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

From the Manager's Desk

Nov 02, 2020

November Update

As we wrap up October, the first month of our 128th fiscal year, I’d like to thank all of you for helping make our 127th fiscal year a very solid one at your cooperative. Despite the pandemic, and in some cases because of it, sales for the year will be similar to last year at about $190 million. One thing about a pandemic, it can create a lot of volatility. In a commodity business, like many of our divisions are, volatility can offer both opportunities and misery. At your cooperative we were fortunate to capture many more opportunities than setbacks. For one, with the price of fuel down, our fleet of over 600 vehicles saved about $400,000 this year compared to 2019 in just the cost of gas and diesel. That goes right to the bottom line and increases patronage refunds to our members. Of course, the biggest challenge was figuring out how to provide the many products and services to our customers while keeping them and our employee team as safe as we can. This isn’t the first time your cooperative has had to deal with a global pandemic, but I was unable to find any of the meeting minutes from the board meetings in 1918 to help layout a roadmap for 2020/2021. I want to thank all our members and employees for the support they have shown one another as we’ve worked through these challenges together.  I look forward to sharing the results of the audit with you in next month’s newsletter.

Thank you for the tremendous support that allows us to continue to provide the quality people, products, equipment, and services you need for your farm, home, or business.


Each year in the November newsletter, I ask for your help with regards to the safety and well-being of your cooperative staff members. Please help our staff stay safe by keeping a path to your feed bin, propane or fuel tank clear of snow and ice. In addition to our staff, now is the time to prepare to keep yourself and your family members safe this winter. Our ACE Hardware in Westby and Do it Best in Mt Horeb have carbon monoxide and fire detectors to help your family stay safe, as well as winter survival items for your car and home---ice melt, sand, shovels, jumper cables, and more. Don’t forget to have your car or truck ready for winter. I just had a new set of tires in anticipation of snowy days ahead. Our automotive centers can check over your car before the cold weather leaves you stranded. They carry batteries, new tires, antifreeze, etc, and are ready to serve you.
Our propane staff has been working hard to get tanks filled ahead of winter. If you are not a keep-fill route customer, I recommend you call and sign up. It helps our drivers deliver more gallons each day and gets them home earlier each night, while giving you peace of mind and assuring our best applicable volume price. At a minimum please don’t wait until the first snowstorm to call in an order. I assure everyone that we will have cold enough temperatures requiring all of us to heat our homes, so why not fill the tank early and check that off the “to do” list?

You’ll see an article later in the newsletter informing you about the difficult decision to cancel our annual meeting we hold each year in January. With safety and compliance as the number one most important priority at Premier, as well as the restrictions in place on large gatherings, we did not see a path to holding a successful annual meeting this year. We do plan to hold a virtual update meeting that will have much of the same look and feel of our annual meeting, but without the official motions, approvals, or voting results. We look forward to getting back to hosting the meeting in person in January 2022.

The fall harvest got off to a great start this year and we have seen some very good corn yields throughout our trade territory. High yields, low moisture, and an early harvest come along in the same year about as often as I see a nice buck while hunting. Other than the very heavy rain much of the area received around the 22nd, and it being a bit cool, the weather has been great for bringing in the crop. By the time you receive this we hope to be in the home stretch. For those with crops still in the field, please be careful as you rush to get the last of your harvest completed. For those that don’t farm please be extra careful as you run about doing your daily tasks as farm machinery and deer will be moving around a great deal in the days ahead.

In a few weeks we will be celebrating Thanksgiving. Holidays always add stress to our business as employees take extra days of well-deserved vacation time to spend with family and our work week loses a day to serve you. Please help out the co-op staff you work with by calling in your feed, propane, lumber and other deliveries as much in advance of the holidays as possible. With one less day in the week to work with, it’s greatly appreciated by all the staff as it allows them to get home at a decent time to spend the holidays with their family and friends.
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In addition to the grain season, how about the great start the Badgers got off to in their home opener against Illinois. If you can’t start off the year with a small school non-conference team in a COVID shortened season, it looks like Illinois may have been the next best thing (I’m just teasing, Illini fans). Unfortunately, like the rest of the population, our team was hit hard by the virus. While I’m anxious for games to safely resume, I’m really longing for the day when COVID isn’t the first and last thing you hear about each day and I don’t have to be hesitant about hugging my children and grandkids. Veteran’s Day is November 11. Thank you all for your service and sacrifice.

Please be safe and have a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!

 

Andy Fiene

CEO


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