EMBRUN — The Embrun Co-op posted a record financial year in 2021-22, with $95 million in gross revenue and $1.3 million in net profit, as reported at the organization’s Dec. 15 annual general meeting, the first AGM held in person since the pandemic.
Founded by farmers 78 years ago, the rural, Eastern Ontario cooperative has grown into a major concern spanning 7 retail divisions. “This diversification really helps us in our stability,” Marketing, & Member Relations Manager Allie Gasser told Farmers Forum.
As a result of the strong performance in 2021-22, the Co-op’s 4,000 members will share a dividend of $257,595. That figure represents 1% of sales at the organization’s Embrun-based Independent grocery and Rona hardware stores and 0.5% of sales in its energy, feed and crop-support divisions. Elevator operations contribute $1 per ton of grain marketed to the dividend.
In other highlights, the Embrun Co-op in the last year opened a McDonald’s restaurant, renovated its grocery store and started an expansion project at its hardware store. Several future projects are also in the works.
On the grain-processing side, the Co-op acquired a new soybean dryer and a Rogator floater with air boom — all highlights reported by Co-op board president Pierre Etter.
The rosy financial picture coincides with record profits in the ag sector generally. Amid high commodity prices, Ontario farm profits jumped 45.5 % in 2021, according to Statistics Canada.
The Co-op has invested more than $27 million into its businesses over the last 10 years, Chief Executive Officer Patrick Therrien noted and pointed out: “All this money is invested locally.”
The Co-op has also benefited from $10 million in loans from members. “They receive a return on their investment when it comes to date,” Allie Gasser explained. “But these were loans made by members approaching us — we never solicited for these.”
To drum up further investment as these loans are paid off, the Co-op will be issuing an “offering statement” to satisfy provincial regulations for soliciting investors.
Elections were held to fill 3 vacant, 3-year positions on the board, with Étienne Seguin and Caroline Rollin both re-elected. Eric Patenaude was elected for the first time. The new board chose Michael Bols as president, Étienne Seguin as vice-president and Maurice Godard as secretary.
The meeting also saw $500 bursaries awarded to Bruce Porteous and Philippe Denis Vignola, by the Co-op and Bergeron families, in honour of Jonathan Bergeron. The bursary recognizes post-secondary students who are passionate about the dairy industry and are committed to the future of agriculture in Ontario.
Embrun Co-op partners with Great Lakes Grain in the Embrun grain elevator division, making it GLG’s farthest east location.