Update on COVID-19 from Jay Debertin

Dear valued customers and owners:

As our essential businesses work to meet spring season demands amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to focus on the health and safety of every person and community connected to CHS and the cooperative system.

We want you to know that CHS remains fully operational and committed to providing the essential products and services you need. Our supply chain is prepared and moving into action as spring fieldwork begins. Grain is moving and the spring shipping season has begun. We are grateful for those positive signs.

Thank you for your business. Please let us know how we can help you navigate through the days and weeks ahead.

Sincerely,

Jay D. Debertin
President and CEO

General Manager update on COVID-19

March 23, 2020

As you are aware, the impact of the global pandemic caused by COVID-19 continues to rapidly evolve. Safety is a core value for CHS South Central and includes a focus on the health and wellbeing of our employees, families, customers and owners, and the communities in which we live and work.

We understand that spring is here, and I want to emphasize; we are operational for business. We are simply adjusting some protocols. CHS South Central has implemented the following changes effective Monday, March 23rd, until further notice:

  • We are limiting access at all locations. We respectfully ask you to contact us through phone or email whenever possible. Some of our locations have enacted split shift schedules; staff that can work remotely, have been asked to do so and will be available via phone or e-mail.
  • If you need a grain check, please contact us and we will mail it promptly, deliver it to local bank for deposit or setup a pickup location outside of the office.
  • All visitors to our office will be required to complete a questionnaire before entering our facilities. We are also asking all staff and visitors to adhere to the 6-foot distance recommended by the CDC to reduce virus spread.
  • We have restricted face-to-face meetings. Our staff will conduct business via phone, text or email. As a company that prides itself on the relationships we have built, this will be a difficult change. However, face-to-face meetings pose a greater risk for everyone involved. If you need to conduct critical business that requires an in-person meeting, please call for an appointment to confirm access to the facility and availability of staff.
  • We ask you to call ahead for product pickup whenever possible, our team will ensure that everything is ready to load upon your arrival.
  • For those customers or vendors delivering grain or picking up products, we ask that you limit your time in the office to essential business. At some locations, we are asking drivers to remain in their cab. Please check our location policies or watch for information and direction upon arrival.

We will adjust our practices as necessary in the coming days, weeks or months. Rest assured, it is our commitment that we will continue to provide excellent service and support throughout this unprecedented time, even if we must do it differently. We value your business, your trust in CHS South Central and appreciate your understanding during this time. We look forward to resuming normal interactions as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.

Jeff Mehl
General Manager
CHS South Central

 

CHS_SouthCentral_JeffLetter_COVID19_3.19.20

 

A message about COVID-19

With the impact of the global pandemic caused by COVID-19 evolving rapidly, we want to reassure you that CHS is taking steps to protect the health and safety of our employees, our owners and customers, and the communities we serve.

We are developing plans with the goal of continuing to provide the highest possible level of service to our customers and owners. Specific measures include:

  • Close coordination and collaboration to ensure safety and wellbeing of employees, customers and communities
  • Cancelation of annual meetings and other meetings of large groups and limiting visits to CHS facilities
  • Additional use of voice, video and other technology to serve you, our customers and coordinate farm visits
  • Activating plans to flex employees between locations or business units to better serve you
  • New process and rigor for interactions with vendors, suppliers, contractors or other third parties to promote health and safety
  • Fully utilizing our powerful and flexible supply chain and asset base should it become necessary to deliver to or from alternate locations

As the busy spring season unfolds, we will continue to adjust as circumstances change. We don’t take this challenge lightly, but we’re committed to working through it with effective planning, communication and execution. With our talented and committed team, best-in-class assets and our values of safety and cooperative spirit, we are confident CHS will continue to deliver products and services for customers and value for owners.

Learn ways to stay safe during Grain Bin Safety Week

grain bin safety trainingGrain bins can be dangerous places. Purdue University researchers report that bin-related injuries such as entrapments, equipment entanglements and asphyxia are on the rise – more than 60 incidents occurred in the U.S. in 2018.

As part of our commitment to safety as a core value, CHS is partnering with other ag industry leaders to support Grain Bin Safety Week, Feb. 16-22. Here are the top three things you can do to promote safe practices around grain bins: (more…)

Freeze warning

Decrease the risk of cold-weather downtime with the right diesel.

use the right premium diesel during cold weather

When temperatures drop, a farmer’s work doesn’t stop. Keeping equipment running at its peak during colder weather requires a watchful eye on what’s in your fuel tank.

