"Cooperatives Commit: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion"
This fall, I am reminded of all the blessings we have, from the bounty of the up-coming harvest to the freedoms that have enriched this country and the privilege to serve our customers daily. 2020 certainly has not been a typical year as we still struggle with the events brought on by the coronavirus. But, even in this pandemic, we have seen people coming together to help the less fortunate. We salute the essential workers; the farmers, cooperative employees, truckers, medical professionals, police, first responders, and our grocery store workers. Thank you for all you do.
Every October, we celebrate Cooperative Month around the world. This year’s theme, “Cooperatives Commit: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” is evident in several ways here at United Cooperative. These three words have received extra attention over the last few years in many different business circles. The reality is these words have been a compelling force for our cooperative system since our inception. We cherish the broad base of customers we serve, the differences they represent and the fair and equitable way we can go to market to meet their demands.
When I think of diversity and inclusion, I think about the seven cooperative principles; specifically, open and voluntary membership, democratic member control, and autonomy and independence. At United Cooperative, we welcome a diversified membership, different farming practices and the independent spirit that has forged agriculture forward. That type of undertaking has prompted us to diversify our four core business units of agronomy, grain, feed and energy. But our diversity and inclusion always take us back to one voice and the commitment to make decisions on what is best for the majority of our members.
At United Cooperative, we find inclusion through the construction projects we facilitated in 2020. These projects bring all our members together by anticipating future needs, maintaining efficiencies and adding value to every ton, gallon or bushel we service. These upgrades are made possible by the communities, farmers and members who place their trust and loyalty in United Cooperative. Below are some of the major construction projects that are complete or being completed:
- Darlington: 5500-ton dry plant and tower, liquid plant, warehouse remodel and shop and wash bay addition.
- Belmont: added a second dryer, 113,000-bushel wet bin and load out.
- Westfield: liquid plant along with an office remodel.
- Boscobel: 1.2-million-bushel bin, 750,000-bushel bin and remodeling of the receiving pit.
- Wilton: feed bin expansion.
- Shawano: feed bin expansion.
- Prairie du Sac: 6,500-ton dry plant and tower.
The third word in the theme is equity. This month, I am proud to announce on behalf of United Cooperative an equity revolvement of more than $6.2 million of stock (all of year 2010 cooperative member stock), as well as the percentage of stock committed to be revolved per plan of merger agreements. In addition, United Cooperative paid over $1.2 million in member requests for those older than 77 and estate settlements. All totaled, United Cooperative will have paid its members over $7.5 million in cash for stock revolvement in 2020.
This equity revolvement is an ongoing commitment that United Cooperative makes to its members and is one unique deliverable of a member-owned cooperative. As you, your friends, and your neighbors purchase products and services from United Cooperative, your cooperative generates a profit. Profit is needed to re-invest in your cooperative as well as continue these types of equity revolvements.
Thank you for your continued partnership with United Cooperative. We strive to uphold our brand promise of building on all available resources to create a positive customer experience while growing profits for members and the cooperative. We want our members to “Rely on Us” for high-quality employees, reliable products and exceptional service, all backed by up-to-date and efficient equipment and facilities that are strategically positioned for our members’ future needs.
Have a safe and productive harvest.
President and Chief Executive Officer