Monthly Newsletter – June 2021
The monthly newsletter is sent to members with each monthly statement. View the Monthly Newsletter for news and important information from your cooperative.
Final annual meeting as Landmark Services Cooperative
COTTAGE GROVE, WI, March 2, 2021 – Landmark Services Cooperative held the 88th annual meeting on February 25, 2021, virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
The meeting was called to order by Board Chairman Jim Lange. Lange then welcomed guests and introduced the board of directors prior to giving his chairman’s report.
Secretary Kevin Klahn reported on the minutes from last year’s annual meeting and informed the group that these had been approved at the January 2020 board of directors’ meeting.
Chairman Lange gave the chairman’s report including topics addressing COVID-19 challenges and how Landmark overcame them to keep business running efficiently, the upcoming merger with Countryside Cooperative, board of directors’ training, a recap on the donations made through the Landmark Gives Back program, including scholarships, summer lunch programs, breakfast on the farm, Lennox Feel the Love program, and the Second Harvest Foodbank contributions, and the hopeful prospect of hosting customer appreciation events later in 2021
Jeff Brandenburg, independent auditor, stated that CliftonLarsonAllen found Landmark’s financial statements to be accurate and issued an unqualified opinion on the financial statements.
Chief Financial Officer Keith Arnold presented the financial report comprising of an overview of the 2020 statement of operations performance, consolidated balance sheet, financial analysis for the past five years of working capital, local net worth and cash returned to patrons. Arnold also touched on Landmark’s PPP loan through the SBA.
President and CEO Jim Dell provided the management report and opened by thanking Landmark’s members, board of directors and employees. Dell’s report provided a recap of the 2020 fiscal year and an overview of Landmark’s equity, section 199A deduction, and capital expenditures. Dell recapped the focus of the 2020 fiscal year – 2020 and Beyond – which included evaluating and optimizing staffing needs and Landmark’s asset base, improving sales growth, growing Verity Financing, completing key capital expenditure projects within budget, and improving communications to our members. Dell also discussed the ‘Partnering for 2021’ theme that focuses on the board, management team, and the NEWCO team living the Mission of “Advancing our customers through innovative and responsible solutions” while focusing on the Vision “Customer success powered by engaged employees”, and while adhering to the key Values of safety, integrity, passion, accountability, and financial responsibility.
Chairman Lange reviewed the bylaw amendments that had been passed; two amendments were due to the COVID-19 pandemic and four were specifically related to the merger with Countryside.
Director Jon Prochnow announced his stepping down from Landmark’s Board of Directors. Jon served on the board for 9 years. During his time, Jon helped spearhead steady growth of the cooperative, including the Fall River elevator and merger with Countryside. In his remarks he spoke highly of the cooperative, CEO Dell and the Board of Directors, and their dedication.
Chairman Lange called for any new business and there was none. It was announced that the FY2021 annual meeting would be held the week of December 13, 2021, likely with two meetings, one in the north region and one in the south region. The meeting was adjourned.
To watch the annual meeting livestream recording or read any of the materials, please visit our Annual Meeting web page.
Two Wisconsin-based cooperatives, Landmark Services Cooperative and Countryside Cooperative have officially merged as of 12:01 a.m. CST on March 1, 2021. “As we focused on the benefits the merger would bring, we quickly realized that growing together would only make us stronger,” said Board Chairman Jim Lange. “The board is excited for what the weeks, months and years to come will look like for the new co-op.”
Members of both boards determined that joining the resources of two long-standing, successful cooperatives will increase their competitive advantage in ever-changing local and global agriculture markets and drive increased value to members and employees. Countryside members voted ‘yes’ to the merger in August 2020.
For both cooperatives, this is another chapter in the long and storied histories of mergers and growth—one that is focused on making our new cooperative better for members, customers, employees and communities. As these two organizations come together to create one unified business unit, we want to acknowledge that the legacy of the mother companies will remain strong.
“Landmark and Countryside are committed to proactively facing the challenges in the marketplace and helping our members and employees thrive,” said Jim Dell, Landmark CEO and President and CEO and President of the new cooperative. “The board and employees of the new cooperative will live the mission of “advancing our customers through innovative and responsible solutions” while focusing on our vision “customer success powered by engaged employees,” and all while adhering to our values of safety, integrity, passion, accountability, and financial responsibility.”
The newly formed cooperative is in the process of rebranding, working on a new trademark name, logo development and more with an external marketing agency. A name and branding announcement will come later in 2021. In the interim, the new cooperative will be co-branding digital platforms and documents such as statements.
The new cooperative will serve more than 26,000 members, employ over 800 people (includes full-time, part-time and seasonal), and generate annual sales in excess of $600M. The combined organization will be headquartered in Cottage Grove, WI.
The cooperative will continue to maintain operations and staff at multiple locations, with an expanded geographical footprint covering Southern and West-Central Wisconsin, Northern Illinois, Eastern Iowa, and Eastern Minnesota. The new coop will offer benefits including innovative logistics opportunities, sharing of agronomy assets, and backup feed mill options.
“The board of directors feel positive about this decision to merge two strong organizations. This decision allows the new cooperative to compete within the ag industry while being profitable and protecting our members’ equities,” said Board Vice Chairman, John Creaser.
