Bylaw Change Approved, Directors Re-elected and Appointed to New Districts

At the GGC Annual meeting, members overwhelmingly approved bylaw changes to reduce the number of directors from 15 to 9 (through attrition) and the number of districts from 5 to three. Members also re-elected: David Benedict, Matthew Hasbargen, Nicolas Pyle, Byron Koehl, and Brett Johnson.

At their reorganization meeting, the Board re-elected the following Board members to serve on the Executive Committee:

Chair of the Board – Mark Harless; 1st Vice Chair – Nicolas Pyle; 2nd Vice Chair – Shaun Beauclair; Secretary  – Matthew Hasbargen; and Treasurer – Les Nesvig.

The Board also approved a resolution to define the three district boundaries and appoint Directors to each district and as At-Large Directors.

Below is a map of newly defined GGC districts, a description of each district, and the Directors appointed.

Districts are now defined as follow:

North District – includes all counties in North Dakota except Cass, Dickey, LaMoure, Ransom, Richland, and Sargent AND the counties of Clay, Becker, Wadena, Cass, Crow Wing, Aitkin, and Carleton and all counties North in Minnesota.

Central District – includes the counties of Cass and Richland in North Dakota and the county of Wilkin in Minnesota.

South District – includes the counties in North Dakota not included in the North and Central Districts; the counties in Minnesota not included in the North or Central Districts; AND all counties in South Dakota. The South District will also include all members who live outside of the states of ND, SD and MN.

Director Appointments

Serving the North District: Shaun Beauclair, Glenn Johnson, David Benedict and Mark Harless; Serving the Central District: Chris Johnson; Butch Jirak; Nicolas Pyle, and Brett Johnson. Serving the South District: Bruce Speich, Leslie Nesvig, Larry Vipond and Richard Bot. Serving At-Large: Byron Koehl, Matthew Hasbargen, and Scott Jetvig.

 

‘Change is Inevitable’ – Chairman’s Annual Report

Chairman Mark Harless opened his remarks by outlining the proposed bylaw amendment and concluded, “In 2009, Golden Growers changed to a MN 308B Cooperative. Members voted to amend our bylaws to accommodate that change. On the ten-year anniversary of that vote, we ask for your support again to amend and update our bylaws.”

Highlighting changes in the corn milling industry, Harless noted that Ingredion closed their Stockton, CA plant citing lower sweetener demand and higher manufacturing costs. “It’s no secret that domestic consumption of HFCS continues to decline. Corn refiners have managed this decline in a variety of ways.” Exports (primarily to Mexico), plant closures, swinging production to ethanol, and using corn sweetener or starch as the feedstock to make other products, have all played a part. “Corn refiners continue to push forward with research to expand these non-sweetener uses,” said Harless.

This summer, several board members toured Cargill’s Blair, NE bio-refinery campus where the refinery supplies feedstock to a growing number of co-located companies to include Natureworks, Novozymes, Corbion, Evonic, and Evolva. “Cargill’s Blair campus is a prime example of how the industry is transitioning away from HFCS production toward innovative products fermented from corn sweetener and starch.”

Harless pivoted to discuss plans to maintain the ProGold plant. He reminded members of the $750,000 annual contribution toward maintaining infrastructure like painting structural steel, repairing roofs, and improving floor coverings. “ProGold is also responsible for major capital improvements that are important to the profitability of the plant AND its long term condition.” He reported that the ProGold board voted to move forward with the replacement of the Distributive Control System (DCS) which functions as the nerve center to control functions throughout the plant. He noted that the legacy vendor is discontinuing support for the 24 year-old system. “This means it will become obsolete very soon. Our plan is to complete replacement of roughly half of the system during the current lease,” stated Harless. Golden Growers present and future reserves are expected to be sufficient to handle these expense and allow for regular distributions to members, he concluded.

 

Cargill’s Ryan Sirolli Describes Strategy for Sustainability.

Ryan Sirolli, Cargill’s Global Row Crop Sustainability Director, explained why sustainability is one of the major trends impacting the food industry. “Companies like McDonalds, MARS, Pepsico, General Mills, and Unilever have made commitments to achieve carbon intensity reductions in their supply chain from 20% to 50%.”

Cargill is consistently working to achieve GHG reductions within operations through improvements in equipment efficiency and updates as well as changing energy sources such as wind power and natural gas. However, while Cargill will continue to focus on its own operations, there are significantly larger opportunities to reduce GHG emissions, “Within our own supply chain, one of the largest areas of opportunity to achieve these goals is within crop production.” According to Sirolli, Cargill is in the process of rebuilding its sustainability model to show value for all of their enterprises.

“We see farmers investing in these improvements, but we need to fully quantify the impact and make the focus ‘farmer centric’”. Sirolli stated farmers understand issues of soil health. Improving soil health is recognized to have long term benefits for farmers in regards to productivity and economics while delivering positive environmental benefits of reduced greenhouse gas emissions, improvements in water quality and greater water use efficiency that many downstream customers and consumers are looking for. There are often ‘up front’ costs to adoption of these beneficial practices, however. “Our goal would be to move from a transactional process to a system of support that achieves long-term gains.” Support could include agronomic and financial support to implement soil health practices and decision making.

While Cargill is in its initial stages of developing a new strategy, they intend for their approach to show benefit (and value) for growers and their customers. “The opportunity is to demonstrate mutual value and partner with our customers to support farmers along the way,” said Sirolli.

