Jim Spradlin, chief executive officer, reported unaudited, estimated sales of $8.8 billion for FY 2015. Pretax income is estimated at $140 million. An estimated $61 million in patronage refunds will be returned to GROWMARK member cooperatives and farmer-owners.
“We remain committed to foundational principles that honor the wisdom and direction of our founders. We are focused on the future, and the sustainability of our System, and as a result, we must constantly pursue excellence in all we do,” said Spradlin.
Energy, Agronomy, and Retail Grain Units all achieved business growth and recorded earnings above expectations, while the retail supplies group performance was slowed due to a softening Ag economy and plenty of weather-related challenges this summer.
Operational highlights for the company’s business units were also reported at the Annual Meeting:
With a focused effort and dedication from system employees, the Energy Division reported 2.2 billion total volume gallons sold. With the utilization of the Council Bluffs lubricants blending facility, income generated by lubricant operations has doubled and 6 million gallons of lubricants were sold this year. 2015 will be the Energy Division’s best year ever, recording internal gross income in excess of $70 million.
The Seed Division reported seed sales exceeding 4.7 million acres in 2015. Total seed corn sales will be up 2 percent, led by a 6 percent increase in the FS InVision brand. Total net income for the Seed Division will exceed budget and be the second best earnings recorded.
Crop Protection Division sales are projected to increase 1 percent from the previous year. This will result in the second best volume year in GROWMARK Crop Protection history. The division continues to focus efforts on key initiatives, such as weed management systems that utilize residuals to properly steward glyphosate and nutrient management strategies that include the use of nitrogen stabilizers.
The Plant Food Division recently underwent an identification change and is now known as the Crop Nutrients Division. Sales volume will exceed 3.2 million tons, the fifth consecutive year of record volume. GROWMARK’s crop nutrients facility infrastructure, which includes 22 member partnerships, proved valuable to meet demand during the peak shipping window.
The Grain Division announced a new Retail Grain Partnership being formed in Northern Illinois. FS GRAIN will combine the strength of NORTHERN GRAIN MARKETING and EASTERN GRAIN MARKETING with the local expertise, management and ownership of AgView FS, Carroll Service Company, Conserv FS, GRAINCO FS and Heritage FS The new venture will support the overall Grain Division operations, which generated $19 million in income in FY2015, while providing a high level of service to member owners.
GROWMARK’s Retail Grain business recorded sales volume of 200 million bushels. GROWMARK’s commitment to the grain business ensures a farmer-owned grain marketing system in the GROWMARK territory.
Retail Supplies business units operated in overdrive throughout spring, providing significant value to the GROWMARK System and registering sales of $1.25 billion. The objective of Retail is to be a valuable resource and partner at the “farm gate” and to improve the long term profitability of our customers. Over 180 Agronomy Retail locations aid in giving the System buying power and allow a presence in geographic areas that would possibly otherwise be vacant to the GROWMARK System.
Eastern Retail Operations reported slightly lower sales compared to FY2014, driven by excessive spring and early-summer moisture which prevented crop nutrient applications. Further, as much as 15 percent of the New York crops were not planted in 2015.
FS Agri-Finance ended the year with approved loans to 2,200 customers SEEDWAY, the vegetable, farm and turf seed business headquartered in Hall, New York is on track to achieve another record year.
Spradlin commented, “The GROWMARK System is strong, responsible, focused on the success of our customers -- prepared, and positioned for continued success. I believe the founding farmer-members of our great cooperative System would be proud of our progress. We honor their bold, innovative, courageous, and sustainable cooperative structure by working together to stay ahead of the curve.”