Careers at CHS Inc

MISSION

CHS is a farmer-owned cooperative that seeks to invest in infrastructure, assets and partnerships on behalf of its owners.

FOUNDING STORY

CHS has its roots in a number of farmer-owned cooperatives. It was formed over a number of years through today various mergers.

Several cooperatives from the 1930s form the foundations of CHS. The company traces its history back to 1929, when North Pacific Grain Growers Inc was organized as a regional cooperative, with 60 affiliated local cooperatives.

Two years later, the Farmers Union Central Exchange, later renamed Cenex, was founded in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 1931. In 1932, National Cooperatives (later named Universal Cooperatives) was organised, and in 1938, the Farmers Union Grain Terminal Association was established with 121 local affiliated cooperatives.

Over the course of the twentieth century these cooperatives were combined through a series of mergers. Notably, in 1983, North Pacific Grain Growers Inc and Union Grain Terminal Association merged to form Harvest States Cooperatives.

In 1998, Harvest States Cooperatives merged with Cenex to form Cenex Harvest States. In 2003, Cenex Harvest States changed its name to CHS.

CHS is today one of the largest cooperatives in the US. It is ranked 96th on the Fortune 500 lists, and has a market capitalisation of approximately USD 340 million.

Business model of CHS Inc

Customer Segments

CHS functions as a cooperative, primarily providing products and services to its member organisations. As such, the company divides its customers into members and non-members.

Within these groups the company serves customers across a range of industries, including the following:

  • Retail and Wholesale, including specialised distributors and wholesalers of agricultural products, as well as retail chains that sell its refined fuel products under the Cenex brand name;
  • Farming and Agriculture, including local cooperatives, elevators, grain dealers, grain processors and crop nutrient retailers;
  • Industry and Energy, including other producers, manufacturing companies, energy companies, and other industrial businesses; and
  • Food and Livestock, including food and drink companies, consumer goods businesses, integrated livestock producers, and grain mills to which the company sells agricultural produce.

CHS primarily serves customers in North America, notably in the US. The company also serves customers across South America, Asia Pacific, and Europe, the Middle East and Africa. 

Value Propositions

CHS provides value to its customers in the following ways:

  • Standing and Reputation – CHS is one of the largest cooperatives in the US and among the best known agricultural cooperatives, having a positive reputation for stability and good service dating back to the early twentieth century;
  • Shared Success – As a cooperative, CHS primarily serves its members, with the company’s success being shared among its member organisations, which work together and share the responsibility and benefits of the company’s overall business;
  • Size and Reach – CHS has an extensive reach across the US, where its members are primarily based, the company also serves customers through channels that extend across South America, Asia Pacific, and Europe, the Middle East and Africa;
  • Safety and Responsibility – CHS seeks to produce its products safely, ethically, and sustainably, working with a range of non-profit organisations to ensure that it is operating responsibly; and
  • Industry Expertise – CHS has a long history of operating in the agricultural sector and employs and workforce of skilled employees led by highly experienced industry executives.

Channels

CHS sells its products to customers directly, operating regional sales teams across the US and internationally. These sales personnel operate out of the company’s various office locations.

CHS’s sales and distribution operations are supported by an extensive network of storage and logistics assets, including a network of warehouses, grain terminals, and distribution facilities.

Customer Relationships

CHS seeks to establish longstanding relationships with its customers. 

As a cooperative whose members comprise much of the company’s customers, CHS has a collaborative relationship with its customers, working together and combining capabilities to reach a mutually successful outcome.

This relationship instils trusts between the company and its customers and ensures ongoing efficiency and recurring business. CHS also seeks to secure repeat business from non-member customers by providing high quality products quickly and efficiently.

CHS operates a website at www.chsinc.com, through which it provides information to members and no-members on a self-service basis.

This information includes operational data, information about the company’s assets and market interests, and information on its various products and services.

The company also has an online contact form on its website through which existing and potential customers can make inquiries, and request help.

CHS is additionally able to communicate directly with customers through its various social media accounts, including with LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube.

Key Activities

CHS operates as an integrated agricultural company and cooperative. It is engaged primarily in the production and distribution of grain, foods and energy resources to businesses and consumers around the world.

The company's organises its operations into five reportable business segments: Energy, through which the company is engaged in the refining, wholesaling, and retailing of petroleum products; Ag, through which the company is engaged in grain marketing, country operations, crop nutrients, processing and food ingredients, and renewable fuels businesses; Nitrogen Production, through which the company manages its investment in CF Industries Nitrogen LLC; Foods, through which the company manages its Ventura Foods LLC; and Corporate and Other, through which the company is engaged in wheat milling operations, as well as business solutions operations consisting of commodities hedging, insurance and financial services related to crop production.

Key Partners

CHS works closely with a broad range of partner companies and organisations across the US and internationally.