Here’s the main problem that comes when temperatures drop: Diesel fuel hits its cloud point — the temperature at which wax crystals begin to appear in the fuel, also known as gelling. Cloud point is reached in #2 diesel fuel when fuel temperatures hit 4 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on where you buy your fuel, says Chad Christiansen, manager of product quality and additives for CHS. (more…)

CHS reports $177.9 million in first quarter net income

Truck delivering propane to residential home in winter

Significant increase in fall propane demand helped balance difficult market conditions

CHS reported net income of $177.9 million for the first quarter of fiscal year 2020 that ended Nov. 30, 2019. This compares to net income of $347.5 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019. The results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2020 reflect:
  • Revenues of $7.6 billion compared to revenues of $8.5 billion for the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
  • Strong supply chain performance in our propane business that was a positive contributor resulting from efficient sourcing of propane during significantly increased fall demand – brought on by unseasonably early cold and wet weather during harvest – for crop drying and home heating.
  • Less advantageous market conditions in our refined fuels business compared to the first quarter of fiscal year 2019, during which the company experienced historically wide pricing spreads between Canadian crude oil and crude oil from the United States. CHS processes Canadian crude oil at its refineries in Laurel, Montana, and McPherson, Kansas.
  • Poor weather conditions that occurred in fiscal year 2019 and the first quarter of fiscal year 2020 continued to negatively impact our Ag segment’s operations, resulting in lower crop yields, poor grain quality in some areas and lower fall crop nutrients sales.
  • Pressure on grain volume and margins due to slow movement of grain associated with unresolved trade issues between the United States and foreign trading partners.
  • Decreased fertilizer volumes compared to the first quarter of fiscal year 2019 due to a slow harvest in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020.
“We are not immune to the challenges of our industry, and our first quarter results reflect the difficulties brought on by fall weather and ongoing trade tensions,” said Jay Debertin, president and CEO of CHS Inc. “The cooperative system, however, provides CHS and its owners stability to withstand these difficult times. Our focus remains on building efficiencies in our supply chain and on operating in this challenging agricultural environment. “During a cold and wet harvest, we leveraged our supply chain to meet the significant increase in propane needs of our owners and customers,” Debertin continued. “Our focus on meeting the needs of our owners helped deliver the successful launch of two products – Acuvant™ and Trivar™ – that will be available for spring planting. “We know the remainder of fiscal year 2020 will continue to present challenges, and we are confident in our ability to find opportunities in those challenges, to help our owners grow their businesses and to continue to strengthen our company,” he said. “No one feels those challenges more than our owners. We remain committed to supporting communities and experts as they address the stress felt across rural America.”

First Quarter Fiscal 2020 Business Segment Results

The following segment results were reported for the first quarter of fiscal year 2020 as compared to the first quarter of fiscal year 2019. Energy Pretax earnings of $162.2 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020 compared to $232.5 million for the first quarter of fiscal year 2019 reflect:
  • Significantly less advantageous market conditions, driven primarily by decreased crude oil spreads on heavy Canadian crude oil processed at our refineries and, to a lesser extent, decreased crack spreads in our refined fuels business compared to the same period during fiscal year 2019. The decreased crude oil differentials and lower crack spreads were partially offset by favorable hedging activity in refined fuels.
  • The decrease in pretax income for refined fuels was partially offset by significantly improved propane margins from a late, wet crop combined with unseasonably cold weather across much of CHS service area that led to increased fall demand for crop drying and home heating compared to the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
Ag Pretax loss of $13.9 million compared to pretax earnings of $80.3 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019 reflects:
  • Poor weather conditions in fiscal year 2019 that culminated in a late and smaller fall harvest, resulting in decreased demand for farm supplies and crop nutrient products.
  • Ongoing global trade tensions between the United States and foreign trading partners continued to negatively impact grain volumes and margins.
  • Lower margins in our processing and food ingredients business.
Nitrogen Production Pretax earnings of $16.5 million compared to pretax earnings of $23.7 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019 reflect:
  • Lower equity income from our investment in CF Nitrogen, of which CHS has partial ownership, attributable to decreased market pricing of urea and urea ammonium nitrate, which are produced and sold by CF Nitrogen.
Corporate and Other Pretax earnings of $20.7 million compared to pretax earnings of $30.8 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019 reflect:
  • Results primarily from lower equity income from our investments in Ardent Mills and Ventura Foods and decreased income in our financing and hedging businesses due to market-driven interest rate reductions and lower trading activity, respectively.
CHS 1st quarter balance sheet

CHS Inc. owners elect five board members during annual meeting

Portrait of newly and re-elected CHS Board Members

CHS owners elected five board members to three-year terms during the cooperative’s 2019 Annual Meeting held Dec. 5-6 in Minneapolis. Pictured (l. to r.) are: Kevin Throener, Hal Clemesen, Mark Farrell, Alan Holm and Steve Riegel.

