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Kansas Cooperative Council Newsletter

Summer 2013

In This Issue: Notes From the Chairman.....................................2 Co-op Leaders Carry Messages to the Hill ...........3 Congressman Yoder Visits SW KS Co-ops…………4 “Co-ops 101”...Awesome Opportunity ...................5 Briggeman Featured in TV Segment.....................5 “Co-ops 101” Photo Essay ...................................... 6 Plains and Meade Celebrate 100 Years .................7 CU’s Continue Campaign ......................................7 Roundtable/Symposium ....................................... 8 From the President’s Chair................................... 9 CoBank Announces Renewal of Program……….. 11 Reno Appointed to Ag Advisory Board .............. 11 Co-op Month ...................................................…. 12 Board Members/Calendar of Events .. ……………… 13

Notes From the Chairman Co-op Leaders Need to Prepare for Tough Decisions The 2013 wheat harvest reminds us that the weather is still the most uncontrollable and unpredictable factor influencing the decisions we have to make for the future of our companies. Utility and agriculture co-ops alike suffer financial losses due to the weather. While there are many business conditions we cannot control, we can help ourselves by staying prepared to address the hard decisions we will be faced with as co-op leaders. In today’s complex The KCC is sponsoring several upcoming meetings designed to help you and your board of directors stay informed on issues effecting business todays co-ops. August 27th and 28th is the KCC Leadership Roundtable and environment, can a K-State Symposium on Cooperative Issues in Manhattan, Ks. This year’s Roundtable theme is “This is Not Your Grandfather’s Co-op” and the co-op afford NOT Symposium theme is “Challenges Facing the Cooperative Model”. Both of to continue the these meetings have an excellent panel of speakers providing pertinent information on issues facing our co-ops now and in the future. Those education of interested in attending should contact Natalie Nickel to register for the meetings (888-603-2667 or management and The Director Development Program (DDP) is one of the most board directors? important classes management and boards of director can attend. All types and sizes of cooperatives can benefit from these courses. In today’s complex business environment, can a co-op afford NOT to continue the education of management and board of directors? In the future, the marketplace will only get more competitive and the decision-making will become increasingly more difficult if management and/or the board of directors are ill-informed. The information provided in these courses will help you base your decisions on sound cooperative principles and business techniques. Classes will be held December 9th and 10th in Wichita, Ks. Again, contact Natalie to register for DDP. Please consider attending.

SAVE THE DATE December 9 & 10, 2013 KCC Director Development Program Hotel Old Town 2

Co-op Leaders Carry Messages to Capitol Hill Cooperative leaders from across the country converged on Washington, DC for the annual summer conference hosted by the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC). The meeting was held on June 10-13, and brought more than 150 attendees to the nation’s capital. NCFC members had many issues to discuss with lawmakers, but immigration and a 5-year farm bill were front and center that week. The US Senate would pass S. 744, their comprehensive immigration bill, during the conference. The House would act on their 5-year farm bill within days of co-op leaders visiting DC, but would defeat their initial bill. The Honorable Tom Vilsack, US Secretary of Agriculture, served as keynote speaker at a Tuesday morning breakfast. His comments covered several topics, but he stressed the importance of passing comprehensive immigration reform and a 5-year farm bill, and doing so in a timely manner. Congressman Frank Lucas (R-OK 3), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee was the featured speaker on Wednesday. An energetic speaker, Keynote speaker USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack emphasizes Lucas outlined the process that leadership expected the need for Congress to finalize a farm bill . to follow for advancing farm bill legislation through the House and noted a number of amendments would be considered. The format of this year’s summer meeting was adjusted to allow participants more time for visiting Congressional offices. KCC President/CEO, Leslie Kaufman, attended the conference and met with staff from our two Kansas Senate offices and our four House offices, as well as with Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R– KS 1), himself. Kaufman also participated in NCFC’s Government Affairs Committee and subcommittee meetings and the NCFC Council (board) Meeting. She holds one of four state council seats on the NCFC Council. Leslie Kaufman visits with Congressman Tim Huelskamp