These partners can be organised broadly into the following categories:

  • Supplier and Vendor Partners, comprising suppliers of raw materials and equipment that are used in the company’s production and refining activities, as well as third-party providers of other services that support the company’s corporate operations more generally;
  • Distribution and Logistics Partners, comprising wholesalers and distributors of agricultural products, as well as retailers of refined fuel products, and logistics companies that help to manage and operate the company’s logistics infrastructure;
  • Trade and Industry Partners, comprising trade associations, cooperatives, and businesses with which the company collaborates on industry projects and lobbies the US government regarding legislation, regulatory issues, and policy;
  • Sustainability and Community Partners, comprising non-profit and non-governmental organisations with which the company collaborates on sustainability projects and develops responsible and safe methods of production; and
  • Strategic and Alliance Partners, comprising various other businesses and organisations with which the company collaborates in development, marketing and other projects.

CHS has a number of partnerships in place. This includes tie-ups with Seneca Companies, the National FFA Organisation, TerrAvion, and ELM Solutions.

Key Resources

CHS’s business model depends primarily on its ability to produce and efficiently distribute high quality agricultural and fuel products.

As such, the company’s key resources are its supplies and supply chain, its equipment and tools, its cooperative members and farming assets, its production and refining facilities, its distribution and sales network, its storage and logistics infrastructure, and its workforce.

CHS notably owns and or leases a large network of physical assets, including energy, agronomy, grain handling, and processing facilities in US and internationally.

This includes refineries, propane terminals, and transportation and repair facilities, pipelines and storage facilities, and warehouses under its energy segment, as well as a number of grain terminals, a deep water port, renewable fuel plants, food processing plants, and a corporate headquarters.

Cost Structure

CHS incurs costs in relation to the purchasing of materials, tools, and equipment, the procurement of external services, the management and operation of its faring assets, the operations of its numerous refining and processing facilities, the operation of its storage and logistics infrastructure, the management of its partnerships, and the payment of salaries and benefits to its employees.

The company notably incurs occupancy and utility costs at its numerous properties across the US and abroad.

In 2018, CHS recorded total cost of goods sold for the year in the amount of USD 31.59 billion and marketing, administrative, and general costs totalling USD 674.08 million.

Revenue Streams

CHS generates revenue primarily through the production and sale of agricultural products and refined fuel products.

The company derives its revenue through direct sales to wholesalers and distributors and under sales and service contracts.

In 2018, CHS generated revenue for the year totalling USD 32.68 billion, up marginally in the USD 32.04 billion recorded by the company in 2017.

For fiscal 2018, the company’s Energy revenues, after elimination of intersegment revenues, totalled USD 7.6 billion and were primarily from gasoline and diesel fuel.

Revenue generated by the company’s Ag segment totalled USD 25.1 billion after elimination of intersegment revenues, consisting principally of grain sales.

Our team

Jay Debertin,
President and Chief Executive Officer

info: Jay Debertin (“Debertin”) has served as President and Chief Executive Officer at CHS since 2017. He is responsible for leading the company’s overall strategic direction and is the company’s key decision maker. Debertin also serves as Chairman of the Board at Ventura Foods LLC. Debertin is a long-serving CHS employee, having first joined the company in 1984 as a member of its petroleum division. He went on to hold a series of leadership positions of increasing responsibility, including overseeing energy marketing, crude oil supply, refining, pipelines and terminals, trading and risk management, and transportation. Prior to assuming his current position, Debertin served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the company’s energy operations and processing and food ingredients.

David Black,
Senior Vice President of Enterprise Strategy and Chief Information Officer

info: David Black (“Black”) has served as Senior Vice President of Enterprise Strategy and Chief Information Officer at CHS since joining the company in 2014. In this dual role he is responsible for leading the company’s enterprise strategy, marketing and communications, and facilities activities, as well as the operations of its CHS global information technology unit. Prior to joining CHS, Black held a number of senior leadership positions at Monsanto between 2003 and 2014. This included spells as Director of Global Enterprise Resource Planning, Vice President of North America and Latin America North IT, Vice President of Corporate Strategy, and Vice President of Global Commercial IT.

Timothy Skidmore,
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

info: Timothy Skidmore (“Skidmore”) joined CHS in 2013 as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. He is responsible for overseeing the company’s finance, accounting, tax, patron equity, treasury, strategic sourcing, and insurance risk management operations. Skidmore began his career at DuPont in 1985, where he held roles of increasing responsibility over a period of more than 15 years, culminating in a spell as Finance Director. In 2001, he joined Campbell Soup Company as Vice President of Finance for the Sauces and Beverage Division. He went on to hold several senior leadership positions at the company, including spells as Vice President of Finance for Campbell US, and Vice President of Finance and Strategy at Campbell North America. Prior to joining CHS, Skidmore served as Campbell Soup Company’s Vice President of Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis.

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