Officers of board also elected by board peers following Annual Meeting

CHS owners elected five board members to three-year terms during the cooperative’s 2019 Annual Meeting held Dec. 5-6 in Minneapolis. Newly elected to three-year terms are:

Hal Clemensen succeeds former director Randy Knecht, who retired from the CHS Board of Directors on Dec. 6. Clemensen represents Region 4, covering South Dakota, and has been the president of the board of directors of Agtegra Cooperative since its formation in 2018. He was president of the South Dakota Wheat Growers Association from 2005 until its merger with North Central Farmers Elevator in 2018. He is a past director and is an active member of the South Dakota Soybean Association and an active member of South Dakota Corn Growers. In 2015, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives named him Farmer Cooperative Director of the year. He raises corn, soybeans and wheat near Conde, South Dakota. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economic and Agricultural Business from South Dakota State University. Clemensen was appointed to the CHS Board’s Government Relations and Corporate Risk committees.

Kevin Throener succeeds former director Dennis Carlson, who retired from the board on Dec. 6, and represents Region 3, which covers North Dakota. Throener has been a director of CHS Dakota Plains Ag since 2014 and served as vice president of the Sargent County Farmers Union Board of Directors since 2007. He has also served on the Cogswell, North Dakota, Volunteer Fire Department since 1997 and was its chief from 2010 to 2018. Throener raises corn, soybeans and alfalfa and operates a feedlot and cow/calf business near Cogswell, North Dakota. Throener and his wife Ronda are first-generation farmers who built their operation from the ground up. He studied Agricultural Systems Management at North Dakota State University. He was appointed to the CHS Board’s Governance Committee and the CHS Foundation Board of Trustees.

Reelected to three-year terms are:

  • Mark Farrell, who operates a corn, soybean and wheat farm in Dane County, Wisconsin, representing Region 5.
  • Alan Holm, who operates a corn, soybean, sweet corn, peas and hay operation and has a cow-calf herd near Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, representing Region 1.
  • Steve Riegel, who raises corn, soybeans, alfalfa, dryland wheat and milo near Ford, Kansas, representing Region 8.

Following the Annual Meeting, the board held its annual re-organization meeting. Each of the following board members was elected to one-year officer terms:

  • Dan Schurr, chair
  • C.J. Blew, first vice chair
  • Jon Erickson, second vice chair
  • Russ Kehl, secretary-treasurer
  • Steve Riegel, assistant secretary-treasurer

CHS Board announces fiscal 2019 equity management decisions

CHS Board announces fiscal 2019 equity management decisions

CHS will return $180 million in cash patronage and equity redemptions to its owners based on fiscal 2019 earnings.

Of that $180 million, $90 million will be distributed in cash patronage and $90 million will be distributed through equity redemptions.

  • Of the $90 million in equity redemptions, $63 million will be returned to member cooperatives and $27 million to individual members.
    • The $27 million in redemptions of individual producer member equity will be provided based on qualifying requests from individual members (estates and age 70+).

As in previous years, 10 percent of fiscal 2019 patronage-based earnings will be designated to the company’s unallocated capital reserve, which is an important component of maintaining financial strength.

The CHS Board makes equity management decisions for the cooperative. The CHS Board also approved a policy change that states individual producer equity may be redeemed once every five years following any redemption that occurs upon reaching age 70.

All domestic production activities deduction (DPAD) will be used by CHS this year to offset the company’s tax liability.

CHS is committed to the success of cooperatives, farmers and ranchers today and into the future. Earning patronage and equity on the business conducted with a company owned by cooperatives, farmers and ranchers is a unique part of the cooperative business model.

The CHS Board made fiscal 2019 equity management decisions with these goals in mind:

  • Ensure decisions are in the best long-term interest of CHS and its owners
  • Maintain a strong balance sheet, including the capital reserve
  • Strengthen the company’s ability to pursue long-term growth

CHS reports fiscal 2019 net income of $829.9 Million

Energy, Nitrogen production increases helped drive 7 percent growth in net income

machinery harvesting soybeans

CHS reported net income of $829.9 million for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2019. The results reflect an increase of $54.0 million — or 7 percent — compared to fiscal year 2018.

