From The Manager's Desk

Apr 01, 2019

March was another busy month at your cooperative as our board of directors held its annual long-range planning session, the propane division played catch up following one of the coldest February’s in some time, well over a hundred staff members went through annual spring safety training, and the agronomy locations started hopping again with seed deliveries and a little fertilizer hitting the ground. While winter is a peak season for our propane division and the animal nutrition division thrives all year long, spring marks the beginning of the busy season for our hardware, lumber, convenience store, automotive/tire, and agronomy divisions. Whether it’s preparing for open house, cleaning the road salt off the pumps, switching out shovels and snow blowers for lawn fertilizer and gas grills, or spreading the first load of crop nutrients on a wheat field, the rite of passage as a new spring is born and is welcomed by everyone at your company.
Your cooperative was created more than 125 years ago for one main purpose---to serve its member/owners. At the end of the day we also return profits back to our customers. In the past 5 years, we have returned about $16 million in cash to our members, while supporting local employees (wages of $69 million) and organizations (donations, property taxes, volunteers, etc.). That’s money and support that has gone back into the local communities we all live in, not to business owners or corporate stockholders outside of the areas we serve. This spring we will be returning a record $4 million in cash. While 2018 was not our most successful year, the board of directors recognizes the challenges our producer members and others are facing and hopes the additional cash redemptions will help. Thanks again for the support that makes this possible. We will continue to work each day to earn your business and exceed your expectations. I hope to see many of you in May at Mt Horeb, Westby, or LaFarge.
I’d like to thank all of you for trusting our energy team to serve your home heating needs again this past winter. While winter started out slowly, it certainly picked up as the months dragged on. Huge snowfalls in parts of our area, followed by late winter rains, led to flooding throughout the area. For many of us, it was the third or fourth flooding event in the past twelve months. At our Dodge energy office, about an hour NW of La Crosse, our facility was surrounded by water and some of the propane tanks at the site started floating about before we could get them all roped together. Thanks to the Dodge team for overcoming yet another obstacle this year to take care of our members. Congratulations to our energy team and thanks to our members for being recognized last month in LP Gas magazine as the 26th largest propane company in the United States. If you’re not currently a propane customer but would like to be please give us a call.
In our September newsletter I mentioned that Premier Cooperative’s board of directors had signed a letter of intent to explore a possible merger with ProVision Partners Cooperative, Marshfield. After many months of discussions, the two cooperatives have decided to discontinue the partnership talks. Despite identifying many synergies of operating together, we could not reach agreement on several key issues. Growth in any business is important, and we will continue to look for the right opportunities while making sure they check the most important box---best for our members and employee team. Thanks for your feedback and support as we strive to be the Premier Cooperative for all of you.
It’s time for my yearly reminder about spring safety. Living in rural areas, we are all blessed by the many splendors that each awaiting season brings us. However, with the spring comes the hustle and bustle of the planting season. These 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 90 days to farm machinery pulling in and out of 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.
Despite the Badgers disappointing loss in the first round of the NCAA tournament, March turned out to be a great month for Mo and me as we found out we are going to be grandparents again. While I was oblivious for over two hours after my two-year-old granddaughter, Ava, showed up wearing a “Big Sister” t-shirt, it took gramma Mo only about two minutes to notice it when she arrived. This will make the start of football season extra special this year, but I still hope summer doesn’t rush by. Have a very Happy Easter.

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Apr 04, 2019
Tim Lease | Energy Division Manager
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Ken Jahnke | Agronomy Division Sales Manager
Apr 02, 2019
Heather Downing | Livestock Production Specialist