Students storm the Hill with fresh perspectives and CHS support

When people ask CHS Government Affairs staff what it’s like to work as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., they’re always curious about how the political landscape has changed in recent years. Sarah Gallo, director, CHS Government Affairs, is happy to share anecdotes, but she’d rather discuss how the conversation about agriculture has evolved. Students, farmers and the ag industry will carry that message to Capitol Hill on National Ag Day, to be celebrated March 20 in Washington, D.C., and across the country.

“In meetings with policy makers, the viewpoints of producers are considered alongside those of both traditional and non-traditional allies and opponents,” Gallo said. “And while the diversity of voices should be applauded, it also serves as a reminder that being present in policy and regulatory conversations is critical.”

Gallo said the 100 FFA and AFA (Agriculture Future of America) students visiting legislators on National Ag Day sends a powerful message. She will meet with the students to share tips on how to succinctly deliver talking points to time-starved members of the Senate, the House of Representatives, their staff and aides.

“Agriculture is an exciting and innovative sector in our country. Students participating in Congressional meetings during National Ag Day activities can provide important perspectives as lawmakers craft legislation and regulations that will shape the farming industry for decades to come,” Gallo said. CHS has sponsored National Ag Day events for the past 25 years.

Gallo joined CHS in 2013, and said the fast pace and work is invigorating. “There is a certain thrill about walking the halls of Congress and participating in the democratic process. I am proud to work for CHS and have opportunities to interact with producers, particularly when the conversations are centered on navigating the complex, and often confusing, intersection of policy and politics. I strongly believe that this close connection to the people for whom I advocate has made me a more effective lobbyist.”

Gallo shares her commitment to agriculture in a blog, saying National Ag Day is a great way for all Americans to recognize and celebrate the value of American farmers and the agricultural industry. But, she said, it doesn’t have to end there. “Being an advocate for agriculture at home, in your neighborhood and in your community is what shifts the minds of lawmakers and transforms the landscape so that future generations can thrive in rural America.”

CHS also sponsors the National Ag Day essay contest, awarding $1,000 scholarships to two students submitting the winning written or video essays. Read the winning essay by Rio Bonham, Tishomingo, Oklahoma, and watch the winning video essay by Zoey McCormick, Carlisle, Indiana, here.

Hunger happens everywhere. Farmers, CHS team up to fight hunger in rural America


CHS Harvest for Hunger fights hunger in rural America


CHS is teaming up with local farmers to fight hunger in rural America. The CHS Harvest for Hunger food, grain and fund drive begins March 1 and continues through March 20 at your nearest CHS location.

“CHS does much of its business in rural America, and even though these rural communities are growing the crops that feed a hungry world, that doesn’t mean there isn’t hunger right here — the family next door, the neighbor down the street,” says Rick Dusek, executive vice president, CHS Country Operations. “We may not know who in our communities are going hungry, but through our CHS Harvest for Hunger campaign, we are helping local and regional food shelves feed those people in need.”

CHS Harvest for Hunger logo

Food insecurity exists in every country in America, according to Feeding America, but food insecurity is generally higher in rural households than urban. And one in six children in the U.S. face hunger.

Since 2011, CHS has raised more than $4.7 million and 3.4 million pounds of food through its Country Operations business units. Again this year, CHS locations across the United States are planning fun and interactive ways to rally the communities where they live and work to raise food and funds to fight hunger.

Financial donations are encouraged as they give food banks additional buying power to provide nutritious food at deeply discounted rates; $1 equals 6 pounds of food for area food banks. But food and grain donations are also accepted. Every donation counts.

“The food and funds raised by CHS Harvest for Hunger go directly back to local and regional food banks to help fill their shelves,” Dusek. “We are proud to partner with them to make every dollar stretch further.”

CHS Elburn will accept non-perishable goods from March 1 through March 20 at the following locations: Sycamore Agronomy, Sycamore Main Office, Elburn Office, Meredith Road, Newark Agronomy and Newark Grain. The food will be delivered to local food pantries.. When rural communities work together, they make a huge impact in the lives of those in need.

Help CHS Elburn Fight Hunger through CHS Harvest for Hunger 2018

CHS Elburn is gathering donations of food to help fight hunger. As part of CHS Harvest for Hunger food and fund drive, CHS Elburn will accept non-perishable goods from March 1 through March 20 at the following locations: Sycamore Agronomy, Sycamore Main Office, Elburn Office, Meredith Road, Newark Agronomy and Newark Grain. The food will be delivered to local food pantries.

