The following information is provided by Nationwide®, the #1 farm and ranch insurer in the U.S.* June is National Safety Month and we want to recognize the volunteer firefighters who keep our rural communities safe and partners like Nationwide who support them with training and resources.
Dan Neenan became a volunteer firefighter in 1991 and quickly saw something that would become a huge part of his career. First responders in small towns like his often didn’t have the training and equipment they needed to save lives on the farm.
So he set out to change that. Now more than 30 years later, Neenan embodies how and why to be a volunteer firefighter. He’s a paramedic specialist and firefighter II with the Epworth and Centralia/Peosta, Iowa, fire departments. He’s also the director of the National Educational Center for Ag Safety (NECAS) that provides valuable resources like grain bin rescue tubes to rural first responders. And through a close partnership with Nationwide, he’s been able to deliver what he saw lacking when he first started fighting fires and saving lives.
Hands-on training for firefighters and farmers
A huge part of Neenan’s work at NECAS is providing training for rural firefighters and farmers. Much of his instruction is hands-on and involves simulating some of the most hazardous working conditions and settings on and around farms.
“We develop hands-on training programs like our grain bin safety training that involves a state-of-the-art grain entrapment simulator to conduct entrapment and rescue simulations. Farmers and firefighters are alike in that they don’t want to sit and listen to somebody talk for 8 hours,” Neenan said. “They want to go out and get their hands dirty. And do something.”
What Neenan’s work means to farm communities
In the almost 20 years since beginning these programs and simulators, Neenan said it’s not always easy to gauge his success. But with around 10,000 first responders having completed training, it’s clear he’s leading a team that’s making a big difference. And saving lives.
“From the safety side, it’s really hard to count an incident that didn’t happen,” he said. “From the rescue side, it’s a different story. Thirty-two departments have completed our grain bin safety training and have gone on to rescue someone in a bin.”
Neenan has led lifesaving efforts. But he’s quick to point out he’s no hero. To him, he’s just one member of a larger team — including Nationwide — who has made a lifesaving difference in farm towns around the country. It’s part of why he is a volunteer firefighter.
“If you look at the partnership we have with Nationwide and all the partners who have come together to donate or help make something like Grain Bin Safety Week happen, do I play a part in it? Yes. Am I the only reason? I don’t think so,” Neenan said. “It takes a team to do that. Just like a fire department.”
Visit AgInsightCenter.com for expert tips and information from Nationwide for your farm or ranch.
CHS monitors energy, fertilizer and grain market dynamics to help cooperatives, retailers and the farmers they serve navigate even the most challenging market conditions for the crop inputs to raise healthy, profitable crops. Check out our latest Markets in Review.
Spring is right around the corner, meaning planting will be top of mind for growers across the U.S. As the season changes, and excitement builds, it is important to remember these tips to ensure an effective and, most importantly, safe planting season.
1. Perform Equipment Checks
Ensuring all equipment is clean, safe, and ready to go for planting is an important first step. Before using any equipment, a safety check should be performed, and all technology updated.
Safety and equipment checks should include:
Ensure all lights and signals are working properly.
Inspect and replace parts as needed by starting equipment and ensuring it’s running properly.
Check tire pressure and tread wear, and confirm lug nuts are tightened
Make sure all equipment, including nozzles, is clean issues like grease, oil, debris, and rodent nests.
Check the quality and levels of fluids, including oil and fuel
Conducting these checks helps to prevent unnecessary delays due to malfunctioning equipment or technology.
2. Check and Follow Labels
There is a reason companies regularly repeat the phrase, “Always read and follow the label’s instructions.” Applying products like herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, seed treatments and fertilizer incorrectly, or using an expired product, can have harmful effects not only on your crops but on your health. Before applying or handling a product, always check the label and follow it exactly.
3. Wear the Right Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Before applying or handling any chemicals, it is important to check to be sure proper PPE is available, well fitted and functions properly. Do not overlook cautionary statements. Always protect your skin, eyes and lungs with proper PPE which may include long sleeves, gloves, masks and eyewear. Always have first aid available in case of accidents.
4. Take care of your body: sleep & eat right
Planting can be a stressful and hectic time, so it is important to ensure your body is being taken care of. While it is important to get the crop planted in a timely fashion, not getting enough sleep or eating good food can have a long-term impact on health. During planting, make sure to prioritize quality sleep and eat healthy meals and snacks throughout the day.
5. Ask for help
There is no shame in asking for help. In fact, great things can come from it! Whether it is holding a flashlight to help fix a part, lifting a heavy item or confirming a confusing detail, asking for help will almost always save time in the long run. Before planting begins, determine who is available to help at planting. Make a schedule and use it to help make sure everyone knows who and where everyone is. Have important phone numbers and contacts saved and easily accessible.
