Winds of change in China

global agriculture

By Joe Lardy, research manager, CHS Hedging

China has had a long-standing policy to be self-sufficient in key food source production, including rice, wheat and corn. In 2004, the Chinese government made historic adjustments to its agriculture policy when it eliminated taxes on agriculture and created a new system of subsidies for key commodities. The subsidies supported seed and machinery purchases and resulted in improved infrastructure.

This set the stage for a huge buildup of acreage devoted to corn production. (more…)

CHS reports $180.1 million first quarter earnings for fiscal 2018

CHS President and CEO, Jay Debertin

CHS reported net income of $180.1 million for the first quarter of its 2018 fiscal year (three-month period ended Nov. 30, 2017), compared to net income of $209.2 million for the same period a year ago.

Consolidated revenues for the first quarter of fiscal 2018 were $8.0 billion, the same as fiscal 2017. Pretax income was $199.6 million and $225.6 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2018 and 2017, respectively.

“Despite challenging market conditions, CHS experienced a solid first quarter thanks to our continued focus on three key priorities: strengthening relationships, sharpening operational excellence and restoring financial flexibility,” said CHS President and Chief Executive Officer Jay Debertin. “In the first quarter, we recorded solid earnings from our businesses and reduced long-term debt. These actions are helping to strengthen and grow CHS.”

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Calling for 2018 National Ag Day Essay entries

National Ag Day LogoHigh school students across the United States are encouraged to share their views about agriculture’s role in a growing world through the 2018 National Ag Day Essay Contest.

The contest deadline is January 31. This year’s theme is “How Will Agriculture Feed the World?” The contest, organized through Agriculture Council of America (ACA), is divided into two categories: the written essay contest and the video essay contest. Both are national competitions and there will be one winner for each category. (more…)

CHS elects directors at 2017 CHS Annual Meeting

CHS owners elected three new board members and re-elected five others to the CHS Board at the 2017 CHS Annual Meeting Dec. 7-8. The three new board members were (l. to r.): front – Scott Cordes, Wanamingo, Minn., Tracy Jones, Kirkland, Ill., and Russ Kehl, Quincy, Wash.; back – Perry Meyer, New Ulm, Minn., Edward Malesich, Dillon, Mont., Jon Erickson, Minot, N.D., Dan Schurr, LeClaire, Iowa, and C.J. Blew, Castleton, Kan.

With a pledge and priority to strengthen relationships in 2018, CHS kicked off its annual cooperative meeting in Minneapolis, Minn., on Dec. 7. The two-day annual meeting was filled with networking, educational sessions, board and management reports, and director elections.

“Strengthen and grow: These words represent so much more than an annual meeting theme. This is a priority that we have. It captures how we will operate our company moving forward,” said CHS Board Chairman Dan Schurr, an Iowa farmer, during the general session.

With approximately 2,200 owners in attendance, Jay Debertin, CHS president and CEO, promised that strengthen and grow, which has been a focus of CHS for 85 years, will continue to be the cooperative’s focus for a long time to come – just as it has been the driving force behind local cooperatives.

The business meeting featured regional caucuses; board, financial and management reports; and company governance with an open question-and-answer session.

In conjunction with the 2017 CHS Annual Meeting, 110 young producers, nominated by cooperative partners in 11 states, attended the CHS New Leaders Forum. Both crop and livestock operations were represented with nearly half (44 percent) managing more than 2,000 acres. Two participants already serve on local cooperative boards and 85 percent of the others expressed interest in serving on a local board in the future.

CHS New Leader Forum participants had the opportunity to network with other future ag leaders, learn about and practice strategies for effective leadership and communication, and learn more about CHS and related businesses.

Find pictures from the 2017 CHS Annual Meeting on the CHS Flickr page, watch video featuring local cooperatives, and read the 2017 CHS Annual Report.

2017 officer slate elected

CHS owners elected farmers from Illinois, Minnesota and Washington, and re-elected five other farmers to serve terms as directors of the CHS Board. CHS directors must be full-time farmers or ranchers to be eligible for election to the 17-member board.

Newly elected Director Scott Cordes of Wanamingo, Minn., succeeds Curt Eischens of Minneota, Minn., who had served on the board since 1990. With his brother and nephew, Cordes operates a 1,000-acre corn and soybean farm. He received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Minnesota and previously served as the president of CHS Hedging.

Newly elected Director Tracy Jones of Kirkland, Ill., succeeds Greg Kruger of Eleva, Wis., who had served on the board since 2008. Jones, who operates a corn, soybean and wheat farm, and also finishes 1,400 head of feedlot cattle annually, has been chairman of the CHS Elburn Producer Board since 2011.

