We Get to Know You; and Work to Help You

Travis Pell has a simple strategy at work; play to your strengths.    
 

“At Ceres,” Travis says, “Our strength is that we’re local. We know our customers... their families... and in a lot of cases, we also know the generation who farmed before them and the one coming up after them. When we grow those relationships right, it seems to naturally grow the business, too.”

A member of the Ceres Solutions team for almost eight years, Travis is Operations Manager at our Fremont, Michigan, location.  While his job description would indicate he oversees equipment purchases for the feed and agronomy divisions, his day-to-day activities include solving problems, asking questions and listening to customers.  “What has shaped our business the most is that sense of obligation to anticipate and help meet the changing needs of farmers. In on-boarding, I tell new hires that our purpose is to get to know customers, and work to help them. Pretty much everything we do here is built on that.”

Due to the proximity of his location to White Cloud, Travis naturally points to the construction of the new Feed Mill a few years ago as an example of listening to local voices and helping meet a need.  That investment was a commitment... to ensure safe, quality, custom feeds would be accessible in this local marketplace.

“We keep it simple. If we work to earn long-term trust, and treat people how we want to be treated, we’ll succeed,”  says Travis.
 

Through every interaction in 2022, we invite you to discover what it means for our team to be centered on you. Thank you for every opportunity to earn your business.

Ceres Solutions to Expand Broadband Access to Crops 63 Area!

 
Efforts to boost broadband internet speeds at Ceres Solutions’ technology hub near Covington and extend broadband connectivity to the 1-74/Highway 63 area, including residents of Perrysville and the surrounding communities.
 
Crawfordsville, IN–  Ceres Solutions announces efforts to expand broadband internet access in the Indianapolis area with Land O’Lakes, internet service provider Watch Communications and Microsoft. Specifically, the initiative will target the Co-op’s Crops 63 location, which means improved broadband access will be made possible for residents of Perrysville and the surrounding communities. This effort to improve internet connectivity has the potential to directly benefit dozens of families and individuals in these rural areas who are currently unable to access adequate broadband service at their homes.
 
“Access to rural broadband is essential for our communities, especially as we consider rural student needs and access for residents who require telemedicine services. For our farmer-members, broadband is increasingly critical to daily life and business success. Reliable access enables execution on precision agriculture strategies to support higher yields, improved productivity, and greater profit potential,” says Ceres Solutions Cooperative President and CEO Jeff Troike.
 
According to the Federal Communications Commission, more than 18 million Americans do not have access to broadband, including nearly a quarter of Americans living in rural areas. Additionally, 60 percent of farmers say they lack the connectivity needed to run their business. This effort by Ceres Solutions, Watch Communications, Land O’Lakes and Microsoft aims to address these gaps.
This project is part of ongoing efforts by Land O’Lakes, Watch Communications and Microsoft to address the rural broadband gap across the United States. Ceres Cooperative is part of the Land O’Lakes member network, and Watch Communications is a Microsoft Airband Initiative partner. The Airband Initiative has developed a strategic approach that brings together private and public sector organizations to help address the broadband gap and aims to extend broadband access to three million people living in rural America by July 2022. Similarly, Land O’Lakes and its cooperative network are helping to bridge the digital divide with awareness and advocacy through its American Connection Project.
 
"We're so excited to be working with these organizations to bring real solutions for the lack of broadband access in these communities,” said Teddy Bekele, Chief Technology Officer at Land O’Lakes. “As a farmer-owned co-op with deep roots across rural America, Land O'Lakes will continue to raise awareness and devise more ways to increase access to digital connectivity for all Americans."
 
“Increasing access to broadband internet in rural areas is a primary focus of our business,” said Watch Communications President and CEO Chris Daniels. “We believe that connection speeds and strength should not be limited based on a zip code. Our work with Land O’Lakes and Microsoft enables the expansion of broadband through advanced technologies that overcome challenging non-line-of-sight conditions that are common in rural America. We appreciate the chance to serve members of Ceres Solutions.”
 
“Many in rural America lack access to the digital opportunities that are facilitated through reliable high-speed internet,” said Vickie Robinson, general manager of Microsoft’s Airband Initiative. “Through connectivity efforts like this, we can help level the playing field and improve livelihoods in these previously under-connected communities.”
 

For Member-Owners

Fall 2021: Scholarship Recipients Back to Campus

(pictured is Mathew McMillian and Ceres' Dan Blocker at the presentation)

On behalf of thousands of local farmer members, the employees of Ceres Solutions Cooperative have the pleasure of announcing 11 Scholarship Award recipients.  “We are pleased to support these future leaders of our industry through this scholarship program,” says Jeff Troike, CEO of Ceres Solutions, “It is important for us to consistently invest in local youth. As a Cooperative, it is one of our core commitments to give back to local communities in which we serve.”

Selection criteria emphasizes involvement in agricultural youth groups such as 4-H and FFA. Students must be children or grandchildren of current cooperative members or employees of the cooperative to apply for the high school scholarships. It is estimated that the co-op and its predecessor co-ops have invested more than $240,000 in scholarships to local students.

