COVID-19 Updates – Locations

Current COVID-19 Changes at CHS Prairie Lakes (Updated Regularly)
Last updated 4/2/2020

Overall Company Updates:

  • We are limiting access at all locations and have eliminated walk-in traffic. Our staff members are available via phone (calls and texts) and email to fully serve your needs during this time.
  • We have restricted face-to-face meetings. Our sales 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 all parties. 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. All visitors to our office will be required to complete a questionnaire before entering our facilities.
  • A list of department manager contacts can be found here. If you would like to submit a question below, a member of our team will get back to you shortly with a response.

COVID-19 Questions

CHS Capital and Accounts Receivable Updates:

  • Contact Colin Cihlar at (o) 320-239-2226 or (c) 218-349-3899 with any CHS Capital inquiries – including CHS Capital financing options and loan payoff amounts – and account information, including monthly A/R balances, account information updates, and any other A/R questions.

Propane & Fuel Updates:

  • Propane deliveries are still occurring, and our drivers ask that you adhere to the 6-foot distancing guidelines set out by the CDC while they are making deliveries.
  • For in-home propane leak checks, inspections or service, customers will be asked to complete a simple screening questionnaire prior to any CHS employee providing in-home service work.
  • Energy questions can be directed to Steve Gorder at 320-760-5984 or Harold Weniger at 320-429-5064. Energy service needs can be directed to Mike Tangen at 320-293-5176.

Elrosa Location Updates:

  • Hours of Operation: 8AM to 5PM Monday through Friday. Longer hours will start up when spring begins.
  • We are unable to sell bagged fertilizer at our location and remain in alignment with our COVID-19 safety measures. You can get our product at other local businesses – more info here.
  • Site Contacts: Jay Heinze: 320-293-7954, Cory Nietfeld: 320-249-0021, Chuck Nolting: 320-429-4679, Erik Handt: 320-429-5927, Sandy Roelike: 320-262-9405, Office: 320-697-5566

Glenwood Elevator Updates:

  • Hours of Operation: 7AM to 5PM
  • Office: 320-634-3028 for directory of staff numbers
  • If you’re loading grain, please stay in your truck and do not enter the office.
  • For grain deliveries: At dump pit 1, please remain in your truck as our staff will dump your truck. At dump pits 2 & 3, anyone delivering will dump their own truck and our staff will remain at the control panel. There is signage on-site that outlines the different procedures.
  • Grain checks will be mailed out – call our office to talk with a member of our staff.

Hoffman Location Updates:

  • Hours of Operation: 8AM to 5PM
  • Site Contacts: Office: 320-986-2454, Location Manager: 320-368-0939, Operations: 320-808-0843

Long Prairie Location Updates:

  • Hours of Operation: 7AM to 5PM
  • Site Contacts: Martha Licari (Grain): 320-808-9401, Guy Bray (Agronomy): 320-808-3924, Nick Smeby (Agronomy): 320-304-1494, Kathy VonWahlde (Accounting): 320-293-4920, Martin Hagen (Location Manager): 507-530-8807
  • If you’re loading grain, please stay in your truck and do not enter the office.
  • For grain deliveries, you will dump your own truck and our staff will remain in the probe shed.
  • Grain checks will be mailed out – call our office to talk with a member of our staff.

Lowry Elevator Updates:

  • To help protect you and all our employees from exposure to and transmission of COVID-19, we have temporarily closed the Lowry elevator.

Park Rapids Location Updates:

  • Current site hours: 8AM to 5PM
  • Direct Staff Contacts: Todd Readel (c) 715-629-0140 or (o) 218-616-5005, Kevin Kuhn (c) 507-301-4218 or (o) 218-616-5006, Mona Dahlberg (c) 218-732-4236 or (o) 218-616-5003

Starbuck Location Updates:

  • Hours of Operation: 8AM to 5PM, and as needed
  • Office: 320-239-2226 for directory of staff numbers
  • There is a drop box by the front door for bill payments.
  • Call in with your chemical orders. Our staff will get it put together for you and we’ll let you know when you can come in to pick them up.
  • We’ve started proactive delivery of starter fertilizer for those who can accept it now. If you are in a place to take your order, please let us know.
  • As soon as you can take seed deliveries, let us know and we will work out a delivery time. Pat Lundebrek – 320-808-9351; Jacob Hagen – 320-766-9351.
  • If you have any fields that are able to be spread now, we’re working on getting as many done as early as possible. Call your Agronomy Sales Representative to schedule application.

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

COVID-19 Updates – March 17

March 17, 2020:

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.

CHS Inc. is 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

Locally, we’re taking additional measures to help keep our staff safe while continuing to serve our customers.

  • We are limiting all foot traffic into offices, including from our customers. We encourage you to call, text, or email our staff for assistance. Any visitors to our office will be required to complete a questionnaire before entering our facilities.
  • We’re asking all staff and visitors to adhere to the 6 foot distance recommended by the CDC to reduce virus spread.
  • For the health of the employees on-site, the Lowry elevator has been temporarily closed.
  • Additional local updates will be shared on this page and will also be sent out via email.  To be added to our email alerts, go here and subscribe for any of the news lists that are of value to you – all are being included in COVID-19 alert emails at this time.

