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FVC returns $1 million in cash patronage refunds to members PDF Print E-mail
Members already received their checks
in May this year

By Russ Pankonin

The Imperial Republican

Patrons of Frenchman Valley Coop received $1 million in cash patronage dividends for the fiscal year that ended Jan. 31, 2014.
General Manager Doug Ohlson reviewed the coop’s fiscal report during their annual meeting at the Broken Arrow Winery in Imperial Tuesday morning.
Ohlson said the coop’s board approved a total of $2.5 million in patronage dividends with $1.5 million allocated to members as a non-qualified dividend.
Members pay taxes on the cash dividend with FVC paying the taxes on the non-qualified portion of $1.5 million.
Ohlson said the board opted to distribute those cash dividends in May versus waiting until the annual meeting.
That gets the cash back into the hands of members sooner, he added.
The local savings generated by sales in fiscal 2013-2014 totalled $4.3 million.
This year, the coop received patronage dividends from the coop suppliers FVC does business with. That totalled $7.3 million compared to $5.85 million for the year that ended in 2013.
Ohlson said decreased grain volume in 2012 and 2013 impacted this year’s sales, which totalled $580.7 million compared to $695.2 million for 2013.
He told patrons to expect a similar situation in grain sales for the 2014 fiscal year underway.  He said there’s just not the inventory of grain to be sold this fiscal year.
While this year’s wheat harvest will go down in the record books, he said the coop won’t see the uptick in sales until the 2015 fiscal year. That’s because much of the wheat produced this year won’t be sold until next year.
Ohlson said the coop took in a record total of 15.2 million bushels of wheat across its system this year.  That compares to 6.8 million bushels received last year.
That increase in inventory will make a positive impact going forward in the 2015 fiscal year, he said.
Facility improvements
Ohlson said the coop is just about complete with the construction of a new agronomy center at its Wheatland, Wyo., location.
Ohlson said they had originally hoped to have it completed by last April but delays set it back. He noted it will be ready for next year’s crop season.
He said it’s a key market for the company because it rests in an area with more than 65,000 acres irrigated with surface water.
Another project completed this year was the purchase and remodeling of the T-Junction facility at the corner of Hwys. 6 and 61 in Imperial.
After purchasing the property, the coop fully remodeled the building into a new convenience store and installed new concrete around the building and pump bays.
Since it opened about two months ago, Ohlson said they have been very pleased with the results.
He said they have already seen an uptick in fuel sales from over-the-road vehicles and trucks that use the Hwy. 6-61 routes. He expects truck traffic to increase as more regional truckers become aware that the facility has been fully remodeled and upgraded.
In an effort to make better use of employees, Ohlson said they have closed the store at the main station in Imperial. The service side of the operation will continue to operate there and the fuel pumps are accessible 24 hours a day with a FVC gas card or credit cards.
Ohlson said the accessibility to the pumps at the new store make it easier and more convenient for trucks and farmers to get fuel.
Earlier this year, the coop acquired the Agfinity Coop station in Benkelman.
He said the station was 180 miles from the Agfinity’s headquarters and it didn’t fit well into their trade territory.
He said they were approached by Agfinity and said it’s been a good acquisition for FVC.     
Board members re-elected
Three board members were re-elected to the board, all running unopposed.
They included Max Kaiser of Imperial, Duane Grosbach of Enders and Larry Flohr of Chappell.
Jim Haarberg of Imperial serves as president with Rick Taylor of Enders as vice-president and Kaiser as secretary.
Other board members include Steve Leibbrandt, Imperial; Jay Geu, Sidney; William “Dude” Tines, Venango; Dale Dueland, McCook; Rich Keiser, Wauneta; and John Culek Jr., Pine Bluffs, Wyo.
Associate board members include Jim Broz, Hayes Center; Galen Meeske, Imperial; Bryan Kroeker, Grant; and Mark Halstead, Dix.

 
Wilsons’ tenure at Imperial Auction Market longest in its history PDF Print E-mail

