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Propane Autogas

Propane in the autogas industry has been gaining momentum as an alternative, economical fuel source. Landmark Services Cooperative’s Roger Hildreth highlights the many great benefits.
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Landmark Services Cooperative Announces James Dell as New CEO

Landmark Services Cooperative (LSC) is pleased to announce its board of directors has appointed James (Jim) Dell as the new chief executive officer, effective March 5, 2018. Jim has comprehensive management experience spanning 30 years in the cooperative system.

“After an extensive CEO search and interview process, the board is pleased to have found the best individual to assume the leadership of our cooperative,” said John Blaska, LSC chairman of the board. “The board and I are delighted that Jim will lead Landmark into its next stage of growth.”

Jim grew up on a 500-head cow-calf operation in Conde, South Dakota, cultivating 3,200 acres of row crops and small grains. Jim, who holds a degree in ag business from Southwest State University in Marshall, Minnesota, began his career at Harvest States and regionally owned locations of Land O’Lakes. After 19 years with Central Valley Cooperative focusing on primarily grain and feed business, Jim joined Cooperative Producers Incorporated in Hastings, Nebraska, as their vice president of grain, managing 82 million bushels of grain storage. He also led the transportation division consisting of a 55-vehicle fleet and was instrumental in developing a safety-first culture.

“I am very excited for the opportunity to lead this exceptional cooperative that understands the strength of technology, innovation and the ever-changing agricultural environment,” said Dell. “I look forward to working with the board of directors to develop a strong, clear vision that will help the organization be mutually successful with its member-owners. I understand that, as our patrons grow, we need to grow as a cooperative to meet their future needs.”

Posted in Landmark News

Creating SMART Energy Goals

With a complete evaluation of your operation and energy program in tip-top shape, the final step to set yourself up for success in 2018 is creating goals that are SMART:

  • S – Set specific Goals that are too broad or lacking direction are forgotten.
  • M – Goals should be measurable. Though sometimes hard to quantify, including precise amounts can make your goals easily trackable. Stay on pace!
  • A – Set attainable Make sure any goal you create is within reasonable reach.
  • R – Goals should be You will need to make sure your goals are in line with the direction you would like to take your operation.
  • T – Goals should be time bound. Though it may seem like a daunting task, setting calendar deadlines on goals create urgency and hold you accountable to completing them.

Setting up and following through on operational goals gives you a long-term vision as well as short term motivation to get the ball rolling. Having a conversation with your trusted operational advisors about your goals for 2018 can strengthen your abilities to complete your goals – the first step towards your continued success is to create them!

Examples:

  1. Book 40% of my fuel use (4,000g) for 2018 within the window of $2.20 – $2.35 by the end of March. Layer in an additional 20% (2,000g) by the end of the year.
  2. Reorganize the shop lubricants area by February 1st. Connect with Landmark Energy Representative to see what my options are to increase floor space. Top off bulk oil tanks (125g of Quiklift and 50g of 15W40) before Gift Cards for Gallons promotion ends – February 28th.
  3. Make a habit of keeping a closer eye on energy markets by utilizing BarChart (or other market information source) and text message market updates from Landmark Energy Representative and get up to date on the energy markets a minimum of once a week.

 

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Assessing your Current Energy Program

After using the SWOT analysis – looking at your operation as a whole may have been easier than breaking down your energy program. How do you evaluate an energy program? What factors count? Here is a solid list of items to take into consideration that may not have crossed your mind:

  • Purchasing Process: How do you purchase? Are you buying your energy products at opportune times? Do you have a target price for all your energy products? At what price/gallon is your operation still profitable?
  • Market Knowledge: Are you in tune with the energy markets? Do you have a reliable source for market information? How can market information improve your energy program?
  • Risk Management: How can you manage risk through your energy program? Do you contract a portion of your fuel and LP cost?
  • Storage: Do you have adequate fuel and LP storage for your operation? Is this year the time to increase storage? How would your operation benefit from more storage? Is your oil storage working for you? How can you save shop/farm space by changing up your organization?
  • Maintenance: When was the last time you looked over your tanks and storage equipment? Is everything working smoothly or are they cracked, old, broken, or costing you money? How would performing short, routine checks on tanks and filters, or routine tank cleanings improve your bottom line? Has everything been checked for leaks?
  • Equipment Issues: What does your annual repair bill run you? What is the ultimate cost of having downtime? Are there missing pieces to your energy program that can further assist you in reducing these costs?

With all these factors taken into account, where does it leave you? The next step for setting up a successful 2018 is to create SMART goals according to your personal operation assessment and put them to work. How can I, or your personal Landmark Energy Representative, help answer some of these questions and get goals lined up to make your 2018 a grand slam? The Landmark Services Cooperative Energy Team is here to help you find solutions to make 2018 a year for the books.

This blog is part two of a three part series brought to you by Rachel Petersen, Energy Product Specialist, who is based at our Brodhead location. 