“The hard work and dedication that every one of our employees has given to our new organization to make today and future days possible does not go unnoticed. Without the support from the staff and our board of directors, this merger would not have been possible,” commented Dell.
COTTAGE GROVE, WI, Feb. 23, 2021 – Landmark Services Cooperative is pleased to announce the winners of its annual scholarships. The cooperative recently presented 19 scholarships of $1,000 each to a group of local high school seniors and collegiate students pursuing post-secondary education. Scholarships were awarded during Landmark’s annual scholarship recipient “luncheon” which was held virtually this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Recipients were able to discuss future goals and aspirations with Landmark staff and board chairman during the reception.
“We are proud to invest in the future of agriculture. It is a pleasure to help students along their academic journey. By awarding scholarships, we are able to set students on a path to success,” emphasized Jim Dell, CEO of Landmark Services Cooperative.
The Landmark scholarship program encourages academic, professional and leadership development. Landmark is delighted to announce the 2020-21 winners:
Cade Austin – Milton, WI, parents Ron & Michelle
Kayla Blum – Polo, IL, parents Matthew & Krista
Benjamin Copeland – Belleville, WI, parents Chris & Amy
Hannah Dahl – Columbus, WI, parents Taylor & Sarah
Julie Fisher – Zion, IL, parent Mike Richards
Brooklynn Hollis – German Valley, IL, parents Todd & Jodi
Bryanna Hunsicker – Sun Prairie, WI, parent William
Quincee Johnson – Evansville, WI, parents David & Rene
Jacob Kafer – Omro, WI, parents Patrick & Stacy
Elizabeth Katzman – Whitewater, WI, parents Wes & Katy
Signe Brooke Kind – Jefferson, WI, parents Jeff & Deb
Katelyn King – Brownsville, WI, parents Janel & Rob
Kyu Lor – Deerfield, WI, parents Mary & Wa
Luke McCullough – Monroe, WI, parents Mark & Amy
Brenna Meier – Belleville, WI, parents Chris & Robert
Sydni Mell – Waunakee, WI, parents Steve Mell & Kay Nelson
Kylee Sebranek – Lone Rock, WI, parents Rob & Denise
Erin Strauss – Lake Mills, WI, parents Bruce & Tammy
Chloe Uhlenhake – Burlington, WI, parents Judy & Ken
Landmark has awarded 380 scholarships totaling $245,850 to date to students since 1989 in support of building a strong future for its members, its communities and the world. “For many years, Landmark Services Cooperative has demonstrated a commitment to investing in the future of agriculture and the communities it serves. Providing scholarships for the children of co-op members is just one of the many ways Landmark delivers on that commitment. This year’s recipients are poised for a bright future. They have excelled not only in academics, but also in their personal and extra-curricular endeavors,” said Jim Lange, Landmark’s board chairman.
Recipients were selected from a pool of applicants based on cumulative grade point average, leadership, scholastic achievement, extracurricular activities, personal motivation and academic and career goals. All members and employees of Landmark Services Cooperative and their children attending four-year universities, two-year technical programs or short courses and high school seniors planning for post-secondary education were eligible to apply for the awards.
Landmark Services Cooperative Supports Second Harvest Share Your Holidays Campaign
Over 100,000 meals provided to families in need
COTTAGE GROVE, WI – During the season of giving, Landmark Services Cooperative helped local families in need by supporting Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin, southwestern Wisconsin’s largest hunger-relief charity. Thanks to the generosity of employees, members, and partners, Landmark provided Second Harvest with funding for over 100,000 meals.
2020 is the 25th anniversary of the NBC15 Share Your Holidays campaign. What started out as a fleeting idea to hold a simple food drive at a local grocery store by late NBC15 News Anchor Mike McKinney, has grown into one of the largest food and fund drives in the entire country each year, providing more than 51 million meals to date.
Over the course of the campaign, Landmark employees participated in various events that included an online auction, a mystery envelope game and virtual office bingo. Money raised from each of the events was donated to the campaign. An employee prize drawing, generously sponsored by NutraBlend, helped raise additional funds.
“The NBC15 Share Your Holidays campaign is one of the largest food and fund drives in the Midwest thanks in part to our generous campaign sponsors like Landmark Services Cooperative,” said Michelle Orge, president and CEO, Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin. “When combined with the support we receive from other sponsors and the general public, the campaign provides 20%-25% of the meals we provide all year. In a tough year for everyone, we are incredibly grateful that Landmark is once again living up to its commitment to making our community a better place to live. The food we will be able to provide as a result of their generosity will provide a little certainty during an uncertain time.”
Landmark is proud to be a diamond sponsor of Second Harvest as part of the cooperative’s philanthropic efforts to end hunger. This is Landmark’s eighth year of partnering with the food bank, which meets nearly one million annual requests for help with food security in the 16 counties it serves.
“Aiding in the effort to eliminate hunger in our communities is deeply important to us at Landmark,” said Chrissy Long, Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist. “Second Harvest is doing crucial work, and Share Your Holidays is a wonderful event that we’re proud to support. We’re grateful for the caring and generous hearts of everyone at Landmark who rallied to raise funds for the food bank.”
Photo caption: Landmark CEO and President Jim Dell presents the check to Second Harvest Foodbank with over 100,000 meals for families in need.