Monday, July 29, 2013

Garver retires after 31 years

By Kerry Watson, Director of Communications

It’s been fun. That’s how Murl Garver recently summed up his 31 years of service in the cooperative system. Co-workers and area farmers joined Murl for a celebratory retirement luncheon in his honor on Friday, July 26, in Abilene.

Originally from the Talmage area, Murl grew up helping his parents with their farming operation. Following high school, Murl attended Bethany College where he earned a degree in general business. He wanted to pursue a career in agriculture and hoped to do so in Dickinson County, close to home. When an opportunity to work in the elevator at Farmers Coop presented itself, Murl accepted. The position he accepted, however, wasn’t one in which he would apply his college education. He would get the chance a couple of years later when he assumed the responsibilities of office manager/controller, a position in which he held for 22 years.
When Farmers Coop merged with MKC in 2008, Murl’s skill set was utilized in different positions and at different locations, including the fuel department at
McPherson covering for a fellow employee on medical leave. "All of the positions had their own unique challenges and rewards," Murl said. "I especially liked the office work and working with numbers."

Murl doesn’t plan to venture away from agriculture during his retirement as he plans to do a little farming himself and work for an area farmer. MKC wishes him all the best!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Stockholders re-elect incumbents to board of directors

By Kerry Watson, Director of Communications

Nearly 750 members, guests and employees were in attendance at the 48th annual stockholders' meeting in Hutchinson on July 11. Re-elected by the membership to serve a three-year term on the board of directors were Cecil Wiebe, District 1; Jason Gaeddert, District 3; and Randy Ellwood, At Large. Wiebe will be serving his fourth term on the board and Gaeddert and Ellwood will be serving their third terms.

In addition to the elections, members of the board and management team reported on the cooperative's financial and operational performance for the past year. Board Chairman, CJ Blew, spoke of the strategic initiatives the directors and MKC has in place to insure the cooperative's relevance in the ag industry. Blew also spoke of the importance of being different or the first to perform or perfect things.

"It's not that MKC has re-invented the wheel," Blew said. "But I think we have re-invented what a co-op means in terms of value to a producer."

President and CEO, Dave Christiansen, spoke of the cooperative's vision. Christiansen also spoke of the momentum today's progressive producer is building and the strategic initiatives MKC has in place to keep pace with them.

Danny Posch, CFO, reviewed the co-op's financial performance, stating MKC ended the fiscal year with $14 million in overall net earnings. "Another profitable year for your organization," Posch stated.

Guest speaker, Paul Mobley, concluded the evening with a presentation of photographs of the American farmer and stories behind each photo.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Customer workshops prove successful; additional sessions scheduled

By Kerry Watson, Director of Communications

Providing customers the ability to do business online and on their time has been the premise behind a series of educational workshops that kicked off this past March. Craig Roebke, trainer for MKC, has been conducting the workshops, and is impressed with the outcome.

"We knew some of our customers were using only the basics of our online systems, and we knew we had some customers who had yet to try the systems," stated Roebke. "The training sessions are working. We’ve gained new users and existing members have become more efficient with the tools available to them."

According to Roebke, the workshops cover a number of tools and features available on the sites. Participants learn how to determine the amount of grain available for sale, view open contracts and how to utilize the offer contract system. In addition, they learn how to access detailed information including purchase history on products, invoices, and how to schedule payments online.

Roebke noted some customers avoided paying their bills online because they thought it would automatically become a monthly occurrence. "This feature actually gives customers the flexibility to schedule the payment when they want it to occur," said Roebke. "They can use the online bill payment system one month and not use it again for a couple of months if they choose. The customer controls their payment."

A number of workshops are scheduled to take place at MKC locations over the next several months. Information about the workshops and schedule is available through any MKC location.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sales staff recognized for certification

By Kerry Watson, Director of Communications
Kevin Snyder


The Kansas Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) board recently recognized 61 members for their 20, 15, 10 and 5-year anniversaries as a board certified CCA (Certified Crop Advisor). Among those recognized were MKC Field Marketers, Kevin Snyder and Brent Floerke. Snyder was recognized for five years and Floerke for ten years as a CCA.

The CCA program was established in 1992 to provide a benchmark for practicing agronomy professionals in the United States and Canada. The Kansas CCA is a professional certificate for agronomists throughout the state.

Brent Floerke

To become a CCA, individuals must pass both a state and international test and maintain certification through continuing education.

"Kansas CCA commends Kevin and Brent for their continued commitment to professionalism," said Steve Peterson, Kansas CCA Board Chairman. "Agriculture is changing too rapidly to not have the best experts (such as these two) in their field."

Friday, July 5, 2013

Construction to begin on grain facilities

By Kerry Watson, Director of Communications

Construction of two high-speed grain facilities is scheduled to start in early July following the completion of wheat harvest. Located in Rice and McPherson counties, both facilities will house a combined total of nearly 6 million bushels of grain.

MKC and CHS, Inc., an energy, grains and foods company, formed a limited liability company (LLC) to build and operate a high-speed shuttle loading facility to be located two miles west of Canton, Kan on Highway 56 in McPherson County.  Located on the Union Pacific rail line, it is estimated the grain shuttle will load out 15 to 20 million bushels of grain on an annual basis to export facilities in the Pacific Northwest, Gulf Coast and Mexico.

Proximity to Kansas Ethanol and membership growth in the area served as primary reasons for the site selected north of Lyons, Kan in Rice County. Dave Christiansen, MKC President and CEO, commented the co-op consulted with grain industry experts in selecting the site. "Grain production in the area, access to good roads and the location and condition of existing grain facilities were all factors in selecting a site for the Rice County project," Christiansen stated.

Both projects are expected to be completed before the 2014 fall harvest.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Annual meeting to feature award-winning photographer, Paul Mobley

By Kerry Watson, Director of Communications

The 48th annual meeting of MKC stockholders is scheduled for Thursday, July 11, and will be held at the Sunflower Building on the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson. Events will begin at 6:00 p.m. with a dinner followed by the business meeting to include election of board members. This year’s meeting will feature keynote speaker, Paul Mobley.

Mobley is an award-winning photographer who has traveled the world over to capture and celebrate humanity. Firmly grounded by his Midwestern roots, Mobley’s early training as a photographer began at Detroit’s Center for Creative Studies, and continued in the New York studios of such leading photographers as Annie Leibovitz, Steve Steigman, and David Langley, where he apprenticed for many years before embarking on his own career. Since then, Mobley has successfully worked with a broad range of corporate, advertising, and editorial clients including American Express, Sony, Max Factor, Microsoft and many others.

In 2005 Paul set out to capture the soul of rural America. Traveling across the country Mobley and his camera were welcomed time and again into the homes of over three hundred farm families, who graciously shared their personal histories and private thoughts, along with the fruits of their labor. Visit after visit, Mobley came to know the independent farmer's spirit from both behind the lens and across the dinner table. The result, American Farmer: The Heart of Our Country, won the 2009 Western Heritage award for "best photography book" from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

In Paul’s presentations, he shares photographs and tells the stories behind the pictures of America’s unsung heroes. From Walter Jackson, a 104-year-old Florida citrus farmer; to Patsy Fribley, a stockyard dealer from Montana; to Aaron Bell, a young 9th generation organic dairy farmer in Maine, Mobley's exquisite photographs and narrative reveal the true face of American farming and remind us what it means to live with simplicity, contentment, and decency in a world that so often forgets.