It is also encouraged to check in on friends and family to see how planting is going for them and offering encouragement or identifying resources when needed. Planting can be stressful and showing support for friends and neighbors can mean a lot.
6. Have a plan and communicate it
Taking time to prepare for a safe planting season and reviewing the plan early and often with your team is a great way to maximize efficiency during planting. It’s also important to note important details that happened so you can refer to them throughout the season and when preparing for the next growing season.
For more information or support for the upcoming growing season, contact your CHS agronomy sales representative.
Zero lives lost: That’s the goal of Nationwide’s Grain Bin Safety Week program (Feb. 20-26) and Think Grain Bin Safety campaign. They reflect Nationwide’s passion for agriculture and leadership position as the nation’s number-one farm insurer.
With the Think Grain Bin Safety campaign and Grain Bin Safety Week program, we’re raising the bar for safety action and awareness this year. And CHS members and leaders can support the effort through financial contributions and community involvement.
“Grain bin safety is a lot more than just a campaign to us at Nationwide,” said Nationwide Agribusiness President Brad Liggett. “It’s something we’re passionate about year-round, and part of our commitment to the health, safety and success of our farm customers.”
Why grain bin safety outreach is so important
The ninth annual Grain Bin Safety Week program kicked off January 1 and runs through the end of April. It culminates with a contest in late April that awards nominated rural fire departments with grain rescue tubes and training.
Since 2007, there have been more than 475 documented grain bin entrapments in the U.S. Since its inception, the Grain Bin Safety Week program has awarded 207 rescue tubes in 31 states. The program has helped save five lives that would have been lost without the vital equipment and training.
While the distribution of rescue tubes is a key part of the program, Nationwide leads the effort to promote awareness to prevent grain bin entry and entrapments altogether.
3 reasons to lead grain bin safety efforts in your community
Grain Bin Safety Week and the Think Grain Bin Safety campaign depend on local community involvement. Beyond raising general awareness, there are three main reasons for CHS members to get involved:
Avoid grain bin entry. Create a “zero lives lost” mentality by prioritizing safety whenever working in or around grain bins or preventing bin entry whenever possible.
Become a grain bin safety advocate. Share critical grain bin safety information with friends, family and community members.
Prepare first responders. Nominate your local fire department to receive a grain rescue tube and necessary training as part of the Grain Bin Safety Week contest.
“We don’t want to just talk about grain bin safety. We want to raise awareness about how to save lives and equip our rural communities with the tools and training they need to make it happen,” Liggett said. “Grain bin safety is so important to us at Nationwide because we recognize the extreme hazards of working in grain bins. And we want to ensure our customers and all farmers are safe and return home at the end of every day working on the farm.”
How to get started
Start raising grain bin safety awareness in your community at Thinkgrainbinsafety.com. There, you’ll find articles, videos and other tools and resources to start the conversation with customers, other farmers and members of your community.
Grain Bin Safety Week is Feb. 20 – 26, 2022; Since 2014, Nationwide has supplied 207 grain rescue tubes and training to fire departments across 31 states.
For rural Americans, seeing grain bins dot the landscape is often an everyday occurrence. However, these storage structures pose very serious and threatening dangers to agriculture workers if proper health and safety procedures aren’t followed. In just 20 seconds, a farmer can sink in the quicksand-like flow of grain and become fully entrapped with little hope for survival. Such accidents have resulted in 81 deaths over the past five years.
The annual advocacy campaign aims to deliver critical education and resources to agricultural professionals while also supplying life-saving rescue equipment and training to rural fire departments, who are often the first and only line of defense when an entrapment occurs. Nominations for this year’s Nominate Your Fire Department Contest are open until April 30.
”Nationwide has been deeply rooted in agriculture since the company’s founding by the Ohio Farm Bureau and our commitment to protecting America’s producers continues to fuel our work today,” said Brad Liggett, president of Agribusiness at Nationwide. “Grain Bin Safety Week is one of many efforts in place to help address the dangers they face. These accidents send shockwaves through rural communities each year, and the reality is, they are often preventable. We are proud to continue to grow Grain Bin Safety Week and bring on new partners in our mission to end this industry issue.”
This year, Grain Bin Safety Week runs from Feb. 20 – 26 and has been officially recognized by the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Since initiating its Grain Bin Safety advocacy campaign in 2014, Nationwide has supplied grain rescue tubes and training to 207 fire departments in 31 states. At least five successful rescues have taken place using the resources provided through the program, including a recent July 2021 rescue in northwest Kansas.
