2013 reflected a slow but steady growing economy mirrored by a society in a hurry, tempered by hesitancy. Technology trends have created a culture with expectations of immediate response, while lack of confidence in our economy has somewhat stifled progress in moving forward. Our nation’s unemployment rate has dropped to 6.7%, though the numbers do not include people who’ve retired, gone back to school or quit looking for work. Commercial developments have increased and the housing market has been rebounding across the country. Positive signs have been overshadowed by little pockets of terror across the world created by suicide bombers or gunmen in schools or businesses. Snowden leaked U.S. Government information, televised courtroom trials became “water cooler” fodder, and Syria’s civil war has now amassed a death toll of over 100,000 since the March of 2011. Hurricane Sandy struck America’s east coast, tornadoes flattened parts of Oklahoma and Texas, and Typhoons Phailin and Yolanda devastated India and the Philippines, killing thousands.
“Selfie” became the new word of the year, with folks sharing their photos of themselves via social media. Healthcare has made many Americans nervous, as the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) rolled out with uncertainty, and Minnesotans have been unsure about “MNSure.” Pope Francis was Time Magazine’s Person of the Year and became known as “the people’s Pope.” The British Royals’ Prince George was born, Apple’s iTunes store turned ten years old, and the Marriage Equality Act passed in Minnesota, Delaware, New Jersey and Hawaii. In 2013 we said “goodbye” to Nelson Mandela, “Dear Abby” Pauline Phillips, Margaret Thatcher, Vince Flynn, Annette Funicello, Peter O’Toole, George Jones, Richie Havens, Jonathan Winters and former long-time NCB employee Shirley Jacobsen.
Locally, Gustavus Adolphus College President Dr. Jack Ohle announced his retirement upon completion of this academic year. George Rohrich became the new CEO of River's Edge Hospital & Clinic, and we welcomed new Nicollet County Administrator Ryan Krosch. Ground was broken for construction of Park Row Crossing on the former hospital site on Broadway. Thirty-three building permits were issued for new construction of homes or businesses and another two-hundred-thirty permits were issued for additions/remodels/repairs. New businesses included: Shopko, Lone Star BBQ, Woods Grill & Bar, Mattress Factory Outlet, Habadashery, Erickson’s Sports Bar, Simply Twisted Motor Sports, Caribou, The Market Wine & Spirits and St. Peter Cab Company. Julee’s Jewelry and Reflections Salon changed locations while More-4 became Family Fresh Market.
2013 proved to be another interesting and highly variable year for agriculture. Due to the 2012 drought, soil moisture reserves were relatively low at the beginning of the year. Generally above normal rainfall helped to recharge the profile during the spring and early summer. However, the precipitation (including snow in some areas) did delay planting which impacted crop production and grain dry down to some degree. Dry and warm (hot) weather conditions returned during the summer and the growing season was extended beyond normal for the first killing frost date. Generally crop yields were relatively good but highly variable. The grain market responded to the increased national production and prices decreased significantly from year-end 2012 to the 2013 harvest. Livestock operations benefited from decreased feed costs during the course of the year. However, alfalfa winter kill was extensive which resulted in higher prices for hay. In addition, the hog industry has been confronted with a potentially serious swine disease issue called PED Virus which could disrupt 2014 production. The demand for rented land and the market for farm purchases have continued to be strong. Decreased grain prices could have a significant impact on both areas in 2014.
Nicollet County Bank had a record number of celebrations in 2013! We celebrated our 130th Anniversary, Senior Vice President Doug Miller and Teller Nancy Woods retired, and Customer Service Representative Peggy Schulmpberger celebrated twenty-five years at the bank! We also hosted a Chamber Business After Hours, our annual Dairy Days Ice Cream Social as well as our Holiday Open House. Peter Nelson, with LPL Financial Services received another 5-Star Wealth Manager Award and was featured in the Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine, and Nicollet County Bank has received another 4-Star bank rating from Bauer Financial, Inc. which marks more than ninety consecutive quarters the bank has received the excellent rating. The Saints Club trips included the Pella Tulip Festival, Chicago, a Southern Antebellum Christmas Tour and a Rhine River Cruise! Nicollet County Bank can be found on the web at NicolletCountyBank.com as well as on Facebook. “Friend us” on Facebook and enter our contests on our main website. Over the 130 years, we have seen a lot of changes in the banking industry! We have endured regulatory and economic change, largely due to our wonderful employees! Looking to the future, we will meet the challenges ahead and we thank you, our customers for choosing Nicollet County Bank.
Samuel B. Gault, President
Nicollet County Bank
St. Peter, MN 56082