Higher commodity prices and solid volume growth in most GROWMARK business units produced record sales for the cooperative for the 2012 fiscal year, ending August 31. Jeff Solberg, chief executive officer, announced unaudited, estimated sales of $10 billion for the 2012 fiscal year, the highest in the cooperative’s history. GROWMARK’s pretax income is estimated at $295 million, the second highest in the company’s history. An estimated $140 million in patronage refunds – also a company record — will be returned to GROWMARK member cooperatives and farmer-owners. “This is our 85th year as a cooperative system and we are proud of the progress from our founding to now reporting the strongest sales numbers in our history,” he said. “Our business is built around our mission to improve the long-term profitability of our member owners. With our record sales this year, we are able to return a record amount of patronage to our owners. We remain committed their success and to the unity of our cooperative system.”
Operational highlights for the company’s business units were also reported at the Annual Meeting:
Record high sales volume for the Plant Food Division were reported, due to strong corn acreage, a good fall application window, an early spring season, and market share growth. The Seed Division increased unit sales of seed corn to a record high, while soybean sales were even with last year. The Crop Protection Division set another sales record over last year. Higher sales of agronomy application equipment and farm grain systems led to increased sales in the Facility Planning Division, as well.
The Energy Division recorded another record year for total energy volume. Gasoline and diesel fuel both showed strong growth, while propane was slightly lower than last year. Lubricant volume remained steady. Significant renovations at the Council Bluffs, Iowa lubricant manufacturing facility expanded bulk storage capacity and allow for key blending processes to be handled in-house.
The Grain Division reported an increase in bushels marketed through the five grain retail units. Eastern Grain Marketing began construction on a Norfolk Southern rail loader near Kankakee, Ill., which will provide increased marketing opportunities for area farmers when complete. Risk management services, including MID-CO Commodities, and AgriVisor, LLC, reported continued strong demand for the products and services offered.
All of GROWMARK’s retail divisions reported successful years. Total retail division sales are estimated at $1.7 billion, which includes GROWMARK FS estimated sales of $260 million, and SEEDWAY estimated sales of $110 million which, if realized, would be a record. Several acquisitions, efficiency improvements, target marketing, and enhanced people resources added to this year’s success. “Although we are proud of our financial results, we are very aware of the widespread impact of this year’s drought. Our entire economy will feel the effects in one form or another,” Solberg said. “Still, we remain optimistic about the future of agriculture. We stand ready to support our member companies and customers by continuing to be a reliable supplier of the products and services they need to assist their farmer-customers in meeting the food, fiber and fuel needs of a growing world population.”