Injuries & Fatalities: The Startling Facts
Suffocation from engulfment or oxygen-deficient atmospheres is the leading cause of death in grain accidents.
In four seconds, an adult can sink knee-deep in flowing grain and be rendered unable to free themselves without help.
More than 150 grain entrapments have been recorded in the past five years. It’s estimated an additional 30% of cases go unreported.
In 2020, there were 35 grain entrapment cases resulting in 20 fatalities.
Sources: 2020 Summary of U.S. Agricultural Confined Space-Related Injuries and Fatalities and United Press International
To help prevent further deaths and injuries, Nationwide collaborates each year with the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) to provide safety training. NECAS instructors travel to training locations with state-of-the-art grain entrapment simulators and rescue tubes. The comprehensive training sessions include classroom education and rescue simulations using the entrapment tools, which are loaded onto 20-foot trailers and able to hold about 100 bushels of grain each.
“NECAS is proud to partner with Nationwide on its Grain Bin Safety advocacy initiative to share resources and education with farmers about the hazards of entering grain bins and employing a zero-entry mentality whenever possible,” said Dan Neenan, director at NECAS. “It’s also critically important to continue the hard work in getting rural fire departments the equipment and training they need to respond quickly in an entrapment scenario.”
Higher margins across CHS Ag sector businesses resulted from strong global market conditions and robust demand for crop nutrients and other agronomy products, grains and oilseeds, soyoil and soymeal.
Strong global demand and improved supply chain efficiency generated $452.0 million in Fiscal 2022 first quarter net income
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading agribusiness cooperative, today released results for its first quarter ended Nov. 30, 2021. The company reported record quarterly net income of $452.0 million compared to $69.7 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2021. The significant improvement in earnings was largely driven by strong global demand across key businesses compared with lower demand during the same period a year ago as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fiscal 2022 first quarter highlights include:
The Ag segment experienced robust global demand that drove commodity prices higher leading to a significant improvement in earnings compared to the same period during the prior year.
Strong demand and global market forces in the agronomy business resulted in improved earnings compared to the first quarter of 2021.
Refining margins were higher in our Energy segment and we also experienced more favorable pricing for Canadian crude oil which is processed by our refineries.
Equity earnings from the company’s CF Nitrogen investment improved as a result of increased urea and urea ammonium nitrate pricing due to favorable market conditions.
“Our exceptionally strong financial performance in the first quarter of fiscal year 2022 reflects the support of local cooperatives and producers, as well as the hard work and dedication of our employees around the world, who remain focused on delivering superior value for our owners. That support and hard work, along with the investments we continue to make in critical assets and technology advancements are leading to operational improvements and stronger customer engagement, which are driving earnings momentum,” said Jay Debertin, president and CEO of CHS Inc.
“Our Energy segment continues to see both margin and volume expansion driven by increased global demand. I remain positive for the year ahead as we continue to improve the customer experience and create efficiency gains throughout our expansive network, all of which is leading to increased market access, added value and sustainable growth for our local cooperative and farmer owners.”
Pretax earnings of $69.2 million represent a $136.4 million increase versus the same period a year ago and reflect:
Improved market conditions in our refined fuels business led to increased earnings, driven by higher refining margins and more favorable pricing of heavy Canadian crude oil processed by our two CHS refineries.
Higher refining margins were partially offset by the higher cost of renewable energy credits compared to a year ago. Additionally, lower propane margins due to the reversal of unrealized hedging gains also impacted the first quarter of fiscal 2022.
Pretax earnings of $286.4 million represent a $203.4 million increase versus the same period a year ago and reflect:
Higher margins across all our Ag segment businesses resulted from strong global market conditions and robust demand for agronomy products, grains and oilseeds, soyoil and soymeal.
Lower volumes in the quarter were attributable to a smaller overall wheat crop due to drought conditions in some parts of the United States and the impact from Hurricane Ida on the Gulf Coast.
Pretax earnings of $96.6 million represents a $92.1 million increase versus the same period a year ago and reflect:
Higher equity method income attributed to strong demand and increased prices of urea and urea ammonium nitrate which are produced and sold by CF Nitrogen.
Corporate and Other
Pretax earnings of $14.5 million represent a $10.3 million decrease versus the same period a year ago and reflect:
Lower equity income from our investment in Ventura Foods, which experienced less favorable market conditions for edible oils.
