By Dave Pearce
A full house was on hand at the annual meeting of the Posey County Farm Bureau Co-op on Thursday evening February 28 at the Posey County Community Center. A great meal served by the North Posey Relay for Life Volunteer team included chicken, sausages, all the fixings, with pie and ice cream to top it all off.
Retiring General Manager Jim Swinney spoke to the audience as he looked back over his career at the Posey County Co-op giving accolades to the loyal supportive membership for which the Co-op exists. Swinney started at Posey in September 1991 and became the General Manager five months later, replacing. During that time, the Co-op grew from Sales of $17 million, Savings for the Members of $1.4 Million and Assets of $9.4 million to Sales of $101 million, Savings of $9.4 million, and assets of $40 million. The employee force nearly doubled from 58 to 112. An energy distribution partnership, SynEnergy, was also created and will report sales of $129 million with its earnings paying back to the Co-op based on its ownership percentage.
But perhaps more important than the growth of the company has been the contributions made to the communities of which it is a part and the return of earnings to the membership. This year checks were sent to the member patrons giving them a refund of over 7 percent of their total purchases with 90 percent of that in the form of cash. Each year in August the association returns a portion of past years’ deferred earnings. Currently the cooperative has only seven years of equity outstanding.
Posey County Co-op is a significant part of the area’s local economy and prides itself on serving the needs of not only agriculture but local businesses and residents with an array of products including fuel, feed, hardware, sporting goods, clothing, and crop inputs.
Chris Cash was introduced as the Co-op’s new General Manager. Cash has served as Controller of the organization for the past 14 years. He grew up Posey County, attending Mount Vernon schools and then went on to the University of Evansville where he earned an accounting degree. Chris is married to the former Sherri Simpson, has a son Ryan at SIUC, and a daughter Rachel who is a senior at Mount Vernon High School and contemplating college options.
As the Co-op moves forward it will become more engaged in technology knowing that agriculture and all business is moving faster in an attempt to be both more productive as well as efficient. Chris also commented on the recent fire at Mount Vernon noting that equipment and the building will be replaced assuring everyone that the company will be ready to serve the farmers’ needs. The association is well positioned to move ahead with dedicated employees, excellent facilities, modern equipment, a strong balance sheet and most importantly great member patrons.
Recognition of Jim Swinney for his years of service and involvement in the development of the Community Center preceded a business session that reported on the progress of the association acknowledging its record performance. Directors Larry Williams, Alvin Nurrenbern, Bernie Muller, and Al Schmitz were re-elected to join fellow Directors Tom Weilbrenner, Chuck Mann, Rick Ziliak, Jerry Schenk, Chris Mulkey, and Wayne Wiggins in overseeing operations.
The meeting ended with an entertaining Shotgun Red Show. A puppet act complete with musical renditions, comedy, and illusions from Nashville sent all members home with great expectations for future successes as well as a gift and knowledge that a patronage check would be in their mailbox the next day. The Board and employees greatly enjoyed hosting this meeting and now look forward to a safe and successful growing season.
By Dave Pearce
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