Congressman Yoder Visits SW Kansas Co-ops Congressman Kevin Yoder (R-KS 3) spent the better-part of two days touring southwest Kansas cooperatives and agribusinesses during a June 7-8 tour. Yoder grew up on a grain and livestock farm near the town of Yoder, but now makes his home in Overland Park. He currently serves as the vice-chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, so his visits were extremely relevant to his work in Washington, DC. Farmers Co-op in Haviland hosted the Congressman, along with his staff, state Senator Mitch Holmes (R-St. John), KCC President/CEO Leslie Kaufman, Kansas Farm Bureau President Steve Baccus and Ron Seeber, Sr. VP for the Kansas Grain & Feed and Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Associations. Lance Nelson, Agronomy Lance Nelson (r) discusses operations at Haviland with Manager at Farmers, served as our guide. Yoder Congressman Yoder viewed their train loading equipment and a portion of their bulk chemical facility. Later in the day, Representative Yoder and tour attendees visited Sunflower Electric Power Cooperative’s Holcomb generating station. Sunflower employees Clare Gustin and DJ Campbell, took the group through the plant, explaining the electric generation process and discussing multi-million dollar improvements that have been made to the plant in recent years. Yoder was also interested in the challenges Sunflower has had to overcome, and is still facing, in their efforts to expand generation capacity at the Holcomb site. “We are extremely pleased that Congressman Yoder has the desire to stay connected to rural Kansas and the important roles cooperatives and agribusiness play in our rural communities,” noted Leslie Kaufman. “It was a pleasure working with his staff and we appreciate having our co-op members among the L to r: Ron Seeber, Rep. Yoder, DJ Campbell and Clare Gustin discuss the electric generation process sites the Congressman wanted to visit.” We are grateful, too, for the time and effort our KCC member-cooperatives invested in hosting Congressman Yoder. The staff members at both Haviland and Sunflower did a terrific job of relating important aspects of their business operations. Hosting an event such as this tour is an excellent avenue for cooperatives to connect with policymakers and we are thankful for their involvement.


“‘Co-ops 101’ Was an Awesome Opportunity to Learn About Co-ops" Twenty-eight cooperative interns from across Kansas gathered in Topeka June 10-11 for a new training program sponsored by the Kansas Cooperative Council. In response to member requests, the KCC worked with the Arthur Capper Cooperative Center (ACCC) at Kansas State University to develop a "Co-ops 101" course specifically for individuals serving summer internships with our member cooperatives. The interns represented 11 cooperatives whose operations stretch across the better part of the state. This year's interns were all from agricultural/farm supply co-ops. Dr. Brian Briggeman, ACCC Director, designed and presented the curriculum for the classroom portion of the program. "Dr. Briggeman is a great instructor" noted KCC President/ CEO Leslie Kaufman. "Brian engages the students in discussion and gives practical examples of co-op benefits. We appreciate working with the ACCC on this project and thank Dr. Briggeman for taking the lead teaching role in this course." Dr. Briggeman provided hands-on experience for the interns with an income distribution exercise. The interns were divided into groups and had to manipulate figures in an excel spreadsheet. The purpose of the exercise was to increase attendees’ understanding of how co-op income distribution decisions impact: a co-op’s income statement; co-op’s balance sheet; and a patron-member’s income statement. At the end of the exercise “Brian engages the each group shared their findings with the rest of the class. students in discussion In addition to Briggeman and the KCC staff, full-time and gives practical cooperative employees accompanied their interns to Topeka and served as sponsors, chauffeurs and provided additional insights during examples of co-op the classroom sessions. We appreciate David Rodriguez (Skyland benefits” Grain), Mallory Wittstruck (Farmway), Bruce Williams (Rangeland) and Brett Myers (MKC) participating, as well. We also extend our thanks to all of our member cooperatives that sent interns to the class. Attendees had the opportunity to visit a grocery cooperative during their trip to northeast Kansas. The Merc, in Lawrence, hosted the group during an evening tour, providing an example of the co-op business model working successfully in the "consumer" co-op arena. Interns also spent time at the Statehouse and had an evening of outdoor fun with opportunities for go-kart racing and mini-golf. The Council is excited about this program and the success of its’ first year. We are already planning for next year. Please consider sending your summer interns in 2014!

