Preventing Farm Equipment Accidents

Tractor & planterThe time is coming when farmers are getting geared up for planting season. They are getting all of their farm equipment ready and will be rolling into the fields very soon. What are some things that motorists can do to prevent an accident with a farm tractor/farm truck on the road and what can farmers do to help prevent accidents.

As motorists, we need to be aware and stay aware that the farmers will be on the roads in the next few months and will be very busy. Here are some recommendations that can help prevent accidents with these farmers:

  • When approaching a tractor/farm truck on the road, we should slow down and be attentive to what they are doing and where they may be turning.
  • We should be patient and safely pass the farm equipment; do not follow the farm equipment too closely.
  • Do not pull out in front of farm equipment as they are carrying heavy loads and cannot stop quickly.
  • Be a defensive driver and pay attention to your surroundings and to what others are doing.

Some recommendations for farmers during this busy season and while traveling from farm site to farm site are:

  • Inspect all farm equipment before use and before taking it out on the road to make sure everything is mechanically sound.
  • Mount Slow Moving Vehicle signs on all tractors, combines and other farm equipment that is necessary to notify other motorists.
  • If traveling during the night, verify that you have working headlights and flashing front and rear warning lights.
  • Do not travel left of the center of the road after dark, during poor visibility and/or when approaching the top of a hill or a curve.

We all need to take added precautions when on the road, but we need to remember that this time of year is busier for farmers and we need to be aware of this and to be defensive drivers.

By: Nick Hage – Citizens Agency Manager/Insurance Agent

Investment and Insurance products:

  • Are Not Insured by the FDIC or any other federal government agency
  • Are Not deposits of or guaranteed by a Bank or any Bank Affiliate
  • May lose value

Citizens For Citizens

2017 Citizens For Citizens

Some of the employee team members of Citizens For Citizens.

The employees of Citizens Bank Minnesota take great pride in volunteerism and helping our neighbors within the community. We have been active in this effort for many years and through evolution and change, we are now Citizens for Citizens. By having a variety of fundraisers during the year, we will be able to donate all proceeds to several non-profits/charities in and around the communities we serve. This year they include the Southern Minnesota Crisis Nursery, NUMAS Haus, Minnesota Lions Diabetes Foundation and Relay for Life. Our Lafayette branch is donating proceeds to the Lafayette Area Ambulance, our La Salle branch is donating to the Watonwan County Backpack program, and our Lakeville branch is donating to PawPads. Our fundraisers include pot lucks, an employee silent auction, a crafters’ weekend and a 5K walk/run, among others. Our hope is to impact the lives of our neighbors in some way through these efforts.

By: Barb Marti, Administrative Assistant/Receptionist

Renters Insurance/Tenant Insurance

Renters Insurance post

There are many individuals and businesses out there that own multiple dwellings and rent them out to tenants.  These individuals and businesses will want to cover these dwellings under a dwelling/fire and/or a commercial policy if it fits.

This policy will cover the dwelling itself, any detached structures, personal property in the dwelling that is owned by the owner can have coverage added, loss of rents and landlord liability and medical payments to others coverage.  In the case of a wind storm, a hail storm, etc. the structure and personal property that is damaged would then be covered under such policy.

The agent will do a replacement cost of the dwelling and any detached structures to ensure that they are covering the dwelling at 80-100% of replacement cost value.  The replacement cost value is the cost it would be today to replace the dwelling with like materials and labor.  The agent and insured want to verify that these numbers are adequate, otherwise, in the case of a claim and the house is underinsured, there can be a coinsurance penalty.

When looking at the other side of things and who is actually occupying the dwelling(s), the tenant should have a renter’s policy in place.  This renter’s policy will cover the personal property of the renter, additional living expense and loss of rents coverage, personal liability and medical payments.

It should be both the owner’s duty and the renter’s duty to make certain that they both have the correct coverages in place.  Also, the owner should confirm that the rental contract requires that the tenant must carry renter’s insurance in the case of a claim so if there is a claim, a fire for instance, and the tenant is found liable for the fire, the renter’s policy would come into place for coverage.  The owner does not want to have the misfortune of having a claim by the tenant who has no coverage and who does damage to their dwelling.

In short, if you are a landlord, make sure that you and your tenants have the necessary insurance coverage in place and that you ask for renewal policies each year to have on file.

