We have just completed 30 roundtable meetings with the owners of United Farmers Cooperative. I had the opportunity to visit with over 400 of you over the past month or so. I really appreciate your taking the time to get together and visit about how your cooperative is doing and what the future looks like. United Farmers Cooperative is a farmer owned organization that was created to add value to its owners. I can assure you that we get up each and every day focusing on making that happen. Some key points that we shared during the roundtables:
- Your cooperative is doing more business with more of the owners every year. We are growing volumes and services.
- Your cooperative is sharing in the success. We are returning the profits in the form of cash.
- Your cooperative is investing in assets on your behalf. We have averaged 150% of depreciation over the past five years.
- Your cooperative is investing in people; building talent and skills to add value to your operation.
- Your cooperative has a very strong balance sheet and is well positioned.
At the Roundtables, I heard that you are happy with the direction of your cooperative – that we are adding value and that you are excited to see the growth. I also heard that your ownership is important to you and you believe that having a cooperative is important.
I am sure that many of you have heard about the merger activity that has been going on in the cooperative world again. In the past few months, Frontier Cooperative (Brainard) and Husker Cooperative (Columbus) stockholders voted to merge. We have also seen Waverly Cooperative and Midwest Cooperative complete their unification. For me it is pretty simple. Co-ops were created to add value to their owners. To do so we must remain relevant. Relevant to the people and companies we buy products from on your behalf, relevant to the people and companies we sell to on your behalf and relevant to you as a producer. We have and are seeing continued consolidation with input companies, grain companies and on the farm. Very simply, if we are going to continue to be relevant we must consider growth through merger and acquisition. Please understand that the only reason to consider these opportunities is to add value to the owners of this cooperative.
If you would like to discuss these or any issues with your cooperative, please feel free to contact me.