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Cooperative members again showed their strong support for AGP with approximately 1,000 people attending the Company’s 35th Annual Meeting held January 17 and 18 in Omaha, NE.
The theme of the Annual Meeting, “Vision Progress Results,” highlighted AGP’s ongoing direction, mission, and purpose. Keith Spackler, Chief Executive Officer, stated “Results are ultimately the measure of progress toward our vision. AGP reported very successful results in fiscal 2018 including numerous operational achievements, solid earnings, and continued capital investments for future growth opportunities.”
During the business meeting, members re-elected the following candidates to serve a three-year term as a member of the Board of Directors: Lowell Wilson, a producer from Primghar, IA; David L. Leiting, General Manager, Farmers Cooperative Elevator Company, Arcadia, IA; and Dean Isaacson, General Manager, Western Consolidated Cooperative, Holloway, MN.
“Vision Progress Results - the theme of this year’s Annual Report and Annual Meeting. What an appropriate and timely year to reflect on what these words mean to our Company and to us,” said Brad Davis, Board Chairman, in his remarks to the membership. “AGP has a successful vision that leads to ongoing progress for strong results now and into the future.” Among the highlights of fiscal 2018:
* Record cash patronage returned to cooperative owners.
* Record volume growth across all businesses.
* Record capital investment.
“These were all achieved while the Company maintained successful and safe operations each and every day,” said Chairman Davis. He thanked the member-owners for their support and employees for their dedication and teamwork in making the year a success.
Cal Meyer, Chief Operating Officer, noted that AGP’s ongoing capital investment program continues to be instrumental in the Company’s volume growth and operational success. Meyer outlined the exciting progress of the largest capital project in AGP’s history, a new soybean processing plant under construction in Aberdeen, SD. The plant is on schedule for completion in mid-2019.
Scott Simmelink, Chief Financial Officer, said AGP’s financial positon remains very strong. “The strength of the balance sheet provides a strategic foundation allowing AGP the flexibility to capitalize on market opportunities or deal with adverse business conditions,” said CFO Simmelink. “The Board of Directors and the management team believe AGP is well-positioned operationally and financially to pursue an ongoing investment program in our core businesses for future growth.”
Additional management presenters were Senior Vice Presidents Mark Sandeen, Chris Schaffer, and Troy Alberts. Each highlighted the success of the past year and discussed future opportunities within their business unit.
During the meeting, two long-time AGP employees were honored with special tributes. First, AGP gave tribute to Tim Witty, who passed away unexpectedly in 2018. Witty was one of the original employees at AGP in 1983, and served as AGP’s Senior Vice President and Corporate Controller until his retirement in 2007. “We want to express our thanks for Tim’s efforts and leadership through his career and for being a foundation of the success that is AGP today,” said CEO Spackler.
Bill Lester, who was inducted into the Iowa Institute for Cooperatives Hall of Fame in 2018, was honored for his service to AGP and to cooperatives. “I am so proud of the results of this organization,” said Lester, noting how far AGP has progressed since its formation 35 years ago.
Looking forward, CEO Spackler stated that he is optimistic for fiscal 2019. “As we all know, agriculture and agribusiness in general are experiencing more moderate returns relative to those of 3 to 5 years ago. However, for the first four months of fiscal 2019, market opportunities have been favorable and we anticipate improved earnings for the full fiscal year. As a cooperative, we are proud that we are able to generate good earnings, and then provide returns and value back to our cooperative members and producers.”
Following the business meeting, guest speaker and geopolitical strategist Peter Zeihan gave a thought-provoking presentation providing key insights on complex dynamics of world events and relationships shaping markets and the economy.
AGP’s 2019 Annual Meeting is scheduled for January 16 and 17, 2020 at the La Vista Conference Center.