Briggeman Featured in TV Segment Dr. Brian Briggeman, ACCC Director at Kansas State University, was featured recently on the Producer's Cooperative TV Segment, “From the Ground Up” . Producer's Cooperative is located in Bryan, Texas. As described on the their website, "From the Ground Up” educates our friends and neighbors in the Brazos Valley about agriculture and its impact on their everyday lives. We talk with our members about their agricultural operations, academics about technological advancements and outreach, legislators about issues that impact rural life, and a host of other people who have insight to share about our nation's food and fiber. You can watch the weekly television segment at approximately 6:15 a.m. on Thursdays or during the Saturday 6 o'clock evening news on KBTX-TV 3, Bryan-College Station's CBS affiliate." To view the video clip, please visit the ACCC homepage:


“Co-ops 101” - Topeka, KS -- July 10-11


job presenting the basics and the co-op business principles.”

“It was good for me to learn exactly how a co-op works.” “I gained a lot of information through this program.”


Plains and Meade Celebrate 100 Years Both Plains Equity Exchange and The Cooperative Elevator and Supply Company in Meade celebrated their 100th anniversary this past May. KCC Board Chairman, Ed Taylor, attended both events and presented a commemorative plaque honoring the cooperatives as a “Century Co-op.” If your co-op is approaching its 100th anniversary, we would love to help you celebrate with a Century Co-op presentation. If you have already crossed the century mark, we would like to recognize your continued service. Please contact Natalie by phone at 888-603-COOP (2667) or by email at to schedule a presentation.

Ed Taylor (center) presents plaque to Meade’s Randy Ackerman (r) and Ronald Mellard Plains honored with Century award (l to r): Stacy McVey, Clint Reiss, Edward Taylor, Dan Eakes, and Roger Holmes

CU’s Continue “Don’t Tax My Credit Union” Campaign Discussions on federal tax structure and policy are gaining strength and credit unions are finding themselves in the midst of the discussion. The American Bankers Association has called on leaders of the Senate Finance Committee to end the credit union tax exemption as a part of the Senate’s tax reform plan. In response, credit unions across the nation have joined together in the “Don’t Tax My Credit Union” campaign. The grassroots effort calls on credit union leaders and members to contact their Congressional members, particularly in the Senate, and share how the credit union tax exemption translates into benefits for credit union (financial cooperative) members. To date, over 400,000 contacts have been made. Credit unions have received federal tax-exempt status since the 1930’s. Today, more than 96 million Americans nation-wide are CU members with over 600,000 of those coming from Kansas. Credit unions have established a website where supporters can follow recent developments in Washington. The site also has a “grass roots” action center where CU members can send messages to their Congressional delegation members. You can learn more about the campaign at


Roundtable/Symposium will Focus on Your Future The KCC Leadership Roundtable will offer insights into operating your cooperative with a modern mind-set and forward vision. Circumstances are not the same as they were 100 years ago, and cooperatives must be managed with a view to the future. Examples of how to adapt to the ever-changing economic, societal and technological challenges will be given by our speakers who have met these challenges head on. This year’s agenda includes the following presenters: • Doug Allen - CEO, Vertical Turbine Specialist, Inc.

Innovative employee incentive programs and wellness programs are "hot-topics" in today's business world. Mr. Doug Allen will share Vertical Turbine's story on totally re-vamping their health care and workplace safety programs and creating an employee-centered wellness and safety culture. As CEO, Allen has led Vertical Turbine on a unique path, changing not only the workplace environment, but the lives of employees and their families. • Roberta MacDonald - Senior VP of Marketing, Cabot Creamery Co-op leaders speak often of the “co-op advantage”, the inherent benefits of the cooperative business model. But, do we really explain what that means? Do we effectively communicate what it means to be member-owned and controlled? Roberta MacDonald has thirty years of consumer product and trade marketing experience, including twenty years for Cabot Creamery Cooperative of Vermont where she is the Sr. VP of Marketing. Roberta has helped turn the small, farm family owned dairy cooperative into a national player through creative, award-winning and occasionally over-the-top campaigns. • Steve Gilliland - Keynote Speaker Today’s co-op leaders face challenges never imagined by the cooperative founders. Balancing the needs of members, maintaining profitability, charting a course forward and complying with regulatory burdens are just a handful of issues faced by modern business leaders. How do you keep perspective, let alone an appropriate sense of humor, amidst such weighty challenges? A member of the Speaker Hall of Fame, Steve Gilliland is one of the most in-demand and top-rated speakers in the world. Through humor and reality-tested techniques, Steve reveals the way to face conflicting demands in an unforgiving business environment that keeps getting tougher. The K-State Symposium will explore challenges facing the cooperative business model. These challenges range from developing new skills that are necessary for leading today's cooperative to maintaining those foundational and historical movements that initially made cooperatives successful. Agricultural and rural experts will present their views and insights on these and other challenges facing the cooperative model.

