News from Your Federated Agronomists | December 28, 2018
2018-19 graphic
Mike McMahon
Yearend Thoughts from Federated's CEO
Extra Bushels are Key
to Extra Profit, Greater Success.

We continue to challenge each other here at Federated, as well as with our suppliers, to get smarter every day by listening and challenging the ways we do business. The key is to leverage this knowledge to help our patrons get those extra bushels off every acre and show a solid return on investment (ROI). We believe we did get smarter by aligning our recommendations to your goals. 

We have great examples of patrons that worked with us from the beginning of the cycle through harvest and the results showed a very solid return on investment. We had growers tell us they achieved record yields on corn and top three yield on beans. We also continue to shop suppliers and look for ways to reduce your input cost, from seed to fertilizer and crop protection, to fuel and propane. 

We want to earn your business by being your partner with great knowledge and competitive pricing. The patronage payout this spring will be the over-the-top extra bushel everyone is looking for.  

In 2018 we bought the assets of the Moose Lake Co-op. These assets included the agronomy plant, with capacity to do about 3500 tons annually, the feed store with a mill, and the Cenex ® gas station/convenience store. We tore down the mill due to the poor condition, and Munson Lake Nutrition has secured some of this feed business. The co-op owns 19% of Munson so it is a win for the co-op. This acquisition gives us a chance to expand our footprint and will give us more leverage with our suppliers as we become a bigger piece of their business. We are very pleased with our results and the community seems very pleased to have us, which helps solidify our reputation. This northern area has always been very strong for our energy business, primarily propane. Our energy business was very strong in 2018 due to the below-average temperatures across our geography. We will over-deliver our plan, which will help fund our capital needs across the entire co-op.

Also in 2018, we had a leadership change in our agronomy team, Craig Gustafson assumed the role of Director of Agronomy Operations. He brings over 40 years of experience both in the co-op system and on the farm. His experience will be very valuable for you the patrons, and our team members. He knows many of you but he looks forward to meeting more in 2019.

As we move into 2019, we are very aware of the financial challenges you, our growers, are facing. Inputs are going up and the prices are not following. We are committed to staying focused on providing insight and expertise to help you get that extra bushel to help all of us weather these turbulent times. We know you have choices, but the diversity of our business at the co-op, between agronomy, energy and retail, gives us the ability to provide solid pricing and great service. It also allows us to generate profit to support the needs of agronomy. Our goal is to be your one place to buy for all your needs: agronomy, energy, and retail. 

On behalf of all the Federated associates and your Board of Directors, thank you for your patronage in 2018. We look forward to growing with you and identifying ways to get smarter. I hope to see you at our meetings in the spring of 2019.

Happy New Year!

Mike McMahon, CEO
Federated Co-ops, Inc.
Brad Hipsag
Federated Focus: A Person, A Service
Old-time Good Service from Federated’s Newest Agronomist

Brad Hipsag may be new to his role in agronomy sales at Federated’s Ogilvie location, but there’s nothing new about the kind of service he provides to Federated growers. Along with his fellow agronomists, Hipsag knows that good service is Federated’s hallmark.

Growers who call upon Hipsag can be assured he cares about their farms, their needs. “I put their needs first,” he said.

Hipsag grew up on a farm near Pease, and today focuses his efforts on the needs of growers in the areas surrounding Milaca, Foreston, Oak Park, Foley, and Gilman. He brings everything Federated has to offer to north central Minnesota growers: “Federated is an up-to-date company . . . it’s in tune with what’s going on [in agriculture],” he said.

Hipsag described how Federated has “knowledgeable people, and better equipment” that support both his own and the co-op’s overall commitment to meeting grower needs.

With a few years of retail agronomy work under his belt prior to joining Federated in late September, this Southwest Minnesota State University grad puts his agronomy training to work every day. His educational emphasis on crop management puts him on the cutting edge for helping growers plan effectively for better yields.

Hipsag noted that Federated has a very good “structure,” including multiple levels of leadership within the agronomy division. Thus, if the answer to a grower’s crop management question can’t be found at one level, there’s another level to go to. This structure gives Hipsag – and all Federated Agronomists – “more resources to turn to,” he said, adding that “the same goes for the customer.”

In true Minnesota fashion, Hipsag likes to fish, hunt, and watch Vikings football games (though maybe not so much recently) when agronomy business isn’t pressing. He’ll gladly take 2019 crop management questions today. Contact Brad or your local Federated Agronomist.
2018-19 hourglass
2018 Turned Out to Be a Good Year

“We are thankful for the way the year turned out,” said Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager. “At the end of April, it didn’t look too optimistic.”

With record cold in April and record warmth in May, Minnesota and Wisconsin growers learned how averages come to be – right between the two extremes. Working through those challenges is difficult, Carlson observed, “and we know that . . . we are here to help you manage through the challenges of the extremes.”

Most of Federated’s service areas ended 2018 with an average to above-average corn crop, and it was the same with beans, depending upon the rainfall. Timely rain in late July and August helped improve yields in some of the areas, but precipitation was highly variable. “The GDUs were there, but the rain made the difference, whether it came in a timely fashion or not, and at what intensity,” Carlson said.

The intensity of the rainfall adversely affected some crops. “Again, there lie the averages. It can look like you received plenty of rainfall, but it didn’t help the crops because of the intensity,” he said.

And so, looking to next year, Carlson said he is optimistic. Grain prices recovered from fall lows, “and hopefully they will continue to recover, especially on corn, and soybeans too.”

At the end of a mostly good season, it’s important to remember “bushels matter,” said Carlson, and “we are here to help you generate more bushels . . . more bushels at a better cost . . . better bushels.”

It’s no easy task, Carlson admitted, but Federated is here to help all their growers get a better return on investments. Contact your Federated Agronomist to discuss ways to get more bushels in 2019.