2020 and post very solid performance. With the exception of grain and convenience stores, all divisions reported increased performance. The grain division was hindered by the poor 2019 growing season and harvest while the convenience stores were impacted by reduced gallons and inside sales as businesses were closed and many employees started working from home. The feed division and Do it Best Hardware and Lumber, as well as ACE Hardware, each saw significant gains again this past year. Overall, your cooperative recorded its best bottom-line performance in its 127-year history. As a result of this performance, we’ll be returning nearly $4.6 million in patronage this spring with 60% (a record $2.7 million) being returned in cash. The cash returned this spring will represent 2% of the patronage-based purchases in 2019, up from 1.6% the past several years. Twenty years ago, in our 102nd year, your cooperative had nearly $26 million in sales, $13.6 million in total assets and about $7 million in member equity. Because of your support, in 2020 we’ve grown sales to about $190 million and reached $149 million in assets while returning almost $40 million in cash over the past 20 years, with $19 million of that in the past five years. Congratulations to all of you as the members/owners of one of the top performing farm and consumer supply cooperatives in the country.

On behalf of the employee team and board of directors, thank you for the tremendous support that has made this possible.

December will be super busy at your cooperative as propane deliveries ramp up, grain harvest wraps up, feed inbound and outbound loads battle the elements, agronomy prepares prepay programs and finishes fall fertilizer applications, the auto/tire shops change out hundreds of sets of new tires, and the retail stores help last minute shoppers and travelers with their needs. We will also begin phase one of a two-part expansion at our feed manufacturing facility in Mineral Point. This phase will add a high capacity grain cleaner and conveying system to bring only the highest quality corn from the adjacent grain storage into the feed facility. The addition of a new, larger roller mill will increase speed and allow for even finer particle sizes. These changes, and phase two, will relieve inefficient bottlenecks in production. The second phase will be separating the calf feed manufacturing from the existing manufacturing space. This will free up additional manufacturing capacity for both calf and other feed mixes, allowing our feed team to continue to build upon the excellent growth we’ve had since opening the facility in 2009.

Investments like those above, and others in the pipeline, will help Premier continue to deliver industry leading products and solutions to our members in an efficient manner. This, along with having the size and scale to be a preferred partner of the major suppliers, will help your cooperative compete in a constantly evolving ag market. Premier must continue to adapt, like we have done for the past 127 years, or face irrelevance. The cooperative’s employee team has an incredible passion for and commitment to animal agriculture, crop production, grain services, home/farm/business energy, hardware, convenience, and other retail products and services. These are challenging times in agriculture and brick and mortar retailing, but with challenges there are also opportunities. When I was in high school, I and a few others in our FFA chapter helped erect a sign on Hwy 12 that read: Sauk-Prairie FFA, a Golden Past, a Brighter Future. Your cooperative has certainly had a golden past, and with your continued support it will have an even brighter future. As a side bar, apparently my Hall of Fame Ag Instructor, Al Stuckey, didn’t realize we needed a permit to install what was a very large sign constructed with several pine logs on each side, and the state ordered us to remove it shortly after. Lesson learned.


Thanks to all of you who called in feed, propane, and other deliveries early so that our employee team could also enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday. While I’m hoping to safely spend the holidays with my immediate family, as I type this, I’m still unsure if that means virtually or not. With Christmas and New Year’s falling on a Friday, and many locations closing early the day before, our staff will need your help getting ten days of work done in less than eight days. With your help, we can do it. If you end up in a rush around the holidays, don’t forget nothing says “Merry Christmas” like a Premier Gift Certificate. Where else can you get propane, gas, tires, hardware, lumber, pet food, and more, all with just one gift certificate?

Thank you for the continued support, have a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!


Andy Fiene


Read More News

Dec 17, 2020
To date fall weather has been rather mild, however, soon enough good ol mother nature will bless us with the season livestock producers dread…. WINTER. As the saying goes, if you like winter you never owned livestock. However, owning cattle, winter can be a time of excitement as you await the coming calving season and get things geared up to see the success of last years breeding decisions. More importantly during this time  though is being aware of the nutritional demands of the cows as you transition from a typical maintenance type diet to diets that meet the needs of a cow in the last 1/3 of gestation.
Dec 08, 2020
In recognition of the need faced in our communities, Premier wanted to find a way to give back this holiday season. With the uncertainty of the world today, the need to eat stays constant. Beginning mid-November, Premier branches began to collect non-perishables to donate to local food pantries. The food drive officially ended on Friday, December 4th with a total of 1,849 items to be donated to local food pantries.
Dec 04, 2020
We’ve almost reached the end of 2020. 2020 had a lot of challenges but Americans are resilient so most of us have found healthy ways to cope with our new realities. Here’s to hoping 2021 finds you healthy and prosperous. 

Speaking of prosperous, if you read Andy’s Manager’s Desk article, most divisions had a solid year in 2020. The energy division also did well again this year, which will allow us to continue to invest in new trucks and other equipment and services in order to increase safety and efficiency.

The easiest way for us to increase our efficiency is through routing our deliveries properly. That is why we ask our will call customers to call in when they are around 30%. It gives us a chance to work the will call orders into our scheduled delivery orders for the greatest efficiency. If you call in to order your propane, please work with us to avoid delays or additional charges. For your safety and ours, please don’t create an emergency so that our employees have to enter your home to start your propane appliance after you’ve let yourself run out of propane.