A Glimpse into Agtegra Energy: A Q & A with Milt Handcock, SVP of Energy & Feed
Jun 15, 2023
Read more to learn about what Milt Handcock, Agtegra SVP of Energy and Feed, thinks about the energy division's accomplishments, what the sales team is doing to increase efficiency in serving customers, how Agtegra combats supply chain shortages and what his outlook for the 2023 energy market is.
Q: Reflecting on 2022, what was the energy division’s biggest accomplishment?
A: When I started this role as interim in April, my focus was on safety and people but has since turned more strategic since removing my interim title in December. Safety has elevated to our top priority, and we are progressing nicely. In 2022, our emphasis was on creating synergies within the division to create a positive experience for our customers that drove value for their business. Now that we’ve become more collaborative across our three product lines of refined fuels, lubricants and propane, we are focused on collaborating with the agronomy, grain and feed teams to create an even better Agtegra customer experience. I believe the team has made great strides in getting the right people in the right roles to better serve customers.
Q: How has the energy sales team increased efficiency in serving our customers?
A: We recently implemented Agtegra Sales Hub, which is a digital sales enablement tool for Agtegra’s energy, agronomy and grain sales teams. The platform allows our salespeople to do business with customers anywhere. It creates an opportunity to streamline the contracting process from pricing products to capturing a digital signature at the time of sale. This also protects the company with real-time sales reporting so pricing can be locked in and hedged to manage futures and basis risk. The Sales Hub is also encouraging cross-divisional collaboration amongst our sales teams since all Agtegra salespeople use the tool.
Q: Diesel shortages have made news headlines over the last few months. How does Agtegra ensure supply is still available for Agtegra customers, and what services can they utilize to keep from running out?
A: Agtegra uses its size and scale to procure a consistent supply of gas and diesel. We are consistently in the top two of Cenex’s premium diesel retailers in the nation, which puts us at the top of the list when supply gets tight. We also lease 1.8 million gallons of condo storage from Cenex at the Wolsey, South Dakota, terminal, which helps bridge the gap when product flows are uncertain.
For propane, we make sure that we have product contracted early and with several wholesalers to ensure a reliable supply. We also have over 1.1 million gallons of storage capacity for propane.
Q: What is the outlook for 2023 in the energy markets?
A: It looks like the supply issues are working themselves out. We are starting to see inventories on a national level and even, to some extent, on an international level start to replenish. There are still uncertainties out there with the Russia/Ukraine conflict and the fact that China keeps having COVID outbreaks, so we can never be certain what will happen. The only certainty in the markets will be continued volatility.
We will always be competitive within our market. Our customers should make sure to secure product early to ensure inventory on the farm when they need it. We have tools to help mitigate risk. The best way to reduce risk and smooth volatility is to sign up for our Level Management System for refined fuels or our Level Pay and Scheduled Delivery Programs with propane.
We will continue to look for opportunities that drive value and create patronage for our member-owners. Our goals must align with our customers’ goals to be able to create a trusted partnership.