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.

COVID-19 Updates – March 13

March 13, 2020:

Out of an abundance of caution due to growing international concerns about coronavirus (COVID-19), CHS has suspended meetings and events until further notice. This decision impacts site tours, annual meetings and other events.

This includes the cancellation of the following events:

  • Harvest for Hunger meat raffle on Friday, March 13 at 12 Mile Tavern in Swanville
  • Harvest for Hunger meat raffle on Saturday, March 14 at Starbuck VFW
  • Park Rapids customer appreciation event on Tuesday, March 17 at the new Park Rapids office
  • Harvest for Hunger meat raffle on Saturday, March 21 at Starbuck VFW
  • Any other CHS Prairie Lakes hosted event that may not be listed here

Thank you for your understanding.

Western Minnesota Farmers Already Looking to 2020 Growing Season

Seed selection is a critical part of planning

INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, Minn. (Jan. 29, 2020) — It’s hard to believe, but farmers in western Minnesota are thinking about next spring, even though last year’s harvest is not far in the past.

There are a lot of decisions to be made and planning to be done and equipment to be repaired before we ever see a tractor on the road in the spring, or before a seed ever hits the ground. What new equipment will I need to purchase, what nutrients does my soil need, what is my fertilizer strategy, what insects and weeds will I need to worry about, how will I market my crops, should I diversify — these are all going through farmers’ minds and notes between now and then.

But one of the most important decisions a farmer will make is what seed to plant. There are different companies, different brands, different maturity ratings (how long it takes from the time the seed is planted to when it’s ready to harvest), and a long list of features and benefits for each one.

Andy Clauson, a CHS Key Agronomy Specialist who is also an authority on Allegiant® seed products, offers a few tips for making seed selections.

“It’s crucial to consider data beyond your last harvest before making seed selections for next year,” Clauson said.

“During last year’s harvest, pretty much anything that could go wrong, went wrong,” he continued. “Planting was delayed. We had a wet spring. We got in as much corn as we could in a very short window before it could get wet again. It was a struggle from the beginning.”

Due to these harsh weather conditions, there has been a trend of farmers wanting to switch to early-maturity corn, in hopes of having drier corn and earlier harvesting to prevent past struggles.

“By switching to early-maturity hybrids and varieties, you potentially give up yield,” added Clauson. “Farmers need to stick with what has historically been working best in their territories. If you normally plant 95-day maturity-rating corn, plant 95-day corn.  You don’t need to go down to 87-day corn.”

Clauson explained how temperature plays a strong role in corn development, and the importance of looking at multiyear data to reduce risk.

“By looking at historical heat units within your area, we can find a hybrid that will make it to black layer [an indicator of physiological maturity] , to help ensure the best yields to be able to market that product at the end of the season,” said Clauson.

Most farmers are ready to put the difficulties of this year’s growing season behind them, and they have a lot to think about when planning for next year. Local co-ops, ag retailers and agronomists like Andy Clauson are great resources to help do that.

© 2020 CHS Inc. Allegiant® is a registered trademark of CHS Inc.

Learn ways to stay safe during Grain Bin Safety Week

Last fall, many bushels of grain went into storage in poor conditions. This increases the risk of bridging, crusting, and other grain storage dangers. Especially this year, please review the safety tips below to ensure you and your family remain safe while working with grain.

grain bin safety training

Grain 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

Five winter propane safety tips

Good tips to keep in mind throughout this winter season.

1. Clearly mark propane tanks

When a winter storm hits, finding a propane tank under feet of snow can be a difficult job. To make tanks easier to spot, customers should mark the location of their tanks with flags, poles or stakes. When selecting a marker, they should make sure to choose something that’s taller than the average snowfall in their area.

2. Remove snow and ice from propane tanks

In the event that a propane tank becomes covered in snow, it should get cleared it off using a broom — not a shovel — to prevent damage to system components. Regulators, regular vents, piping, tubing and valves should all be kept exposed. For easy access to tanks, customers should always maintain a clear and plowed pathway to them.

3. Notify snowplow contractors of propane tanks

After a heavy snowfall, it’s possible for a snowdrift to completely hide a propane tank. Customers who utilize snowplow contractors should make sure the operator knows the locations of all propane tanks on the property. If a snowplow were to come into contact with a propane tank, it could become a potentially serious safety hazard.

4. Consider a propane-powered generator

When a storm knocks out the power, it can sometimes take days for rural roads to be accessible to repair crews. A propane-powered backup generator can provide customers with peace of mind that they won’t be stuck without power in the event of a blackout. Remember, even if a generator is portable, these should never be used indoors or in an enclosed space.

5. Maintain an adequate propane supply

Even after a winter storm is over, roads can still be inaccessible by delivery trucks for days. To sustain any periods of interrupted deliveries, it’s important for customers not to let their propane tanks get too low. Suppliers who offer automatic deliveries can suggest this solution to help their customers ensure their tanks are topped off adequately.

Safety tips adapted from online LPGas article “Building Customer Trust Starts with Safety”

© 2020 CHS Inc.

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