GROWMARK, Inc., Bloomington, Ill., announced the results of director elections, held in conjunction with the regional cooperative’s annual meeting in Chicago.
Five of the cooperative’s 16 director seats, established by geographic zone, were elected and will serve three-year terms. GROWMARK’s six established governance zones cover all of North America; there are multiple directors per zone. One at-large director represents Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin Farm Bureaus. GROWMARK is affiliated with Farm Bureau in those states.
GROWMARK directors elected include:
Zone A – Rick Nelson of Paxton, Ill., has served on the GROWMARK Board since 1990. He was elected vice chairman in 2004. He and his wife Pat operate a 2,100 acre cash grain farm. He is also president of the Ludlow Cooperative Elevator Board.
Zone A – Kevin Malchine of Waterford, Wis. was elected to his first term on the GROWMARK Board. He operates a 2,100 acre farm in partnership with his brother and nephew. He and his wife Kelly have three daughters, Stephanie, Shannon, and Shauna. Malchine serves on the board of Conserv FS, Inc.
Zone B – David Uhlman of Tremont, Ill., was elected to his first term on the GROWMARK Board. He farms with his brother and son. They raise row crops, canning pumpkins, and have a cow-calf herd. He and his wife Joan have three children. Uhlman serves on the Ag-Land FS, Inc. board of directors.
Zone C – Dennis Neuhaus of Hoyleton, Ill., was elected to his first term on the GROWMARK Board. His five-generation family farm includes dairy and beef cattle and 1,300 acres of row crops. He and his wife Pam have three daughters, Stacey, Jenell, and Megan. Neuhaus is a member of the Gateway FS, Inc. board of directors.
Zone D – Allen Tanner of Creston, Iowa, has served on the GROWMARK Board since 2004. He and his wife Candi farm 2,000 acres and manage a cow-calf operation. He has served on the board of New Century FS and its predecessor companies since 1989.
Meanwhile, higher commodity prices and solid volume growth in most GROWMARK business units produced record sales for the cooperative for the 2012 fiscal year, ending August 31.
Jeff Solberg, chief executive officer, announced unaudited, estimated sales of $10 billion for the 2012 fiscal year, the highest in the cooperative’s history. GROWMARK’s pretax income is estimated at $295 million, the second highest in the company’s history. An estimated $140 million in patronage refunds – also a company record -- will be returned to GROWMARK member cooperatives and farmer-owners.
“This is our 85th year as a cooperative system and we are proud of the progress from our founding to now reporting the strongest sales numbers in our history,” he said. “Our business is built around our mission to improve the long-term profitability of our member owners. With our record sales this year, we are able to return a record amount of patronage to our owners. We remain committed their success and to the unity of our cooperative system.”
Operational highlights for the company’s business units were also reported at the Annual Meeting:
Record high sales volume for the Plant Food Division were reported, due to strong corn acreage, a good fall application window, an early spring season, and market share growth. The Seed Division increased unit sales of seed corn to a record high, while soybean sales were even with last year. The Crop Protection Division set another sales record over last year. Higher sales of agronomy application equipment and farm grain systems led to increased sales in the Facility Planning Division, as well.
The Energy Division recorded another record year for total energy volume. Gasoline and diesel fuel both showed strong growth, while propane was slightly lower than last year. Lubricant volume remained steady. Significant renovations at the Council Bluffs, Iowa lubricant manufacturing facility expanded bulk storage capacity and allow for key blending processes to be handled in-house.