Hunger is a reality for more than 40 million people in America, including 13.1 million children. Every pound raise through CHS Harvest for Hunger will go to local shelves to help friends and neighbors right here in our community. Help us fill the shelves by dropping off a donation at a location near you!

CHS Elburn Announces Board Election Results

Kent Kleckner Roger Nelson

CHS Elburn is pleased to announce the election of two new members to our Board of Directors: Roger Nelson and Kent Kleckner. Nelson and Kleckner were elected to a three-year term on the 7-member board at the CHS Elburn Annual Meeting on Feb. 12.

Kent Kleckner began farming in 1994 with his father in Maple Park, Illinois. In 2011 his father retired, and Kent is now farming 1,400 acres of corn and soybeans. He graduated from Joliet Junior College with a degree in Agricultural Business.

Roger Nelson began farming in 1975 with his brother as Nelson Partnership in Malta, IL. He farms 1,200 acres of corn and soybeans. Roger and his brother were farrow to finish hogs until 1997 and joined a sow center and presently are wean to finish marketing 3000 plus per year. Roger received his Bachelor’s degree in Agronomy and Ag Economics from University of Illinois Champaign Urbana

Other directors selected as offices for 2018 were:

  • Chris Gould, Board Chair
  • Richard Biddle, Vice Chair


CHS Elburn would also like to thank outgoing board members, Ed Gorenz and Mark Schramer, for their time spent on the CHS Elburn board.

CHS Elburn Annual Meeting

Top 4 reasons to attend your annual meeting

On February 12, 2018, CHS Elburn will hold our annual meeting at 5:30pm at the Sycamore main office located at 108 N. Main Street, Sycamore, IL. As an owner, you’re invited. Here are the top four reasons why you should make a point to attend:

#4: Network with other co-op members, who often are your friends and neighbors. It’s a great time to share news and new ideas over a cup of coffee. And we’ll have lots of coffee.

#3: Hear the latest on products and services, capital projects, budgets, how our co-op performed last year and much more.

#2: Make your voice heard. Ask questions and take the opportunity to comment on proposed plans and strategies for our co-op’s future. No other kind of business lets you have a say in how it works, so speak up!

#1:Find out the results of the Producer Board election. In a co-op, you get to choose who sets the policies and direction for the organization when you vote for your producer board. We sent the ballots out in early January, come see who your new board members are!

We hope to see you there!

Now Accepting Applications | CHS Elburn Scholarship Fund


CHS Elburn is proud to announce that we will be offering graduating high school seniors and students currently enrolled as an undergraduate at a university, a chance to apply for a CHS Elburn Scholarship. Last year, 12 students were awarded with a $1,000 scholarship.

The CHS Elburn Scholarship fund was created through an endowment with the DeKalb County Community Foundation, a nonprofit foundation that enhances the quality of life in DeKalb County through endowments and donor services, stewardship, grantmaking and community initiatives. The fund was created as a lasting memory to the legacy created by Elburn Cooperative and to support the communities that strengthen the cooperative.

In order to qualify DCCF Logofor these scholarships, the applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a family member of a current CHS Elburn customer who conducts a minimum of $10,000 of business per year or be a family member of a current CHS Elburn employee.
  • Be a graduating high school senior or student currently enrolled as an undergraduate in an accredited college or university anywhere in the United States.
  • Pursuing an undergraduate degree in any field of study. Preference may be give to those in Agriculture-related fields.
  • Previous scholarship recipients may apply, although preference may be given to those who have not been awarded a scholarship in the past.


The CHS Elburn Scholarship Application can be found on the DeKalb County Community Foundation website. The completed scholarship application must be returned to the DeKalb County Community Foundation at 475 DeKalb Ave., Sycamore, IL 60178 by 5:00 p.m. on March 15, 2018.

We are proud to support our local youth in agriculture. It pays to invest in our local future agricultural business leaders.



CHS reports $180.1 million first quarter earnings for fiscal 2018

CHS President and CEO, Jay Debertin

CHS reported net income of $180.1 million for the first quarter of its 2018 fiscal year (three-month period ended Nov. 30, 2017), compared to net income of $209.2 million for the same period a year ago.

Consolidated revenues for the first quarter of fiscal 2018 were $8.0 billion, the same as fiscal 2017. Pretax income was $199.6 million and $225.6 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2018 and 2017, respectively.