Our 2021 Ceres Solutions Scholarship recipients are:

Andrew Eisenga of McBain, MI – Andrew is the son of Bryan and Diane Eisenga and plans to attend Dordt University and pursue an Agriculture degree.
Mathew McMillian of Montpelier, IN- Mathew is the son of Aaron and Paula McMillian and plans to study Pre-Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University this fall.
McKenna Wilson of Bunker Hill, IN.- McKenna is the daughter of James and Amanda Wilson and will attend Purdue University as an Animal Agribusiness major.
Justin Nice of Royal Center, IN- Justin is the son of Steve and Amy Nice and will head to University of Northwestern Ohio this fall to pursue a degree in Agriculture Equipment Technology.
Burke Tuggle of Attica, IN- Burke is the son of Troy and Kim Tuggle and will head to Ivy Tech this fall to pursue a degree in Agriculture.
Tori Culp of Francesville, IN- Tori is the daughter of Daniel and Melissa Culp and seeks to study Animal Science and Agribusiness at Purdue University this fall.
Grace Pearson of Attica, IN- Grace is the daughter of Greg and Kelly Pearson and will head to Purdue University this fall to study Agribusiness.
Grant Bell of New Lebanon, IN- Grant is the son of Mike and Amy Bell and will attend Purdue University to study Ag Systems Management.
Jack Morehouse of Brookston, IN- Jack is the son of Doug and Jean Morehouse and will be attending Purdue University this fall studying Horticulture.
Olivia Branam of Terre Haute, IN- Olivia is the daughter of James and Kelly Branam and will study Animal Science at Purdue University this fall.
Emily Hyatt of Clay City, IN- Emily is the daughter of Jeff and Shelly Hyatt and will attend Purdue University and pursue a degree in Health Science.  

  

 
 
 

For Member-Owners

May 2021: We’ve heard it said repeatedly --“We’re all in this together...”

especially over the last 12-18 months. But in reality, sometimes it can feel very lonely to bear the responsibility of maintaining your essential operation in a “regular” year, let alone while you and your family navigate a pandemic, labor shortages, declining commodity prices, social unrest and weather challenges. 

There is no group of people quite so determined and resilient as farm families. True?  

We recognize each spring that May is Mental Health Awareness month, and we’re pleased to provide our members and friends with the following helpful resources.  They’ve been collected by Indiana Farm Bureau.  Please take a moment to review the suggestions. What you learn just might help a friend, a co-worker, a family member or even yourself. No one is immune.  Take the time.  You are worth it. Your family needs you.  Ag needs you.  :) 

And we’re honored to continue to work beside you, no matter what the future brings. Thank you for the opportunities this spring and beyond.
 

For Member-Owners

April 2021: The reverse-ownership model of Ceres Solutions Cooperative adds value.  For example:

The following returns are determined by the Board of Directors each year, based on results. Consult your tax preparer. Returns should be tax-free since taxes were paid when the patronage was issued:

Age-Based Equity Redemption: This payment to members is 100 percent of earned equity, and this year totaled more than $2 million. Please note, the Board of Directors voted to move all age-based programs to Age 75, enabling us to consistently redeem across our growing organization. 

3% Equity Revolvement:  This payment is part of our planned revolvement of equity. The total payment to members this year was more than $1 million. 

Patronage Checks and Equity Credits: These returns are earned based on business volume. This year, approximately $9 million was returned with 65% paid in cash and 35% paid in equity. Members who are over the age of 75 are issued their patronage 100% in cash. 

1% Early Equity Redemption: Eligible members have equity redeemed at 1% of their fall agronomy purchases and agronomy prepay for the year, up to the amount of equity held by the member, and this payment is more than $1 million. 

And finally, throughout the business year, Ceres Solutions processes Estate Redemptions as individual equity is redeemed upon death of the stockholder. Membership adds value!

Your co-op is 100% farmer owned. For the benefit of members, Ceres Solutions will redeem close to $5 million in equity and pay nearly $6 million in cash patronage for a total of almost $11 million in cash going back to the local communities we serve this year. Thank you for your business!  Interested in learning more
 

For Member-Owners

February 2021: Waiting for someone to connect the carbon dots? 

Ceres Solutions and TruTerra just did.

For decades, Ceres Solutions has worked with local farmers to implement and document best soil health management and stewardship practices. 
 
It’s what we do. Stewardship is good business. Always has been.
 
With the launch of TruCarbon™, our partner Truterra is working through channels to reward Ceres Solutions customers whose practices now have potential to earn carbon credits. Today, the relationships between local farmers and carbon buyers begin.
 
Conservation practices... stewardship... expert recommendations... documentation...

It’s time to connect the dots at last. 
 
These are exciting times for local farmers... especially those who have implemented stewardship changes in the last five years with the support of the Ceres Solutions team.  Will the first buyer of carbon credits be Microsoft?  Learn more about this industry-leading program and Ceres Solutions’ support of the only farmer-owned and farmer-driven sustainability program in the nation.
 

For Member-Owners

January 2021:  A Few Words on The Power of Good...

As we welcome a new year, we naturally reflect on the close of a difficult one.  Our primary concerns at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic were simple... how do we keep employees safe? How can we be sure to deliver for customers? We serve industries that will not have the luxury of “pausing” from the demands of work... How can we best protect the health of those customers, plus our suppliers and partners?

In a very short period of time, almost everything familiar about our business came to a screeching halt.

Life changed.

 In response, we enacted best practices for hygiene, physical distancing, remote work, protective rotations of critical staff, health checks and a host of other modifications. We adapted quickly. We learned a lot.  Our most lasting takeaway is in the power of good people to do good things... we are grateful for the spirit and resilience of customers, co-workers and communities alike.  We all did our best, and can fortunately look back at just how well it actually went in most circumstances. We hope you found this to be true as you interacted with Ceres Solutions through 2020.  The opportunity to work beside friends and neighbors to build collective success, even in times of extreme uncertainty, is not to be underestimated. We consider ourselves extremely blessed to be a part of your lives and community.  Thank you. 
Together, let's embrace all the good 2021 will bring.