August 27 KCC Leadership Roundtable

August 28 K-State Symposium

Hilton Garden Inn Manhattan, KS Register online:


From the President’s Chair Key Issues Pending in Washington Two issues of particular interest to the cooperative family are pending in DC – passage of a farm bill and immigration reform. The Senate has advanced both a 5-year farm bill, complete with all of the traditional titles, and a comprehensive immigration reform package. The US House, as of press time, has advanced a farm bill without including the “food stamp” program and is likely to approach immigration in a piece-by-piece manner. Farm Bill Many in the ag community are pushing for resolution of a 5-year farm bill ahead of the Sept. 1 expiration of the current 1-year farm bill extension. The Senate has approved their 5-year proposal, complete with standard ag and nutrition provisions, though some programs have been tweaked and funding adjusted. The House failed to pass their comprehensive package. In an effort to advance some measure to conference, the chamber narrowly passed a version that omitted food stamps and repealed the tie-back to the 1949 “permanent law”. The 216-208 vote split mostly down partisan lines with 14 Republicans joining Democrats as “nay” votes and only Republicans voting for the measure. Generally, 218 votes are needed to pass but 216 was a majority of those in attendance on July 11, so it was enough to advance the measure. The House’s action to bifurcate food stamps from the farm provisions is historic. Farm bills have encompassed the growing of agricultural products and dietary assistance since the 1970’s when Bob Dole, then a Republican House member, and Senator George McGovern, a Democrat, crafted a combined bill. The combination was designed to give urban legislators a reason to support farm programs and rural legislators a reason to support food stamps. Since then, every farm bill until now has had bipartisan support. Removal of the provisions that return farm programs to the 1949 “permanent law”, should a farm bill expire without extension, is also controversial. That provision is seen by some as archaic but others consider it a threat that forces lawmakers to actually come up with a new plan. Questions have been asked, from both a parliamentary and political standpoint, regarding the possibility of the final conference report containing food stamp provisions. Procedurally, it does seem possible, at this time, that food stamps can be melded into a final conference package, even though it did not pass the House. Another option is for the House to actually pass a food stamp bill so they have a solid position from which to conference. Conventional wisdom predicts the Senate will not even consider a farm bill absent food stamps. July is drawing to an end as I draft this column and lawmakers will break for their traditional summer hiatus from DC during August recess, so time is of the essence to construct a conference package ahead of the Sept. 1 expiration of the current extended bill. Immigration The Kansas Cooperative Council has, for years, fought against over-burdensome, state-level immigration proposals. We have continually advocated for federal government reforms that ensure a viable workforce for agri-business and agriculture. The KCC encouraged support for S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, as a means of moving forward on comprehensive reform. Carefully crafted agriculture provisions are included within S. 744. The ag package is the result of near-historic negotiations between ag members of the Agriculture Workforce Coalition (AWC) and the United (cont. pg. 10)