 

Remembering Harvey Pyle – Harless/Dillon Recall ‘One of the Giants’ of the GGC Board

Former Board Chair Harvey Pyle passed away February 28th. Harvey Pyle was elected on May 23rd, 1995 at the first GGC members meeting and served until March 2010. He was Chair of the Board from January 2008 until March of 2010. “Harvey was one of the ‘giants’ of our Board who served during our most difficult times and became Board Chair when we were able to see light at the other end of the tunnel,” recalled Harless. “He was one of my personal heroes,” stated former Executive VP Mark Dillon. “Harvey was a man of uncommon integrity and intelligence. I will always treasure his friendship and sage advice.” Our heartfelt sympathies go Havey’s wife Marlyce and the entire Pyle family.

 

Cargill’s Sustainability Director Featured at GGC Annual Meeting

Golden Growers is pleased to announce Ryan Sirolli as our annual meeting guest speaker. Ryan is the Global Row Crop Sustainability Director for Cargill. He is responsible for leading strategy development and implementation of row crop sustainability programs and initiatives across Cargill’s enterprises.

‘As the food and bio-industrial industries evolve, it is important to understand the opportunities and implications for growers. Understanding the role of sustainability and how ag can be a major part the solution to the changing food and bio-industrial landscape can lead to win-win-win opportunities.’ – Ryan Siroli.

Five District Directors to be Elected at March 29th Annual Meeting

At our Annual Meeting, Members have the opportunity to re-elect or elect Directors to serve on the GGC Board of Directors. Current directors up for re-election are: David Benedict, Sabin, MN (EC District); Matthew Hasbargen, Breckenridge, MN (NE District); Nicolas Pyle, Casselton, ND (NW District); Byron Koehl, Hancock, MN (SE District); and Brett Johnson, Mooreton, ND (SW District).

Any member in good standing is eligible to be nominated for the Board in the district where their membership is registered. If you are interested in serving on the Board and want to be listed on the ballot for your District, you must file a petition with signatures of at least 10 members from your District no later than five days in advance of the annual meeting. Candidates may be nominated from the floor, but their names will not appear on the ballot. For more information, visit www.goldengrowers.com or contact Scott Stofferahn, 701-281-0468 or scotts@goldengrowers.com.

Selling Units, Values, and Other Questions:

The following Answers are provided as a result of often asked questions by our members.


Question: Can I sell my membership units to anyone I choose?

Answer: Unless the person you are selling to is an immediate relative, the answer is NO. IRS regulations require that arms length transactions go through a Qualified Matching Service. So if you would like to sell your GGC Units outside of your immediate family, you must contact FNC Ag Stock, LLC (701-780-2828) and they will explain the listing process.

Question: Why do I need to complete delivery (pay agency fee or delivery bushels) prior to transferring my Units?

Answer: Board policy requires that deliveries for the year be completed prior to the transfer being approved. For Method A pool participants, bushels committed must be delivered to the plant before a transfer is approved. For Method B pool participants, the Agency fee of $0.02/bushel must be paid so that GGC can access and deliver those bushels on the member’s behalf before a transfer is approved.

Question: How do I know what my Membership Units are worth?

Answer: Golden Growers does not place a value on Units. When asked, we refer members to FNC Ag Stock’s website (www.fncagstock.com) to review recent sales. It is important to know that very few sales occur during any year.

Question: I want to change delivery from Method A to B (or Method B to A) during the year? Is this possible?

Answer: No. We provide members an opportunity each fall to change their delivery method for the coming year. Once the new year starts, members are committed to fulfill their delivery using the method selected.

GGC Issues Distribution Payment of $0.152/bushel

On February 1, 2019, after review of the 2018 end of year financial and income statements, the Board of Directors allocated income of $7,811,471 to the members of Golden Growers Cooperative. The Board also approved the retirement of a portion of allocated equity credit in an amount of $0.152 per patronized bushel for a total of $2,354,553.

Golden Growers K-1 Tax Forms

Golden Growers 2018 K-1 Partnership Tax Forms were placed in the mail on February 15th. Unlike 1099s, issuing K-1 tax forms requires Golden Growers to close the year, begin our annual audit, and complete our tax return. Because we understand the need to timely issue a K-1 for our farmer members, our K-1 is issued as soon as is humanly possible. Thank you for your patience.

If for some reason, you do not receive your K-1 tax form, give our office a call at 701-281-0468.

SAVE THE DATE: GGC Annual Meeting Set for Thursday, March 28th

Golden Growers Cooperative will hold its Annual Members Meeting on Thursday, March 28th at the Doubletree Conference Center, 825 E Beaton Drive, West Fargo, ND.

Members will have the opportunity to elect Directors to serve on the Golden Growers Board. Current directors up for re-election are: David Benedict, Sabin, MN (EC District); Matthew Hasbargen, Breckenridge, MN (NE District); Nicolas Pyle, Casselton, ND (NW District); Byron Koehl, Hancock, MN (SE District); and Brett Johnson, Mooreton, ND (SW District).

Any member in good standing is eligible to be nominated to the Board in the district where the member is registered. If you are interested in serving on the Board or want more information about district elections, visit our website at www.goldengrowers.com or contact us at 701-281-0468 or scotts@goldengrowers.com.

Members may also be voting on a Bylaw amendment that would reduce the number of directors and districts.