Alex here. I’ll be pitching in my first blog since June of last year, and the amount of change and activity since our last update has been incredible. Since we last talked, I survived my first full-time harvest running the grain cart. I’ve been around and assisted with harvest most of my life, but you never fully appreciate the effort and coordination that goes into making it happen until you’re fully immersed in it. The experience made me appreciate the effort and skill of our whole team.
Winter is not my favorite season. I spend too much time yelling at the Cyclones, and it’s hard to ride bike or hike when the trails are buried under several feet of snow (or kayak/canoe on frozen rivers). However, the reduced work load allowed Megan and I the opportunity to visit New Orleans in January. It’s a place that’s been on both of our “bucket lists” and between the music, culture, food, and drink. It definitely didn’t disappoint! We’ve also enjoyed the arrival of my nephew, Kai Desmond Koenigs. He was an early Christmas present for everyone.
With harvest in the rear view mirror, we have been busy analyzing the 2015 production, looking for any opportunity to reduce costs and improve our operations. Along with paying the bills, this has been my biggest winter duty. Already we have found ways to improve our costs in 2016 and have taken steps to implement those goals. The process of discovering and implementing new opportunities to improve the company is very rewarding.
Despite the cold and snow, and we always stay busy. With some significant snowfalls throughout the first part of 2016, the Pinicon Snow Removal team has kept busy. They keep our hog barns and shop yard free of snow, and also remove snow for various landlords and neighbors.
Non-peak seasons also provide us with windows to get grain to market. The truckers been busy hauling corn to Homeland in Lawler, Valero in Floyd, and Absolute in Lyle from both our McIntire and Cresco bin site. This is one of the most important tasks here at Pinicon, and our mechanics keep the truck fleet up and running all year long.
Winter also allows to get caught up on maintenance and repairs for all varieties of equipment. Everyone who isn’t trucking logs plenty of winter hours repairing and maintaining tillage equipment, vehicles, tractors, trailers, etc. Their efforts are crucial in extending the life and use of all our equipment.
The biggest development of this past month has been our return to the livestock industry. On February 5th, our first shipment of weaned pigs arrived at the Carpenter South hog barn from Thunder Ridge Sow farm in South Dakota. We believe that we can be a competitive and high-quality hog producer. Our hog staff has been impressed with the health and quality of the first group of pigs. We’ve been working with local hog production experts to build the best hog health care plan possible. The growth and diversification opportunity the hog industry provides is exciting.
Last, but not least, the office staff continues our usual duties. From paying bills and employees, to ordering parts, to compiling the 2016 crop plan, to constructing the Pinicon calendar, the administrative team rarely has a dull moment.
As I watch Bert scrape away blowing snow from our parking areas, it’s hard to imagine that one month from now, we’ll be ramping up for planting season. However, it will be here faster than we realize, and I’m excited, knowing that the team will be ready for the challenge, and another productive crop season will be upon us shortly!
Here’s to melting snow, bike rides, canoe trips, and corn/bean planting!