Ashby Equity Ass'n Newsletter
Changes? There are always changes.
For the last few years we have been working on expanding our variable rate offerings and services. We have come a long way on this project and are now doing all the VRN done in house from soil test to application, and are able to do the same with variable rate seeding. We will also be able to offer in-season satellite imagery of your fields. If you are interested in variable rate work it does have a planning phase and you will need to contact us and visit about your needs. Prices for zone based VRN have gone down sharply from three years ago.
We have now have TWO multi-bin terragators for VRN work plus a single bin VRN machine.
All of us employees at Ashby Equity Association are very aware that our prosperity depends on our customers satisfaction. Thank you for your business and loyalty for the year we have just finished, and we will work diligently to maintain your trust and business.
The next big project is to leap forward on 'technology'. By this we do not mean incremental increases in VRN, VRS, or slight improvements on equipment technologies, but are adding more computer based services and offerings which play into the hands of the farmers directly. Climate is one of these, another is Agri-Edge. We are looking at Land'O'Lakes Sustain also and plan on increasing other types of tech boost for our customers. James Hustad has been appointed Technology Lead for the Co-op. If you know of anything we should be looking into or have questions please contact James. All this takes time and will work much better with customer input.
Station, Napa parts and service update.
Each day our staff at the Ashby Equity strives to meet our customers' expectations for gas, fuels, parts and service. For a small community we have a lot happening in Ashby. The people are great, and we are thankful we can serve you. The Napa parts line is a good business model that offers a wide range of parts, hand tools, power tools, shop equipment, tire supplies, safety items and a whole lot more. Each quarter the Napa "Real Deals" sales flyer comes out with a boat load of specials. This is a great place to do shopping. We don't have some of the items in the store, but we can order them and have them the next day. Gift wrapping may be a challenge! Stop in and take a look.
The Ashby Equity has recently upgraded our pumps to offer our customers a new ethanol blend of E-15 (15% ethanol, 85% gasoline). E-15 is approved to be used in cars, light trucks and SUV's for model years 2001 and newer. It offers a higher octane gasoline with a lower cost to the customer. We will continue to have E-85 and the other ethanol blends as well as regular 87 octane gas and premium non-oxy gasoline. We will keep you posted on this new product at the Equity.
Thank You Veterans:
We are grateful every day for those who serve, or have served our country in the military. A special day is set aside each year on November 11 so we can ensure our veterans know that we deeply appreciate the sacrifices they have made and are making in their lives to keep our country free. We honor all of America's veterans for their loyal and dedicated service. May God bless all of you.
At this time, just after the 4th of July, the corn and soybeans look impressive. I have seldom seen a better corn crop overall and am excited about what this can mean for our farmers. Soybeans are doing very well also, and weather behaving we should have a great harvest opportunity.
One of the things I am not happy with is the direction of the fertilizer markets. We have not seen a decrease in pricing in June like the last few years. Our reading of the market directions means P and K could be a good purchase, even at the higher prices for fall application. Nitrogen pricing for spring is still to uncertain to read well, and could go either way.
Another change happening in the industry we have been watching is the offerings of Roundup Xtend beans, Liberty beans, and hopefully we will be able to offer Enlist beans for next season. The Enlist technology offers a real ray of hope since it uses 2,4-D instead of dicamba for weed control with glyphosate. Liberty results have been as good or better than hoped with no yield loss to Xtend or RR plus good or better weed control. We will again have an excellent supply of Liberty beans to give our customers that option.
Peterson Seed Farms has announced a new soybean line that is a triple stack, and can tolerate Liberty, Glyphosate, and Balance. Very interesting.
Please call or visit you favorite agronomist with questions. We are all spending time in the country now, and what we need most is opinions on how you will be progressing so we can plan adequately.
General Manager Succession
General Manager succession planning process: The Board of Directors and management have been reviewing the Equity Manager's succession plan for some time. Understanding the importance of the transition plan we had planned to start a couple years from now until Ken announced he was moving the transition plan up. We were confident there was qualified staff in house to move into the succession plan. The Board of Directors interviewed three employees in January and chose James Hustad to be the Operations Manager for the next 12 to 18 months. Under this plan Ken will train and mentor James to succeed him as the next General Manager at the Equity. During this time James will also continue in his current agronomy position and duties as Agronomy Manager. We trust our succession plan and look forward to James moving into the new position in the future.
Propane tank lease program:
If you have a leased propane tank you will notice your tank lease is on this month's statement. The propane tank lease period is the same as our fiscal year, Nov 1 through Oct 31. We bill out tank leases in
February for this time frame each year. Generally propane tank leases are $40 per year plus sales tax. If a customer does not use an amount of propane equal to their tank size each year the tank lease is $75.00 plus tax. We realize in some cases our customers need for propane is less, or they have made investments in better insulation or installed alternative heat sources where propane has become the backup. Where a minimum amount of propane is used annually, the customer can request a smaller propane tank. The annual consumption is reviewed yearly to determine your lease rate. If a customer's usage goes up, the tank lease will once again go to the $40.00 rate. Based on our research, these lease rates are very competitive with other energy sources and programs in the area. Give us a call if you have additional questions.
"Making a Difference" Community Grant Program:
The Ashby Equity will once again be awarding $5000 making a difference dollars ($1250 per quarter) for organizations and individuals improving and impacting our communities in a positive way. We know there are many organizations and individuals that are making huge differences in the lives of many people. If the organization received tax exempt status under section 501(C)(3) of the internal revenue code the Equity will also apply for matching funds for the organization from the Land O'Lakes foundation. Contact the Ashby Equity for the "Making a Difference" grant application. Together we can make a difference.
Equity Board of Director Officers elected:
Following our recent annual meeting the Ashby Equity Association board of directors elected offices for the upcoming year. Chairman of the board is Sam Balgaard, Vice Chairman Mike Hanson and Secretary Donald Hanson. The other two members serving on the board are David Dewey and Mike Shores.
Dividend and Stock Retirement checks:
The patronage dividend checks and stock retirement checks are here. If you have not picked up your check, please stop in. This year's dividend rate was 6.01% of which we paid 30% in cash. The total dividend amounted to a 10.7¢ on gasoline, 12.6¢ on diesel, 6.8 cents per gallon propane and $22.96 per ton of fertilizers. We also retired 100% of the outstanding stock to those born in 1946 and 40% for those born in 1947. 157 customers shared in the $125,000 stock retirement.
2018-2019 Propane Contracts Available:
Propane contracts for next year are now available. We have seen energy values higher than last year with crude oil trading in the mid $60 range. There is plenty of propane inventory so propane is basically following the energy complex at this point. Propane contracts are running a little higher than last year's prices. History shows us the best time to start buying propane for the next season is from spring into summer. It may be a good time to contract a portion of your next winter season or crop drying propane. We will continue to use our market based pricing strategy on contracts. As we sell, we will continue to buy and price accordingly. Give us a call if you are interested in a propane contract.