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Wheat Growers Annual Meeting Celebrates Being “Planted Here”

Wheat Growers member-owners gathered in Huron January 15 for the 2013 annual meeting with the theme, “Planted Here.” Board President Hal Clemensen said the theme, “…says a great deal about your cooperative, its mission, its people and its goals.”

CEO Dale Locken noted that Wheat Growers finished with a record year in terms of sales, $1.8 billion, that resulted in $27.5 million in earnings for the cooperative. He added, “You can have confidence in our financial strength and liquidity….as we continue to be ‘Planted Here,’ building and investing for the coming generations.”

Chief Financial Officer Blake Bomesberger presented the financial highlights for the year that included continuation of a 3.5 year bank syndication that will renew in March of 2015. Bomesberger said the 70-plus year relationship with the lead bank, CoBank, is another symbol of the cooperative’s financial stability.

The annual meeting audience also heard from Steve Briggs, Senior Vice President Agronomy and Corporate Marketing; Judy Stulken, Vice President, Human Resources and Organizational Development; Chris Pearson, Senior Vice President, Operations; and Roger Krueger, Senior Vice President, Grain.

Member-owners heard from farmer, rancher, author and nationally syndicated radio broadcaster Andrew McCrea, who shared his insights into how the developing world will affect U.S. agriculture.
The featured lunch speaker was South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Lucas Lentsch, who encouraged farmers to expect Congress to “do their chores” and pass a Farm Bill.

The final speaker of the day asked Wheat Growers if a drone would be their next piece of equipment. Robert Blair is a fourth generation Idaho farmer who is an advocate of using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for precision agriculture. He said agriculture will be the first industry that will be commercially allowed by the Federal Aviation Administration to use UAVs.