 

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Grain – A Major Contributor to Feed Quality

At Landmark, we make sure the customers are getting the best corn grain around. Landmark’s Grain Division helps do this by taking the quality of all ingredients that are used in manufacturing feed in our mills very seriously.  All ingredients must meet certain specifications and quality measures before they can be received into our manufacturing facilities.  This includes all of the locally grown corn that is used in the production process.

The USDA has a standard grading scale for all corn that includes test weight, damaged kernels, broken corn and foreign material.   We test every load of corn that goes into our mills for these traits as well as check for any other visual issues with the corn.  We utilize #2 Yellow Corn or better in our mills.  We also make sure that the moisture content of the corn is suitable for the use so that the feed flows well and has a lengthy shelf life.  We also check for any odors that might be present to be sure the grain has a sweet fresh smell.

We store grain at our facilities in anticipation for it being used in the mill as well as receive directly from the farm.  Some of the storage bins are directly connected to the mill and all the grain is tested before being put in the bin.

We also test for toxins that may be present in the corn to make sure they are below the approved thresholds for corn. Usually in Wisconsin we are in good shape as our climate and growing conditions generally limit the development of toxins in corn.  Unfortunately, it can show up occasionally, so we have official testing equipment and trained staff that look and test for these regularly.   We want to be 100% certain that all the grain is of great quality and is manufactured under the best practices to provide maximum performance for your animals.

Article By: Emily Sendelbach, Animal Nutrition Customer Solutions Specialist

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New Year’s Resolutions: Energy Assessment

A fresh start to the calendar often opens the door to reassess what is working well, as well as opportunities for improvement. In addition to the list of personal goals we all carry around and forget about by March – where are your operation goals?  Are they left behind by March 1st as well? Do you annually consider your energy program to reassess what’s working?

I hope that these questions are not overly challenging to answer, but often times the answers can be hard to digest. There is a simple tool to help break things down – a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis breaks down an operation, idea, or topic into four categories: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. A SWOT analysis used in broad terms can assess your operation as a whole, or it can assess something as specific as your operation’s energy program.

 

Example: Dairy Operation

 

Example: Energy Program

As we welcome a new year, this is the opportune time to strengthen your business strategy by reassessing what is working, and what needs improvement within your operation or energy program. I, or your local Landmark Energy Product Specialist, are here to assist in answering questions about putting your energy program back on track. Taking the first step by looking at your current situation today has the ability to put you ahead in 2018.

 

This blog is part of a three part series brought to you by Rachel Petersen, Energy Product Specialist, who is based at our Brodhead location. 

 

 

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Help your Calves Beat the Bitter Weather with these Top Tips!

Next week will bring cold weather that we have yet to experience this year.  While there are many concerns on a farm when cold weather strikes, your calves’ well being is undoubtedly one of them. Here are some quick tips from Jeff Geier, resident calf expert on Landmark’s Animal Nutrition team.

  1. Offer clean fresh water several times per day.
  2. Be sure you are delivering the milk bottles to the calves at the proper temperature. Milk can easily cool off between mixing and delivery.
  3. Use calf blankets with young calves or those ones who need a little extra help.
  4. Ensure clean FRESH starter is available
  5. There should be enough bedding for the calf to “nest” and curl up in
  6. Keep all drafts off calves
  7. Make sure there is adequate air movement
  8. NEW CALVES should receive a proper amount of colostrum immediately after birth.

To learn more about managing for cold weather or calf management, call or email Jeff at 608-558-0233 or jeff.geier@landmark.coop

Posted in Animal Nutrition, BlogTagged , , , , ,

5 Tips for a Warm Flock this Winter

  1. Draft free coop
  • Any drafts can be a major heat loss for your flock in the chilly nights. You can repair drafts with Styrofoam spray but make sure it gets covered afterwards or somewhere the chickens can’t peck at it. Another good option is using plywood. With trying to keep the coop draft free, keep in mind you also need to have good ventilation. Not having the proper ventilation can lead to ammonia and moisture build up.
  1. Deep litter method
  • Using the deep litter method is a great way to help insulate the coop during the winter months. The best way to prepare the deep litter method is preparing the bedding before winter comes. Apply a layer of shavings or organic matter to the floor of the coop. Instead of cleaning/replacing the litter just stir up the bedding with a rake and place more clean bedding on top. Do this until there is about 6in of litter accumulated in the coop.
  1. Proper roosting
  • Make sure that your chickens can roost and there is enough room for all the chickens to roost so they can huddle together to help keep warm. Ideally having a roost that is 2ft off the ground helps insure they won’t have contact with the cold ground.
  1. Feed
  • Feeding them cracked corn or scratch grains as an added supplement at night can help with keeping your flock warm as they digest it.
  1. Help against frostbite
  • During the coldest winter days any breeds that have large combs and wattle are more susceptible to frostbite. To help protect them you can cover their combs and wattles with petroleum jelly.
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