By Russ Pankonin

The Imperial Republican

Growing up, Lloyd Wilson always dreamed about owning his own sale barn.
At the age of 14, he began working at the sale barn in his hometown of Colby, Kan.
By the time he was in college, he was working four sales a week at various sale barns. He’d either work the ring or run the scales.
He continued to do that after he and his wife, Sandy, were married in 1971. In addition, they raised hogs and cattle.
Wilson had brought a load of cattle to the Imperial Auction Market back in 1981 because he heard the market was good here.
One thing led to another and in July 1981 Lloyd and Sandy owned half interest in Imperial Auction Market with Dick Buffington. Three years later, they bought out Buffington and became the sole owners.
That trip to Imperial in 1981 kicked off a 33-year venture for the Wilsons as owners of the sale barn.
Their tenure marks the longest span of a single owner in the barn’s history dating back to its start in 1935.
That reign will come to an end at the end of this week when they turn ownership of the barn over to Imperial native Preston Smith and his wife, Marissa.
The fire
Looking back on their 33 years of owning the sale barn, the thing they remember the most happened on April 11, 1997. That’s when a furnace malfunctioned and the wooden structure burned to the ground.
At that point, it was questionable whether Imperial would ever have another sale barn.
Backed by community efforts and the assistance of a Community Block Grant Loan, the Wilsons reinvested in their future by building a new sale barn facility.
They’ve never regretted that decision, even though they could have purchased other sale barns for less than it took to replace the other.
In fact, they looked at other barns in Kansas and Colorado but they couldn’t walk away from the support and customer base they had in Chase County.
While they were drawing up plans for the facility, the Wilsons had what they called “alley sales.”
Wilson said they’d bring the cattle in, sort them off into pens, and then drive down the alleys in a pickup and sell the pens of cattle from the pickup.
He said they did that a number of times through that summer and it worked out well.
By mid-October, the building was finished enough to begin holding sales in the new facility. And if the fire wasn’t enough, a tornado hit the Wilsons’ home north of Wauneta, almost six months to the day after the fire.
They repaired the home and remained there, moving to Imperial later.
Loyal customers
The Wilsons credit their success with the barn to the Imperial community and Chase County for supporting them after the fire.
They also had the support of many long-time customers who remained loyal to the sale barn and to them.
“I think they saw we were here to stay,” Lloyd said, which prompted customers to keep using their barn.
Wilsons said their employees represent a key factor why the barn has been successful.
During their last sale as owners Friday, the Wilsons called all of their help into the sale ring to recognize and then thank them for their years of service.
“You wouldn’t have a sale without them,” Sandy emphasized.
Two of the Wilsons’ three children, Julie and Doug, have been involved with the business as well. Their oldest, Lisa, 43, is a computer programmer in Omaha.
Julie, 35, spent more than 10 years working at the barn after finishing college.
Lloyd said Julie did everything and anything that needed done, from clerking to loading out cattle at midnight to running the cafe. “She did everything but auctioneer,” Lloyd said.
Six years ago, Doug and his wife, Tonya, moved back to Imperial so Doug could join the business.
Like Julie, he was involved in all facets of the business, even auctioneering. “But he never ran the cafe,” Wilson said chuckling.
Expand cattle business
Wilson said the family will stay involved with the cattle business.
He and Doug raise feeder cattle and they have invested in a feed yard that will feed 300-500-lb. calves up to feeder weight around 800 lbs. before marketing them.
Julie lives on the Wilson’s ranch north of Wauneta and has her own cattle to tend.



 
FV Coop’s Broadway convenience store closed after T-Junction site opens PDF Print E-mail

By Carolyn Lee

The Imperial Republican

The convenience store at the Frenchman Valley Coop (FVC) station in Imperial closed last Friday. Gas may still be purchased at the site at the south end of Broadway Street by credit card or FVC card.
Petroleum Division Manager Jon Sandquist said since FVC opened the T-Junction convenience store and pumps this summer, “A lot of business migrated out there anyway. Fortunately we have a better facility now at T-Junction. Unfortunately I couldn’t keep two stores open.”
Sandquist pointed out that people can pay cash for gas at T-Junction, which is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
People who had offices in the station store have moved to T-Junction but have the same telephone numbers. Sandquist said fuel orders will be taken as usual by Al Roscigno at 882-3230, Donna Ferrebee at 882-3233 or Kaye Eskew at 882-3278.
After the former store is cleared out, Sandquist said it will be used as a showroom for tires. In addition, some of the space will be made into a waiting room for people who are having tires fixed or vehicles serviced at the adjoining shop.

 
McNair earns MassMutual Blue Chip Circle Elite status PDF Print E-mail

Patrick L. McNair, CLU, ChFC, has been recognized as a Blue Chip Council member.
Blue Chip Council members of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) are some of the best in the company.
Blue Chip Circle members represent approximately five percent of the total company field force and are recognized as being among the top producers at MassMutual.
McNair has been a top financial professional working with local businesses through Continuum Financial, a general agency of MassMutual, since 1973, and enjoys seeing the family running the business as they experience a business succession event.
His work with business entities includes business continuation advising, advising for risks associated with the death or disability of an owner or key employee and tax-efficient ways of passing the family business to the next generation.
A native of Imperial, he holds CLU® and ChFC® designations. He is currently involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes on local and state levels, serves on the board of Mission Nebraska and is an active member of Imperial Bible Church.
He also serves on the board of Niños de la Luz, an international ministry to homeless children.

 


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