Newly elected Director Russ Kehl of Quincy, Wash., fills the final year of a three-year term previously held by David Bielenberg, who resigned in June 2017. Kehl raises potatoes, dry beans and other crops on a 12,000-acre farm. A director for CHS Connell Grain (now CHS SunBasin Growers) since 2004, Kehl also operates a dry bean processing facility and cow-calf operation.

Re-elected were C.J. Blew, Castleton, Kan.; Jon Erickson, Minot, N.D.; Edward Malesich, Dillon, Mont.; Perry Meyer, New Ulm, Minn., and Dan Schurr, LeClaire, Iowa.

Following the annual meeting, the CHS Board re-elected Schurr to a one-year term as chairman. Other directors selected as officers for 2018 were:

  • J. Blew, first vice chairman
  • David Johnsrud, Starbuck, Minn., secretary-treasurer
  • Jon Erickson, second vice chairman
  • Steve Riegel, Ford, Kan., assistant secretary-treasurer

Unconscious Bias and the Role of Women in Agribusinesses

Women in Agribusinesses

 

By Amy Piersak, market intelligence specialist with CHS

A farmer standing in their field surrounded by the sights and smells of a spring rain. An agronomist analyzing a seeding recommendation. The grain merchandizer settling into a Monday morning at your local cooperative. The animal nutrition specialist you trust to provide the right feed for your animals. Now pause and visualize these people. Who are you picturing?

If you are picturing men in these roles, you are likely experiencing unconscious bias. Humans are only able to consciously process a fraction of the information we receive every second, so out of necessity, our brains have developed the incredible ability to unconsciously process thousands of pieces of information in an instant. While this is invaluable when assessing the threat of a lion in the brush (spoiler: very high), it can cause us to fall prey to biases when envisioning tasks or roles such as those mentioned earlier.

Despite these perceptions, the role of women in agriculture has been steadily evolving. Much of the shift has come from the changing demographic landscape in education. Most colleges of agriculture are posting higher numbers of women seeking ag-related degrees. In the spring of this year, The College of Agriculture at Purdue University posted that 58% of their undergraduate students were women. This is a colossal change from the 1970s when women comprised only 2-5% of their undergraduate population. For comparison, women represented 43% of the total undergraduate students at Purdue University in spring of 2017. In 2017, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State reported 52% of their undergraduates are women. Like Purdue University, Iowa State University reported that of their undergraduate students, 43% were women.

As women are obtaining more degrees in areas related to animals, animal behaviors, entomology, botany, plant sciences, and environmental sciences compared to men, the implications on the “typical candidate” will be significant. It is worth noting that these degrees are considered STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) degrees. Women have historically been underrepresented in STEM degrees, and agriculture is a leading area of growth on that front.

Unfortunately, the gains in education are not as well represented in the working world. The United States Department of Labor reports that women represented 47% of the workforce in 2016. Which remains relatively unchanged from the last 20 years. When we look at agribusinesses and local agricultural cooperatives, the percentage of women in the workforces drop to 32% and 22% respectively.

So where does that leave us? We have a growing number of qualified candidates, and yet a top 5 challenge identified by agribusiness leadership is the availability of qualified talent. How do we bridge this gap? A great place to start is for both sides to begin watching out for their biases, and working proactively to compensate for them. This simple change will help expand a talent pool that is perceived to be constrained, and increase career opportunities for members of your local community.

This article was originally published on AgCareers.com.

CHS reports fiscal year-end results, announces FY 2018 priorities

CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, today reported net income of $127.9 million for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2017, compared to net income of $424.2 million for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2016. Consolidated revenues totaled $31.9 billion for fiscal 2017, approximately a five percent increase over consolidated revenues of $30.3 billion for fiscal 2016. (more…)

Winter Farm Show Update

WINTER FARM SHOW UPDATE

We are excited to announce the schedule of events for our Winter Farm Show on Tuesday, December 12.  Please join us and our key business partners to discuss pertinent topics related to your operation.  The 2017 Winter Farm Show opens at 9:00 a.m. at the Scherr Howe Event Center with a full day of learning that will cover timely topics ranging from soil and plant health, commodity prices, and crop inputs. Explore the interactive show and talk with CHS Northern Plains agronomists, feed representatives, energy representatives, grain marketers, and various business partners about what’s on your mind. Then hear keynote speaker Michael Swanson, PhD, Wells Fargo’s Chief Agricultural Economist, share his insights on current grain prices, correct trades for inputs, and interest rates effect on land values.

At the 2017 CHS Northern Plains Winter Farm Show and Annual Meeting, allow us to connect you with knowledge and insight to improve your operation.  Watch for more updates.

© 2018 CHS Inc.