From the President’s Chair (cont.) (cont. from pg. 9) Farm Workers. The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC), of which the KCC is a member, was a key player in pulling the compromise together. The ag pieces include new visa programs to replace the current visa program that is broken beyond repair and addresses retention of current, trained workers, which is of particular importance to our dairy co-op members. More information on the AWC is available at The Senate proposal, first advanced by a bi-partisan group of Senators known as the “Gang of Eight”, is a good bill. It is not “perfect”. Very few pieces of legislation are even close to “perfect”. Legislation is a process of addressing multiple viewpoints and developing a product which covers most of the priorities in the best manner possible. The bill addresses many of the concerns Kansas business interests have worked on over the years, as such, the KCC and our partners in the Kansas Business Coalition for Immigration Reform encouraged support for the measure and continue to support this comprehensive framework. Opponents to S. 744 have focused some of their core arguments on the idea of closing borders before addressing undocumented individuals already in the US and addressing undocumented persons either through deportation or permanently disallowing a path to citizenship. Often, these arguments ignore underlying facts and issues of the immigration debate. There is no denying that immigrant entry into the US needs to be addressed. Mechanisms need to be in place to regulate the flow of persons across our borders. Thus, strong border protections across lands and at ports of entry are critical. The US needs to enhance our border protection. But, we need to do it in tandem with other reforms, not as a pre-cursor to other changes. Immigration issues are multi-faceted so a multi-pronged solution is necessary and we need it sooner rather than later. So, then, how should we address the vast number of persons already here in the US who came in without proper documentation or have over-stayed their visas? Some advocate for mass deportation under the mantra “what part of illegal don’t you understand?” That makes for a great sound-bite, but ignores some real policy issues. While it is technically “illegal” for one to enter the US without papers or to over-stay a visa, it is not a “crime”. It is not violation of criminal law, but rather a civil law offense. That is a technical, but important, distinction. The Senate proposal takes a middle-of–the road approach to addressing those currently in the US under undocumented status. Individuals are not granted blanket “amnesty” and excused from their civil offense. But, there is a way for them to be granted “legal status” and legal status is not the same as “citizenship.” There will be fines and increased lengths of time, more than twelve years, before they can even apply for citizenship, so there is an element of “punishment” for their actions. All of this is predicated on the fact that they have no felony criminal records, as well. There is no doubt our immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed. It needs to be addressed at the federal level to provide uniform treatment across jurisdictions and avoid piece-meal approaches. Years of “kicking the can down the road” past the next election have allowed immigration problems to multiply. We need Congressional action now and it needs to be comprehensive. We encourage our Kansas delegation in the US House to push for immigration reform which, even if taken bill-by-bill in the House, encompass broad-based, overall reform.


CoBank Announces Renewal Of "Sharing Success" Charitable Contribution Program (CoBank News Release, June 26, 2013) CoBank, a cooperative bank serving agribusinesses, rural infrastructure providers and Farm Credit associations throughout the United States, today announced that it is renewing its "Sharing Success" program in 2013. The bank's board of directors has approved the commitment of $3 million to match charitable contributions made by cooperative customers between now and the end of the year. The bank will match donations on a dollar-for-dollar basis, from a minimum of $1,000 up to a maximum of $5,000 per customer. CoBank first launched the program in 2012 in conjunction with the International Year of Cooperatives. "The response from customers to our Sharing Success program last year was overwhelming," said Bob Engel, CoBank's president and chief executive officer. "Over 600 cooperatives from all the industries we serve ended up taking part, joining with CoBank to support worthy causes across rural America. We're delighted that our board has agreed to renew Sharing Success this year, and we hope even more customers will take advantage of the program in 2013." CoBank will begin formally accepting applications for funding from customers on August 1, 2013. The program will run through November 30, 2013 or the point when the fund is exhausted, whichever comes first. Cooperatives interested in participating should contact their CoBank relationship manager for an application and detailed program requirements. "The principles of concern for community and cooperation among cooperatives are central to the cooperative model," Engel said. "The Sharing Success program has been so successful because it embodies both of these important ideas. We look forward to working with our customers in the months ahead in order to help people in need and strengthen their local communities." Additional information about the "Sharing Success" program, along with an application form, is available at

Reno Appointed to Ag Advisory Board Greg Reno (Cheney), Vice president of American AgCredit, was recently appointed to a 4-year term on the State (Advisory) Board of Agriculture. The 9-member board is tasked with providing advice to both the Governor and the Secretary of Agriculture on matters related to department policy and administration. All members are appointed by the Governor. In addition to Reno, Brent Sullivan (Overland Park) was also appointed to the board and Anne Peuser (Baldwin City) was re-appointed for another term. With a solid history working with agriculture, Greg has served in various positions within the Farm Credit system. “We are very pleased to have Greg serving on the advisory board,” noted Ed Taylor, KCC Board Chairman. “His experiences as a producer, ag lender, and cooperative leader will provide important perspectives on this advisory panel.” Greg currently serves as Regional Vice President with American AgCredit located in Wichita, KS. In his current role, Greg is responsible for all aspects of the lending (cont. pg. 12)