Key financial drivers for fiscal year 2019 include:

  • Consolidated revenues of $31.9 billion for fiscal year 2019 compared to $32.7 billion for fiscal year 2018.
  • Net income of $829.9 million for fiscal year 2019 compared to $775.9 million for fiscal year 2018.
  • Improved market conditions in our refined fuels business, primarily driven by favorable purchasing of Canadian crude oil.
  • Increased equity earnings from investments, including a $53.5 million increase related to CF Nitrogen. In addition, the CF Nitrogen investment distributed $186.5 million of cash to CHS Inc. in fiscal year 2019.
  • Acquisition of the remaining 75 percent interest in West Central Distribution, LLC, that was not previously owned by CHS.
  • Pressure on the volumes and margins of grain and agronomy products, including increased costs of operations due to ongoing weather- and trade-related issues.
  • A combination of recoveries on previously recorded reserves, impairment charges and gain contingencies, which more than offset additional reserves and impairment charges taken during the year.

“We are pleased with our results on behalf of our owners in fiscal year 2019. We focused on our priorities, built on our strategies, continued to improve our control environment and leveraged the strength of our supply chain to deliver value to the farmers and co-ops that own us,” said Jay Debertin, president and CEO of CHS. “Improving customer experience and innovations led to better results including increased diesel production at our refinery in McPherson, Kansas. Our acquisition of the remaining 75 percent interest in West Central Distribution that we previously didn’t own expanded our distribution channels and grew market access in agronomy.

“When flooding made major riverways impassable, we leveraged our supply chain to reposition fertilizer to ensure our cooperatives and customers had the crop nutrients they needed for spring planting,” he said. “We identified new markets for our owners’ grain to help them navigate the difficult trade situation. And we began construction on a fertilizer storage facility in North Dakota and a grain shuttle loader in Minnesota. In each of these, the driving force was to be our customers’ first choice.

“We know the headwinds agriculture faced in fiscal year 2019 have carried over to fiscal year 2020, and CHS feels those same challenges. No one, however, feels them more and understands the impact more than the farmers and cooperatives that own us,” Debertin continued. “We remain focused on delivering value to our owners and creating connections to empower agriculture. And we’re committed to continuing to raise our owners’ voices to policymakers and elected officials and identifying opportunities to continue to build our business, leveraging our supply chain and helping our owners navigate fluctuating markets.”

Fiscal Year 2019 Business Segment Results

The fiscal year 2019 segment results are:

Energy

Pretax earnings of $618.2 million represent a $166.1 million increase versus the prior year and reflect:

  • Improved market conditions in our refined fuels business driven primarily by favorable pricing on heavy Canadian crude oil, which is processed by our refineries in Laurel, Montana, and McPherson, Kansas.
  • Positive resolution of a gain contingency.
  • The increase was partially offset by gains associated with the sale of the Council Bluffs pipeline and terminal and 34 Zip Trip stores located in the Pacific Northwest during fiscal year 2018 that did not recur during fiscal year 2019.

Ag

Pretax earnings of $43.0 million represent a $31.3 million decrease versus prior year and reflect:

  • Poor weather conditions – including flooding during the spring of 2019 that prevented and delayed planting of crops – and ongoing global trade issues between the United States and foreign trading partners resulted in generally decreased margins and volumes across most of our Ag segment.
  • The decrease was partially offset by gains associated with fiscal year 2019 acquisition of the remaining 75 percent interest in West Central Distribution that CHS previously did not own.
  • The net positive impact of recoveries on previously recorded reserves and impairment charges more than offset additional impairment charges taken during fiscal year 2019.

Nitrogen Production

Pretax earnings of $72.9 million represent a $34.1 million increase versus prior year and reflect:

  • Improved market pricing of urea and UAN, which are produced and sold by CF Nitrogen, of which CHS has partial ownership.

Corporate and Other

Pretax earnings of $81.5 million represent a $24.5 million decrease versus prior year and reflect:

  • A gain from the sale of CHS Insurance during fiscal year 2018 that did not recur in fiscal year 2019.
  • The decrease was partially offset by higher earnings from our investment in Ventura Foods, LLC, and from our financing business.

Read the full press release.

CHS income by segment chart

© 2020 CHS Inc.