Co-op News > From the Manager's Desk

From the Manager's Desk

Apr 02, 2021

April Update

Welcome to spring 2021. The piles of snow along the edge of the parking lot outside our Mt Horeb Do it Best store are now gone and will soon be replaced with mountains of fresh mulch, dozens of lawn and garden soils, fertilizer, bark, and stone options, as well as a freshly stocked greenhouse full of some of the best flowers, vegetables, trees and shrubs the area has to offer. A little further north our Westby ACE store is also busy packing away the leftover snowblowers and shovels, and ready to showcase the latest grills and just about anything to spruce up your backyard living space. 

Throughout the month of March, the propane division was busy catching up from the bitter cold spell in February that led to major supply disruptions throughout the Midwest. Due to the increased demand, as well as regional and global economic factors within the propane and gas industry, the Midwest saw some of the tightest supply from the pipeline we have seen in recent years. If you are one of our thousands of propane customers that contract your annual usage, it’s likely you were not even aware of supply shortages that caused prices to spike as much as 50 cents per gallon in one day. That’s because your company has made the investment in the storage, equipment, trucks, and people to secure the supply our members need to keep warm and safe throughout the winter. There is much more to just purchasing the gas in the winter. Your propane team works year-round with multiple suppliers and business partners to ensure we have the supply when the demand is the greatest. This is just one of the reasons our propane division was ranked again as one of the 25 largest propane providers in the country. Congratulations to our entire propane division for another successful season. If you’re not currently a propane customer but would like to be please give us a call.   

The changing season is the unofficial start to the busiest time of year for your cooperative. Our 11 full-service agronomy locations are now ready to put their winter’s worth of planning and preparation into action. With a little fertilizer already hitting the ground in some areas, soon every location will be buzzing with all hands on deck. The next few weeks your cooperative will ramp up to the peak employee numbers for the year (just over 400). With this comes a friendly reminder about spring safety. Long days and unpredictable weather delays can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety about getting the crop in the ground. Unfortunately, this can lead to accidents and more delays. Please pay special attention over the next several months to farm equipment pulling in and out of the fields and wide loads coming around the next corner or over the next hill. To our producer members, be extra careful this spring. Get plenty of rest, eat right, take a short walk to unwind, and if you get behind give us a call and we’ll do what we can to help.   

One year ago, we were learning for the first time what it meant to be “safer at home”. On March 25, 2020, Governor Evers issued the first safer at home order. While the outlook for the spring of 2021 looks a little brighter than what we encountered last year, unfortunately it still does not allow us to host any of our three open house events in May that have been a tradition for the past many years, and the kick-off to our annual patronage dividend distributions. While personally handing out patronage and stock retirement checks is something I look forward to each year, we will begin mailing this year’s cash patronage and equity redemption checks in May to get them into the hands of our members as soon as possible. In next month’s newsletter I’ll breakdown the returns in more detail, but from our fiscal 2020 year-end results, this year’s cash distribution for patronage and equity will hit an all-time high of about $4.7 million. Thank you for the support that make returns like this possible. Have a very Happy Easter.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and have a safe month.


Matt Severson

CEO


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