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Village hires Schick as new farm operator

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Mike Chenoweth decides time right for retirement

It was back in December that the Village learned that there was a need to find a new farm operator for its farmland — 141 acres of corn and soybeans — located near the water treatment plant.

Nick Suess, farm manager with Busey Ag Services, spoke to trustees at the December 4 meeting to talk about putting out a bid for a new farm operator since it had become known that the gentleman who was farming the land had decided to call it a day.

“I was surprised to get the call that Mike Chenoweth is retiring for the 2018 season,” Suess said at the time. “So, that leaves us needing a new custom operator.”

At that point, Suess said he’d already received five or six inquiries about taking over farming for the Village. His recommendation was to go with a year-to-year arrangement thus allowing some flexibility in the event that the Village wanted to terminate the agreement at any time.

Suess said he planned to contact qualified operators, adding that his “intention is not to exclude anyone interested in bidding.”

The motion carried with all trustees voting Yea to approve the bidding process to hire a new farm operator.

Fast forward to the February 5 meeting, and Suess returned with an update on the five bids he’d received. He told trustees that he’d been contacted by a number of qualified individuals, adding a compliment: “Hats off to the excellent operators in Macon County.”

He said he had narrowed the choice to what he thought were the two top bids, which came from Zach Hyde and Chris Schick. They were the two lowest bidders and almost identical at $83 per acre for Hyde and $83.50 per acre for Schick.

“The quality of applicants was excellent,” Suess said. “It made for a difficult decision, but the difference was in the price offered and what they can bring to the table.”

Suess said that both offers were attractive. Hyde offered a cheaper rate to spray herbicide and a savings from wholesale prices for chemical and fertilizer that he would pass along to the Village. As for Schick, he offered to haul directly to ADM during harvest for an additional 10 cents per bushel, which was the difference to Suess.

“For that reason — to maximize the net income for the Village of Forsyth — I recommend Chris Schick,” Suess said.

In his written report to trustees, Suess wrote: “Zach and Chris both offered competitive bids and both would bring something extra to the table. What Chris offered would do more to increase the net income for the Village than what Zach offered. Even after the $.50 difference in the original bid.”

With that said, Suess was clear that he would proceed at the direction of trustees, writing that “if the board would like to direct me otherwise, I would feel very comfortable working with any of these excellent applicants.”

Trustee Jim Peck made the motion, which was seconded by Trustee Kerstin Trachtenberg. All votes were Yea, and the motion carried to make Chris Schick the next operator of the Village’s farm operation.

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