United Cooperative reports on 2017 results at annual meeting

On April 23, 2018, two hundred members and guests attended United Cooperative’s 82nd annual meeting at the Watermark Community Center, Beaver Dam, Wis.

At the meeting, David Cramer, United Cooperative president and chief executive officer, reported revenues for 2017 were $647 million. United Cooperative’s core cooperative businesses of feed, grain, agronomy and energy generated $33 million in profits, up $8.5 million from 2016. The investment United Cooperative made in ethanol contributed $8.5 million to its net income in 2017, down from the $13.8 million this investment returned the year before. Patronage from regional cooperatives was down .6 million from 2016, at $5.4 million dollars. All combined, United Cooperative had a total net income before income taxes in 2017 of $48.5 million dollars, up $3 million from 2016.

With those profitable numbers, United Cooperative is returning $30.1 million in total patronage to members. Forty percent of this patronage, or $12 million, will be distributed in cash to United Cooperative’s patron member owners in April, while 60%, or $18.1 million, will be retained in equity credits. In addition, the cooperative plans to continue to revolve stock in October, retire stock at age 77 and pay all estates as requested.

“In 2017 United Cooperative focused its resources on investing in assets for the cooperative, in Wisconsin communities and in our cooperative people, while returning value to members in the form of stock revolvement and patronage refunds,” said David Cramer, President and CEO. “Despite a challenging year at the farm-gate, United Cooperative continues to be well-positioned financially to continue those investments into 2018,” he said.

United Cooperative invested in several construction projects during 2017 that added value to grain storage and market opportunities, animal feed manufacturing, seed and agronomic products and services and energy resources. In Agronomy, a new seed warehouse was built at South Beaver Dam, while a new office and warehouse were added at Coleman. Organic crop nutrients products were made available at the Westfield location as producers are diversifying and finding new income streams in high-value, organically grown crops. And nutrient management planning and consulting services for producers were expanded. 

Several enhancements were made to the cooperative's grain facilities to improve market access. The largest project was the expansion of the Oshkosh location with the addition of two, 1.2-million-bushel grain storage bins with 40,000-bushel-per-hour receiving, and 7,000-bushel-per-hour drying capacity. At the Shawano grain facility, a 500,000-bushel grain storage bin and a 4,750-bushel-per-hour dryer were added. Additionally, United Cooperative installed 4,750-bushel-per-hour dryers at Horicon, Ripon North and Sauk City, and a rail scale at Oconto Falls. Upgrading feed facilities continued in 2017 with the completion of the Shawano feed mill. The cooperative also built a warehouse where the old mill was demolished. 

United Cooperative recognizes the importance of giving back and invests in many non-profit organizations throughout the year. Total giving to initiatives in rural health and safety; agricultural youth; and food and nutrition resources reached $124,500 in 2017.

In 2017, 51 high school and college students were awarded a $1,000 United Cooperative scholarship, bringing the total number of students supported through this program to 268 over the last nine years since the program's inception.

Twenty-seven United Cooperative employees embarked on an 18-month United Cooperative University program for managers and mid-level managers, with much of the schooling being attended in 2017. By providing this in-house program, United Cooperative is developing its employee talent to prepare them for management careers at the cooperative for years to come. 

Nominating Committee Chair Steve Knoebel reviewed election results. This year, United Cooperative had three incumbent directors seeking re-election from each of the three district areas (northern, central and southern). Greg Tauchen, Bonduel, Northern District, Robin Craker, Reedsburg, Central District, and Anthony Schadt, Watertown, Southern District, were elected to three-year terms. 

Thirty-eight employees were recognized by Cramer for their years of outstanding service with United Cooperative. They represented 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 40 years of service. In addition, 12 retirees were honored for their dedication to United Cooperative.


United Cooperative Years of Service employee awards

40 years

Steven Bougie​, United Cooperative,Pulaski auto

Matthew Grueb​, United Cooperative, Shawano feed

Larry Strauss​, United Cooperative, Watertown energy


30 years

Dennis Klumpers​, United Cooperative, Pickett agronomy

Connie Zernicke​, United Cooperative,Shawano feed

25 years

Susan Backhaus​, United Cooperative, Beaver Dam office

Linda Branish​, United Cooperative, Poynette convenience store

Scott Gwidt​, United Cooperative, Pulaski agronomy

Kate Ott​, United Cooperative, Hillsboro feed

John Reuter​, United Cooperative, Reedsburg agronomy

Sally Shoemaker​, United Cooperative, Beaver Dam office

Gerald Warmka​, United Cooperative, Hartford location

20 years

Brian Baehman​, United Cooperative, Greenville hardware

Karl Beth​, United Cooperative, Beaver Dam office

Harold Giddley​, United Cooperative,Denmark agronomy

Kenneth Grebel, United Cooperative, Beaver Dam energy

Scott Herring​, United Cooperative,Beaver Dam feed

Bradley Marthaler​, United Cooperative, Beaver Dam convenience store

Martin Mueller, United Cooperative, Hillsboro energy

15 years 

Thomas George​, United Cooperative, South Beaver Dam trucking

Emmett Hying​, United Cooperative, Deerfield agronomy

Benjamin Schuett​, United Cooperative, Hartford feed

Chad Smithyman​, United Cooperative, Hartford Ponderosa

Kevin Williams​, United Cooperative, South Beaver Dam agronomy


10 years

Jeffrey Bechler​, United Cooperative, Pickett agronomy

Daniel Brisky​, United Cooperative, Deerfield agronomy

Peter Clothier​, United Cooperative, Prairie du Sac agronomy

Robert Hoffmeister​, United Cooperative, Reedsburg energy

Pamela Koenig​, United Cooperative, Reedsburg agronomy

Elizabeth Lenz​, United Cooperative, Hartford Ponderosa

Mark Meagher​, United Cooperative,Beaver Dam feed

Stanley Mueller​, United Cooperative,Sauk City feed

Kristi Phephles​, United Cooperative, Hillsboro agronomy

Adam Schaalma​, United Cooperative,Beaver Dam Ponderosa

Daniel Schnell​, United Cooperative, Shawano feed

Gary Strube​, United Cooperative, Ripon grain

Gregory Wilson​, United Cooperative,Pulaski shop

Lisa Woodley​, United Cooperative,Beaver Dam office

United Cooperative retirees recognized

Michael Cleaver, United Cooperative, Hillsboro grain

Gerald Ewald, United Cooperative, Auroraville South

Roger Hanefeld, United Cooperative, South Beaver Dam trucking

Daniel Resac, United Cooperative, Hillsboro warehouse

James Reider, United Cooperative, Beaver Dam energy

Gary Richmond, United Cooperative, Sauk City feed

Steven Root, United Cooperative, Denmark feed

Mark Schleiss, United Cooperative, Greenville office

Ronald Schultz, United Cooperative, Hillsboro grain

Steven Servais, United Cooperative, Denmark feed

Nancy Stangel, United Cooperative, Denmark office

​Connie Tellock, United Cooperative, Greenville office

Joretta Weber, United Cooperative, Hillsboro grain