From calculating amounts member Co-ops receive in a variety of programs to paying invoices and seeing that TFC employees receive their payroll checks, TFC's Accounting Department is the financial nucleus of the entire Co-op system.
This new area includes member information systems, primarily focusing on the implementation of the system's new Merchant software; public relations, which involves legislative tracking, grants and bids, producer impact measures, and affiliations with other organizations; and new business development, charged with seeking new growth opportunities, measuring market share, and conducting competitive analyses. The Customer Relations Officer also has responsibility of overseeing the separate areas of Member Services, Retail Development, and Regional Managers.
This creative department has a wide range of responsibilities, including advertising, publications, promotions, publicity, meeting planning, Web design and content, and photography. Since 1959, the department has published the Tennessee Cooperator, Co-op's membership newspaper that goes to some 100,000 subscribers.
Each year, this department recruits the very best and brightest college and university students to provide a pool of capable, well-trained individuals who can assume key management and technology positions throughout the Co-op system. The department oversees 32 Co-op scholarships awarded each year to deserving agriculture students in Tennessee, administers an annual intern program, provides training for member Co-op directors, and works with youth activities.
From assisting with the design and layout of new or renovated stores to developing a long-range master plan for property, TFC's Retail Development Department helps member Co-ops be more efficient and profitable in serving their customers. Assistance is provided in store design, education and training, and planograms, which guide member Co-ops in displaying and promoting key products. An important training tool is the Master Merchant Program, which provides member Co-op employees with education and resources to effectively implement an in-store marketing plan.
Although each product department has field representatives who work closely with member Co-ops and their customers, TFC's own field staff operates independently with members. Work of this group, made up of four regional managers, dates back more than half a century. Although the regional managers support the entire Co-op system, they concentrate on working with member Co-ops in providing management counsel and helping with budgeting, long-range and facility planning, and environmental, health, and safety issues. Among other duties, they assist Co-ops with director training, planning board retreats, and board and management counseling.
From managing corporate accounts receivable to providing credit assistance and crop insurance to our members, TFC's Financial Services Department is a resource for the entire Co-op system in financing, credit, and risk protection. In addition to approving and setting limits for all corporate credit requests and monitoring those accounts for payment, the department administers sales finance programs that include AIF, our branded crop input loan program, and Farm Plan, the revolving charge account system offered by most Co-ops. Farm Plan has many sales finance options, including seasonal input finance, no payment/no interest finance options, and fixed payments for those customers who want term financing. And as agents for Producers Ag Insurance Group and Rain & Hail Crop Insurance Company, TFC agents can assist producers with risk management by writing policies that best meet their needs.
Field Auditing/Regional Accounting
The staff of the Field Auditing Department provides a variety of services for member Co-ops as well as TFC. Highly qualified professionals offer audit and tax services to member Co-ops along with clerical, educational, and advisory assistance. Internal audit services and statistical information are among operations performed by the department for TFC. One of the newest services is Regional Accounting, which provides member Co-ops with monthly accounting services that include payroll, accounts payable, financial statements, tax preparation, and more.
Environmental Health & Safety (EHS)
Services provided by this department include property protection, employee and customer safety, and compliance with all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. EHS also provides safety training materials and courses in defensive driving, first aid, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and conducts meetings for member Co-ops and TFC facilities.
The Human Resources Department is responsible for several core functions at TFC. These include recruiting and staffing, wage and salary administration, record-keeping, maintaining the Human Resources Information System, recommending policies and procedures, employee relations, ensuring compliance with state and federal laws, training, and supporting member cooperatives with human resources needs.
All the computerized business functions of TFC and its member Co-ops are supported by the Member Data Services Department and the Corporate Information Systems Department at TFC's headquarters. The majority of TFC's corporate information systems needs are provided through a contractual business alliance with EFC Systems, a company whose sole purpose is supplying expertise in the ever-changing world of computer technology. These departments are responsible for implementation, maintenance, and support of software applications, communications networks, hardware, and operating systems.
The staff attorney counsels TFC on a wide variety of legal issues that such a large and diversified company may encounter. The attorney also assists member Co-ops with matters such as bylaw revisions and sales tax questions and serves as a resource for general legal guidance.
Office and Grounds Group
Diversity in what it does and the services it provides is what makes this group unique at TFC. Its responsibilities at the LaVergne complex include office and grounds maintenance, security, telecommunications, shipping and receiving for the office, and management of the fleet of company cars and light trucks. The group is also the nerve center for hundreds of thousands of correspondence pieces received by and mailed from TFC's headquarters each year. In its own shop, the group prints a wide variety of materials for TFC and member Co-ops.
Risk Management Services
Risk Management Services Inc. is the entity that manages the Property and Casualty Insurance Program for the cooperative system. Through utilization of our own captive insurance company, TFC and the member cooperatives are able to take advantage of the economics of retained and shared risks in the areas of workers compensation, general liability, automobile liability, property, pollution, auto physical damage, directors and officers, employment practices, and excess umbrella liability. Risk Management is also responsible for claims management, insurance certificates, and bonding/surety needs of the members.
Employee Benefits Administration
Employee Benefits is the department that manages the Employee Benefit Programs for the entire cooperative system. Through the utilization of the Co-op Health & Welfare Plan and Trust, benefits for all full-time employees of Tennessee Farmers and its participating member cooperatives are available. Benefits include group health, dental, term life, and short and long-term disability insurance protection. When the employee participates, family members are eligible for health, dental, and dependent life coverage.
The Co-op Pension Plan and Trust enables all employees of TFC and its participating member cooperatives to prepare for retirement through participation in a 401(k) defined contribution plan. Participants receive ongoing investment education to allow them to maximize their investment returns through various stable value accounts and mutual funds. Model Portfolios are also available for investment by the employee. With plan assets held in a separate trust, an individual's account is insulated from the assets of the plan custodian, the employers, or possible claims from third-party creditors.