This document and other CHS Inc. publicly available documents contain, and CHS officers and representatives may from time to time make, “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “goal,” “seek,” “believe,” “project,” “estimate,” “expect,” “strategy,” “future,” “likely,” “may,” “should,” “will” and similar references to future periods. Forward-looking statements are neither historical facts nor assurances of future performance. Instead, they are based only on CHS current beliefs, expectations and assumptions regarding the future of its businesses, financial condition and results of operations, future plans and strategies, projections, anticipated events and trends, the economy and other future conditions. Because forward-looking statements relate to the future, they are subject to inherent uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict and many of which are outside of CHS control. CHS actual results and financial condition may differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. Therefore, you should not place undue reliance on any of these forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause CHS actual results and financial condition to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements are discussed or identified in CHS filings made with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the “Risk Factors” discussion in Item 1A of CHS Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2021. These factors may include: changes in commodity prices; the impact of government policies, mandates, regulations and trade agreements; global and regional political, economic, legal and other risks of doing business globally; the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak or other similar outbreaks; the impact of market acceptance of alternatives to refined petroleum products; consolidation among our suppliers and customers; nonperformance by contractual counterparties; changes in federal income tax laws or our tax status; the impact of compliance or noncompliance with applicable laws and regulations; the impact of any governmental investigations; the impact of environmental liabilities and litigation; actual or perceived quality, safety or health risks associated with our products; the impact of seasonality; the effectiveness of our risk management strategies; business interruptions and casualty losses; the impact of workforce factors; our funding needs and financing sources; financial institutions’ and other capital sources’ policies concerning energy-related businesses; uncertainty regarding the transition away from LIBOR and the replacement of LIBOR with an alternative reference rate; technological improvements that decrease the demand for our agronomy and energy products; our ability to complete, integrate and benefit from acquisitions, strategic alliances, joint ventures, divestitures and other nonordinary course-of-business events; security breaches or other disruptions to our information technology systems or assets; the impact of our environmental, social and governance practices; the impairment of long-lived assets; and other factors affecting our businesses generally. Any forward-looking statements made by CHS in this document are based only on information currently available to CHS and speak only as of the date on which the statement is made. CHS undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise except as required by applicable law.
GROWMARK and CHS today announced the formation of Cooperative Ventures, a new capital fund that will focus on creating advancements in breakthrough technologies for the agriculture industry. The fund will provide differentiated value to startups in the agricultural ecosystem by leveraging the expansive, connected networks, unparalleled access to the farmgate and proven success of the two agricultural cooperatives. Both companies will be equal partners in the $50 million fund, which will be established as its own separate legal entity.
The combined markets of the two companies cover millions of acres and thousands of farmers that will create an industry-leading test field for products and services within North America. The fund has identified three core investment areas, or “Fields of Play,” to maximize the impact of each investment: crop production, supply chain, and sustainability.
“This is a terrific opportunity to act cooperatively by working together on a venture meaningful to agriculture and our corresponding supply chains,” said GROWMARK CEO Jim Spradlin. “Both GROWMARK and CHS have trusted relationships and expertise within our networks, which will provide tremendous value for technology startups and ultimately benefit our respective customers. This is a natural evolution of GROWMARK’s AgValidity trial and testing program.”
“This partnership will help accelerate technology solutions to existing and emerging challenges in agriculture and is yet another way CHS creates connections to empower agriculture,” said Jay Debertin, president and CEO of CHS Inc. “Our ongoing commitment to investment in growth and innovation for the benefit of CHS owners and the cooperative system further places CHS and GROWMARK at the forefront of cutting-edge technology solutions by leveraging our deep expertise and strong connections with farmer-owners.”
GROWMARK and CHS will provide tech startups unprecedented access to robust distribution capabilities within multiple value chains, allowing for opportunities to test and refine at different scales. Having cooperative member-owners and customers within the same ecosystem will take these innovative ideas to a new level to create shareholder value and customer-focused solutions.
Special attention will be paid to the startup’s strategic fit with both GROWMARK and CHS. Other factors will be based on their drive to lead in the startup space, the ability to deliver value and quality, the experience of management, and ultimately the ability to take a product or service to market. Cooperative Ventures will be comprised of teams based out of Bloomington, Illinois, and St. Paul, Minnesota.
GROWMARK is an agricultural cooperative serving almost 400,000 customers across North America, providing agronomy, energy, facility engineering and construction, and logistics products and services, as well as grain marketing and risk management services. Headquartered in Bloomington, Illinois, GROWMARK owns the FS trademark, which is used by its member cooperatives. GROWMARK also owns and operates SEEDWAY, the largest full-line seed company in the United States. More information is available at growmark.com.
31% increase in net income over prior fiscal year; Strong global demand for grains and oilseeds drive results
CHS Inc. reported net income of $554.0 million for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2021, reflecting an increase of 31% or $131.5 million compared to fiscal year 2020.