“Despite challenging market conditions, CHS experienced a solid first quarter thanks to our continued focus on three key priorities: strengthening relationships, sharpening operational excellence and restoring financial flexibility,” said CHS President and Chief Executive Officer Jay Debertin. “In the first quarter, we recorded solid earnings from our businesses and reduced long-term debt. These actions are helping to strengthen and grow CHS.”


For the first quarter of fiscal 2018, reporting segment results were:


  • Energy generated pretax income of $113.1 million during the first quarter, compared to $70.0 million during the same period last year.
  • The $43.1 million increase was primarily driven by improved margins within refined fuels.


  • The Ag segment, which includes domestic and global grain marketing and crop nutrients businesses, renewable fuels, local retail operations, and processing and food ingredients, generated pretax income of $74.5 million for the three months ended Nov. 30, 2017, compared to $109.2 million for the same period the previous fiscal year.
  • The $34.7 million decrease was primarily the result of lower margins in grain marketing, processing and food ingredients and renewable fuels. Lower volumes in grain marketing and processing and food ingredients also contributed to the decrease.
  • The decrease was partially offset by an increase in earnings in the crop nutrients and country operations businesses.

Nitrogen Production

  • This segment is comprised of the company’s investment in CF Industries Nitrogen, LLC (CF Nitrogen), and generated pretax income of $5.7 million during the first quarter of fiscal 2018, compared to $27.0 million during the same time in fiscal 2017.
  • The decrease in earnings was primarily due to a gain of $29.1 million from an embedded derivative associated with CF Nitrogen that was recognized in fiscal 2017. There was no comparable gain in the current fiscal year.
  • This decrease was partially offset by higher urea and urea ammonium nitrate prices.


  • This segment is comprised of the company’s investment in Ventura Foods, LLC (Ventura Foods), and generated pretax income of $1.0 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2018, compared to $10.6 million during the same period of fiscal 2017.
  • The decrease in earnings was due to lower margins at Ventura Foods.

Corporate and Other

  • This category is primarily comprised of the company’s wheat milling joint venture and its financing, hedging and insurance operations, and generated pretax income of $5.3 million in the first quarter of 2018, compared to $8.7 for the same period of fiscal 2017.
  • The decrease in earnings was due to lower earnings from the wheat milling joint venture and less interest revenue due to amending a receivables securitization agreement in late FY17, pursuant to which we no longer receive interest income from those receivables.

CHS Inc. Earnings (millions $)


Calling for 2018 National Ag Day Essay entries

National Ag Day LogoHigh school students across the United States are encouraged to share their views about agriculture’s role in a growing world through the 2018 National Ag Day Essay Contest.

The contest deadline is January 31. This year’s theme is “How Will Agriculture Feed the World?” The contest, organized through Agriculture Council of America (ACA), is divided into two categories: the written essay contest and the video essay contest. Both are national competitions and there will be one winner for each category.

The national written essay winner receives a $1,000 prize and round-trip ticket to Washington, D.C. to be recognized at the National Press Club Event on March 20, 2018. The video essay winner wins a $1,000 prize.

The Ag Day Essay Contest is sponsored by CHS Inc., Farm Progress and the National Association of Farm Broadcasting.

Click here for an entry form and to find out more about the contest.

About National Ag Day

March 20, 2018, is the 45th anniversary of National Ag Day. The goal of the ACA is to provide a spotlight on agriculture and the food and fiber industry. The ACA not only helps consumers understand how food and fiber products are produced, but also brings people together to celebrate accomplishments in providing safe, abundant and affordable products

Changes to IRS Section 199 DPAD affect CHS owners

US Capitol Building, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act repeals DPAD

The U.S. House and Senate have passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which if signed by the President, will repeal the IRS Section 199 Domestic Production Activities Deduction (DPAD), effective Dec. 31, 2017. As a result of this pending change, CHS will share fiscal 2017 DPAD allocations with eligible owners by Dec. 31, 2017.

Past federal income tax law allows agricultural cooperatives, like CHS, to pass through Section 199 Domestic Production Activities Deduction known as DPAD to eligible patrons. The CHS Board of Directors determined that, based on fiscal 2017 performance, eligible owners will receive the unused portion of the company’s DPAD, totaling nearly $151 million generated from patronage-related business conducted with CHS for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2017.

The fiscal 2017 allocations being made by the end of December 2017 replace the DPAD allocations eligible owners would have typically received in May 2018. You are encouraged to consult a tax professional to determine how this deduction can be claimed for federal and state purposes.

