Wheat Growers’ annual meeting celebrates growth, innovation and ag advocacy

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Farm Forum

Wheat Growers member-owners gathered in Aberdeen on January 14 for the 2015 annual meeting with the theme, “Planted Here.” Board President Hal Clemensen outlined Wheat Growers’ progress this year, “moving your cooperative forward on a number of fronts.” He said the groundbreaking last summer for the cooperative’s state-of-the-art grain and agronomy facility at Kennebec, South Dakota, was one example.

“This past year you saw Wheat Growers taking a more aggressive stance in speaking up,” Clemensen said, “providing leadership and ideas for agriculture to local, state and national leaders and governments in a non-partisan way. Non-partisan in terms of political parties, but very partisan in the support of agriculture. For over 91 years Wheat Growers has been planted here in the Dakotas, helping you grow stronger.”

Wheat Growers CEO Dale Locken told the member-owners that 2014 was a year of adjustment, as the ag economy has adjusted back to more traditional times. He said the cooperative will continue to improve and prepare for growth with an eye to the future and a keen focus on efficiency.

A Wheat Growers Leadership Panel made up of Blake Bomesberger, Chief Financial Officer; 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; gave the member-owners their overview of the year.

Jeff Hainline, President of Advanced Trading, Inc., shared his views on “Record Crops and Dynamic Global Change.” He said there are few reasons to believe that the dynamic changes occurring since 2008 will stop.

“The Future of Ag Innovation” was the focus of lunch speaker Ty Vaughn’s speech. Vaughn is the Monsanto Vice President of U.S. Technology Development and Agronomy. “What we’re thinking through is, what are the ways we can piece together the various solutions that we’re working on through various innovative platforms,” Vaughn said.

Troy and Stacy Hadrick, Advocates for Agriculture, wrapped up the day, encouraging everyone involved in agriculture to combat negativity toward agriculture by standing up and telling their own story rather than letting someone else do the talking for them.

CEO Dale Locken summed up the day, noting that, “We are planted here in our communities, and we are planted here for our members’ growth as we continue to invest in services, technology, facilities and employees to help you ensure a bright future for generations to come.”