Key financial drivers for fiscal year 2021 include:
Consolidated revenues of $38.4 billion for fiscal year 2021 compared to $28.4 billion for fiscal year 2020, a year-over-year increase of 35%.
Significantly improved earnings across our Ag segment compared to the prior year driven by strong global demand for grains and oilseeds which drove commodity prices higher and a full year of improved trade relations between the United States and foreign trade partners.
Equity earnings from investments, particularly from CF Nitrogen and Ventura Foods, were a significant source of earnings during fiscal year 2021.
While improved refining margins in our refined fuels business resulted in increased margins as demand shocks from the COVID-19 pandemic began to subside, the resulting margin improvements were more than offset by exceptionally high costs for renewable energy credits and less favorable pricing on heavy Canadian crude oil processed by our refineries, resulting in lower earnings.
October is National Co-op Month and a time to celebrate the cooperative model and the strength it brings to local communities.
“CHS is proud to be part of the cooperative system and we’re driven by our purpose to create connections to empower agriculture,” says Jay Debertin, CHS president and CEO. “Our values of inclusion, integrity, cooperative spirit and safety guide us as we work together for shared success and to strengthen our communities.”
Do you know what a co-op is? Here we break it down.
What is a cooperative? A cooperative is defined by USDA as a user-owned and controlled business from which benefits are derived and distributed equitably on the basis of use or as a business owned and controlled by the people who use its services.
Who determines policy? The CHS Board is made up of 17 member-owners, elected by the members.
How are profits distributed? The business is operated for a profit; it’s how the profit is divided that makes a co-op unique. Unlike most corporations where the profits are distributed to stockholders, co-ops distribute profits to member-owners on a patronage basis. Patronage is a method of sharing profits among the members. It is based on how much they purchase and the profitability of the co-op.
What kind of co-op system is CHS? CHS is a blended federated and centralized cooperative system. CHS is unique in that along with the federated system of member cooperatives, we also have Country Operations, made up of centralized retail locations dedicated to serve member-owners in their respective geographies. Along with member cooperatives, those member-owners of Country Operations locations vote for board members at the CHS annual meeting or are represented by delegates from their business unit at the annual meeting.
Help us celebrate National Co-op Month by joining the conversation on social media using #CoopMonth.
Fertilizer has been a hot topic for nearly a year. Last fall it all started as grain prices soared putting pressure on an already stressed supply chain. On top of that, last fall, an import duty was placed on phosphate products from multiple countries causing the domestic price of all phosphate-based products to skyrocket seemingly overnight. Next comes spring with the largest amount of optimism we have had in agriculture in several years. With optimism comes increased utilization of fertilizers, simple economics tell us that increased demand equates to increased prices. All these outside pressures affected prices for products bought in season this crop year. However, fortunately putting on fall fertilizer and prepaying early for spring products paid off massively this year. The last pressure on the market that really needs to be discussed is the potential duties on nitrogen.
Much like the duties we saw put on phosphates last fall (finalized last winter) there may be some duties on UAN from Russia and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. The claim is that product from Russia and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago have hurt the US market by “dumping” product into the market to force prices down. These claims will go through a series of court hearings to see if there is validity to the claims. Weather or not these claims hold up in court, the uncertainty is being priced into the market. This claim is on UAN but that ultimately affects all nitrogen sources (UAN, Urea, Anhydrous ammonia). If you have more questions on these petitions filed, please reach out to your CHS agronomist.
With all the above pressures still impacting the fertilizer market today, locking in your fertilizer input needs early again and putting as much as possible down in the fall is looking to be the best option. Quite frankly there is some serious sticker shock when you are looking at fertilizer prices for this fall and coming spring compared to what you paid last fall and winter. This should not come as a surprise with the gain in the grain markets as well. I encourage you to sit down with your agronomists and do the math on the bushels of crop needed to cover the fertilizer bill for your crops individually. Even with the increase in prices, in most cases the actual bushels needed to pay for the fertilizer is similar to last year.
Overall, the fertilizer market is incredibly strong, much like the rain markets. Again, I encourage you to sit down and make a plan with your agronomist to get as much as possible out this fall as spring prices are likely going to be significantly higher than fall for P and K. Also, take a few minutes and read the article (linked below) about Levesol products and specifically Trivar for broadcast applications. With the investment you will be making on your farm for fertilizer, specifically phosphorus lets make sure it is protected and able to be utilized by the next crop. We have seen some incredible yield advantages with these products in both high and low yield environments. Talk to your agronomist to find out more on which of the Levesol products would work best for your operation.
Thank you for your continued support and business!