CHS farmer-owners will receive a statement outlining their Section 199 DPAD allocation for fiscal year 2017 within the next week. The Section 199 DPAD allocated to you is available as a deduction for the tax year in which you received this statement. For most individuals, this means the deduction can be used on your 2017 federal tax return. The deduction allocation will also be shown in Box 6 of a 1099 PATR that you will receive by mail in January 2018. Deductibility for state purposes varies by state.

Click here for answers to frequently asked questions about DPAD and this change. If you have additional questions, please contact the CHS Patron Equities team at 1-800-328-6539, ext. 6124.

CHS elects directors at 2017 CHS Annual Meeting

CHS owners elected three new board members and re-elected five others to the CHS Board at the 2017 CHS Annual Meeting Dec. 7-8. The three new board members were (l. to r.): front – Scott Cordes, Wanamingo, Minn., Tracy Jones, Kirkland, Ill., and Russ Kehl, Quincy, Wash.; back – Perry Meyer, New Ulm, Minn., Edward Malesich, Dillon, Mont., Jon Erickson, Minot, N.D., Dan Schurr, LeClaire, Iowa, and C.J. Blew, Castleton, Kan.

With a pledge and priority to strengthen relationships in 2018, CHS kicked off its annual cooperative meeting in Minneapolis, Minn., on Dec. 7. The two-day annual meeting was filled with networking, educational sessions, board and management reports, and director elections.

“Strengthen and grow: These words represent so much more than an annual meeting theme. This is a priority that we have. It captures how we will operate our company moving forward,” said CHS Board Chairman Dan Schurr, an Iowa farmer, during the general session.

With approximately 2,200 owners in attendance, Jay Debertin, CHS president and CEO, promised that strengthen and grow, which has been a focus of CHS for 85 years, will continue to be the cooperative’s focus for a long time to come – just as it has been the driving force behind local cooperatives.

The business meeting featured regional caucuses; board, financial and management reports; and company governance with an open question-and-answer session.

In conjunction with the 2017 CHS Annual Meeting, 110 young producers, nominated by cooperative partners in 11 states, attended the CHS New Leaders Forum. Both crop and livestock operations were represented with nearly half (44 percent) managing more than 2,000 acres. Two participants already serve on local cooperative boards and 85 percent of the others expressed interest in serving on a local board in the future.

CHS New Leader Forum participants had the opportunity to network with other future ag leaders, learn about and practice strategies for effective leadership and communication, and learn more about CHS and related businesses.

Find pictures from the 2017 CHS Annual Meeting on the CHS Flickr page, watch video featuring local cooperatives, and read the 2017 CHS Annual Report.

2017 officer slate elected

CHS owners elected farmers from Illinois, Minnesota and Washington, and re-elected five other farmers to serve terms as directors of the CHS Board. CHS directors must be full-time farmers or ranchers to be eligible for election to the 17-member board.

Newly elected Director Scott Cordes of Wanamingo, Minn., succeeds Curt Eischens of Minneota, Minn., who had served on the board since 1990. With his brother and nephew, Cordes operates a 1,000-acre corn and soybean farm. He received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Minnesota and previously served as the president of CHS Hedging.

Newly elected Director Tracy Jones of Kirkland, Ill., succeeds Greg Kruger of Eleva, Wis., who had served on the board since 2008. Jones, who operates a corn, soybean and wheat farm, and also finishes 1,400 head of feedlot cattle annually, has been chairman of the CHS Elburn Producer Board since 2011.

Newly elected Director Russ Kehl of Quincy, Wash., fills the final year of a three-year term previously held by David Bielenberg, who resigned in June 2017. Kehl raises potatoes, dry beans and other crops on a 12,000-acre farm. A director for CHS Connell Grain (now CHS SunBasin Growers) since 2004, Kehl also operates a dry bean processing facility and cow-calf operation.

Re-elected were C.J. Blew, Castleton, Kan.; Jon Erickson, Minot, N.D.; Edward Malesich, Dillon, Mont.; Perry Meyer, New Ulm, Minn., and Dan Schurr, LeClaire, Iowa.

Following the annual meeting, the CHS Board re-elected Schurr to a one-year term as chairman. Other directors selected as officers for 2018 were:

  • J. Blew, first vice chairman
  • David Johnsrud, Starbuck, Minn., secretary-treasurer
  • Jon Erickson, second vice chairman
  • Steve Riegel, Ford, Kan., assistant secretary-treasurer

© 2019 CHS Inc.