Reno Appointed to Ag Advisory Board (cont.) (cont. from pg. 11) relationship with the Association’s loan customers in Kansas and Oklahoma. Greg has served in credit and lending roles with the Farm Credit System for the past 25 years, including the Wichita Bank for Cooperatives, CoBank, and U.S. AgBank. As a a graduate of Kansas State University, Greg has served as a board member of the KSU Ag Alumni Association. He is a member of the Kansas Livestock Association, and has served as a board member of the Farmers Cooperative Elevator (Garden Plain, KS) for nine years, including two years as Chairman. Greg is a native of Cheney, KS where he and his family currently reside. He, along with wife Kelli and 3 children, enjoy kid’s sports activities and taking care of their family farm operation, which includes wheat, cattle, and alfalfa hay. Greg’s family is active in the community, and they enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities.

Co-op Month…”Cooperatives Pounding Out Hunger” October is National Co-op Month. Cooperatives conduct activities and outreach all year long, but we look for special ways to demonstrate the value of cooperatives during Co-op Month. As a special component of our Co-op Month celebrations, the Kansas Cooperative Council board of directors would like to invite all our members to look for ways to help feed hungry people in your communities as part of your 2013 Co-op Month activities. In days gone by, communities would welcome new residents or shower newlyweds with a “pounding.” Staple products were sold in bulk, often by the pound, and families in the area would bring a pound of this or a pound of that to help stock the pantry of their friends. We want to capture that same sense of community and help “pound out hunger” in our own home towns. We encourage you to be creative in your efforts. Maybe you want to challenge members to participate? Maybe you can challenge a neighboring co-op to see which cooperative can produce the greatest donation? Maybe you want to have a canned food drive or a fundraiser so that a cash donation can be given to your local food bank? There are multiple ways that co-ops can be leaders in their community in an effort to support local charities. The KCC board, as a Co-op Month kick-off event, has challenged each other to bring at least one case of shelf-stable food to their September board meeting. The food will then be donated to a charity providing nutritional support to those in need. We hope you will keep track of the quantity of food (by case, can/box, pound) or cash donations raised through your “pounding out hunger” activities. We would like to collect those totals at the end of October and recognized the state-wide impact of our efforts. It would be wonderful to have you send us photos of your food drive activities, as well. Please send photos and short description of your event to Natalie at Together, we can help share the message of cooperatives’ concern for their community as we help feed the hungry around us.



Chairman Ed Taylor

Upcoming Events

District 3 Golden Valley, Inc. Rozel, KS

Vice Chairman Charles Gabehart

August 2013

District 1 The Nemaha County Co-op Assn. Seneca, KS

27-28 KCC Leadership Roundtable/ACCC Symposium Manhattan, KS

Secretary Kyle Eberle District 3 Right Co-op Assn. Wright, KS

Mitch Williams

September 2013

KFSA Hutchinson, KS


Alan Woodard CoBank Wichita, KS

KCC Quarterly Board Meeting Manhattan, KS

Stan Remington District 1 Ag Partners Cooperative, Inc. Hiawatha, KS

October 2013

Gary Friesen District 2 Scott Co-op Assn. Scott City, KS

James Jirak


District 2 Pro-Ag Marketing, Inc. Kensington, KS

Dan Cashier District 4 Anthony Farmers Cooperative Anthony, KS

December 2013 9-10

Rob Johnston

Director Development Program Wichita, KS

District 4 The Farmers Cooperative Grain Co. Caldwell, KS

Bruce Graham Kansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. Topeka, KS

Dave Lemke CHS, Inc. Kansas City, MO

Marla Marsh Kansas Credit Union Assn. Wichita, KS


816 SW Tyler Street Suite 300 Topeka, KS 66612 Phone: 785-233-4085 Toll Free: 888-603-COOP (2667) Email:

How You Can Become Involved More information on the KCC, our activities, and how you can become a member is available on the Council website at or by calling 888-603-COOP (2667).

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