March 1 — Fellow Rotarian, Bruce Bulman, told us about ethanol production in our area. He has been a shareholder in POET, Preston. The process to make ethanol is getting more efficient. Now 2.85 gallons of ethanol is produced from a bushel of corn. The distillers’ grain is a by-product used for livestock feed. POET’s brand is Dakota Gold. Ethanol producers no longer receive subsidies. CO2 is the most profitable part of the business. POET started in 1998 in Preston. Now 26 plants merged together by POET and the local board has been disbanded.
March 8 — Bob Klug from Caledonia Implement Co. gave the history of the business which began with his father and Geo. Schauble. In 1965 they built the present facility. It is owned by three brothers and four of their sons.
March 15, 2019 — Scott Bulman, director of Farmers’ Coop Elevator and now Farmers’ Winn Coop, spoke about cooperatives and Farmers’ Winn in particular. Farmers Coop Elevator merged with Winneshiek Coop to form Farmers Winn Coop. The issues that led to the merger were 1) the flood of 2007, 2) purchase of an LLC which became a competitor, 3) rather than paying back a portion of the profits for two years they paid 100% which left nothing to go back to the coop, and 4) management issues.
March 22, 2019 — Suzanne Roesler, new owner of the Caledonia Bakery, talked about her business and plans for the future. She plans to bring historical features back to the bakery which she feels is a community place. The building began as a rooming house, then a bank and then a bakery. She will be introducing new items to the baked goods menu. The first bakery in Caledonia was started by Mr Miller in 1923, but it was not in the current location. She plans to change the front exterior to replicate the original.
March 29, 2019 — Pat Stephens, Rotary Lights, presented checks to four non-profits who worked at Rotary Lights in 1918. Rotary Lights began in 1995 and is celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2019. Fifteen other lighting events have begun in other cities following working with the La Crosse group. They have to pledge to include collection of food for the hungry in order to utilize the LaCrosse Rotary lights expertise.
Those receiving checks were Bluff Country Family Resources, UWL Alpha Phi, Coulee CAP, and River City Corvettes.