From the Manager's Desk

Mar 05, 2024


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March 2024

With spring just around the corner, your cooperative is gearing up for another one of our seasonal rushes... spring planting season. Not only will we see our total employee count peak for the year, but nearly every asset in the company will be in use. While many businesses have equipment and buildings that are in use all year long, our grain and agronomy divisions have millions of dollars invested in some assets that only get used for a few months out of the year. It is critical that these assets are fully operational and ready to go when the season starts. Our agronomy operations team has spent the winter months going through all the equipment to make sure it’s in good working order, unwrapping and greasing up the new sprayers, trucks and other equipment we’ve purchased this year, updating technology and precision tools on existing equipment, and conducting hours of training on its use and safety. Our team is prepared to put these assets to use and help their producer members maximize their profits in 2024.

Speaking of new assets, last month I mentioned that we currently have multiple construction projects in the works. While a brief mention here may not do justice to the scope of the projects, I’ll try to summarize some of what is going on around the company.

  • Westby feed is in the middle of expanding their production and finished product loadout capabilities. Sounds simple, but there is a great deal of new equipment and infrastructure changes involved in this project and is being completed while they are still in full operation. The best analogy I can come up with would be to start a full kitchen remodel the week that you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner. The coordination and dedication from Feed Mill Manager Roger Brock and his team has been nothing less than impressive.
  • Mineral Point feed is also in the middle of a large-scale expansion with adding manufacturing, receiving, warehousing and automated bagging operations to name a few. They are currently at a pause in the construction process waiting for steel contractors, but with earthwork, concrete, and more completed over the winter, they are all set for the new structure to go up. 
  • The new office/warehouse in Lancaster is currently going up. As of today, the exterior walls and trusses are all up and waiting for the shell of the building to go on. If spring can hold off just a little longer, we should see this project near completion before the agronomy team hits the full spring rush.
  • The team in Mazomanie is off to an amazing start on their 2024 project. They have removed five old and obsolete grain bins, installed a new scale with overhead loadouts, and are ready to pour the concrete base for a new grain bin. They have an aggressive schedule with an expectation to be complete before the 2024 harvest, but at the current pace and focus of the team, I believe they can make it happen.
  • In the Southwest, the new Cuba City agronomy facility continues to get closer to breaking ground. With plans awaiting final approval from the state and a few engineering details to be reviewed, we are on schedule for a spring construction start. Once complete, the teams from Hazel Green and Platteville will come together to serve their customers from the new, state-of-the-art agronomy facility, with plenty of room for future growth!
 


The list I’ve just gone through are just some of the larger projects that are currently under way. There are many other projects going on throughout the company that may not get as much attention as the large construction ones, but that doesn’t mean they are any less important. Large or small, each project across the company has a focus to increase safety, add value for our members, improve employee satisfaction, and grow the business. I look forward to sharing more as these and other projects are put into service. Thank you for the continued support of Premier Cooperative and its staff that allow for these and future projects to happen. Have a great month and stay safe!

Matt Severson

CEO

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I was caught in a snowstorm coming back from a hedging meeting in Inver Grove Heights, MN on March 26th. It was nice to see that someone is getting a little winter this year. By the time I got to Wisconsin Dells, all of the snow and ice clinging to my truck was gone and I was back in spring weather again. While our propane sales decreased this year, the bright side is that our wear and tear on our vehicles, equipment and employees declined as well. There’s always next year.