By: Nick Hage, Citizens Agency Manager/Insurance Agent

Investment and Insurance products:

  • Are Not Insured by the FDIC or any other federal government agency
  • Are Not deposits of or guaranteed by a Bank or any Bank Affiliate
  • May lose value

I Bought What?! Enroll in Text Alerts!

shutterstock_387607450Don’t get caught off-guard by fraudulent activity on your debit card! With Citizens Bank Minnesota’s MasterCard Debit Card, you can enroll to receive FREE* smsGuardian text alerts for your card activity! This is a great tool for fraud prevention and detection.

*Message and data rates may apply


Enroll in smsGuardian Text Alerts today!

Enrollment must be completed for each card number.  If at any time your debit card number or cell phone number change, you will need to re-enroll with updated information.

Alerts will be sent for the following:

  • Out of state transactions
  • International transactions
  • Card not present and online purchases
  • Authorizations greater than $300.00
  • 8 or more transactions in 24 hours
  • Declined authorization attempts

If you receive an alert for a transaction or attempt that was not initiated by you and you believe to be fraudulent, reply to the text with the code provided in the alert and your card will be shut down immediately.  If you have questions regarding the alert or need additional information, contact our Citizens Connection Department at 1-800-549-0194 available Monday thru Friday 7:30am – 5:00 pm and Saturday 9am – 12pm.

By: Melissa Bergeman, Citizens Connection Manager/Complaint Resolution Officer

Citizens Bank Minnesota hosts Ag Seminar

Citizens Bank Minnesota hosted an Ag Seminar at the Best Western Plus, in New Ulm, on the morning of January 12, 2017. With over 200 participants, the topic of the event was “Positioning for Success”. Senior Vice President Tim Hoscheit welcomed the participants and thanked everyone for coming, speaking briefly about Citizens Bank Minnesota and its commitment to agriculture. Next, Vice President Kevin Yager introduced the Keynote Speaker, Dr. David Kohl.

Dr. Kohl, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, captivated the audience with Global and National outlooks and statistics. He addressed global economic trends and what to watch for in the major trade countries. Dr. Kohl also addressed the national concern with the agricultural economy. He noted that some of the adjustments the top half of producers are making include cutting rent and input costs by $50/acre along with implementing marketing and risk management programs along with diversifying income streams. Health care and insurance cost concerns were discussed as a major expense for most farm families along with the general need to monitor all family living expenses. Dr. Kohl spoke on the trend of millennials in the workplace and farming operations. The need to implement innovation and technology for the sake of efficiencies was discussed as well as the need for “knowledge transfer”. With as many as 21% of American farms not having a next generation to carry out business, the need for transition planning is great. Dr. Kohl suggested getting the next generation active in the business planning early on, working with the 4 cornerstones of success: Planning, Strategizing, Monitoring, and Executing.

Vice President Duane Laffrenzen introduced the next speaker, David Scheibel, from Minnesota West Ag Services. David is a grain marketing consultant offering brokerage and accounting services. With the USDA January reports coming in just minutes before David spoke, he was able to give a brief analysis of the results and the projected outcomes for the 2017 crop year. He spoke on trends, costs and breakevens, as well as risk management options for the upcoming marketing year.
The 2017 Ag Seminar was a great success!

By: RoseAnn Wendinger, Assistant Vice President

Dustan Cross elected as Chairman of Citizens Bank Minnesota Board of Directors

Citizens Bank Minnesota Board of Directors Chairman, Dustin Cross

Dustin Cross

Citizens Bancorporation of New Ulm, Inc., parent company of Citizens Bank Minnesota, held its annual meeting on Tuesday, January 10, 2017. Citizens Bancorporation is owned by approximately 350 shareholders from the New Ulm and surrounding area.

Re-elected to three year terms were incumbent directors Lou Geistfeld, Bob Hinnenthal and Ted Marti. Other directors not up for election include Bill Brennan, Bryon Christenson, Dustan Cross, Mark Furth, Walt Luneburg and Jim Schuetzle. Dustan Cross was elected to serve as Chairman of the Board, replacing Mark Furth who will be retiring from the Board in March.

Stockholders in attendance were provided with a complete review of the financial performance of the bank for 2016. Highlights of the financial report were that the bank has grown to over $369 million in assets, has total equity capital of $38,930,000, and a net profit in 2016 of $2,770,581. Dividends paid to stockholders in 2016 totaled $0.76 per share.

Citizens Bank Minnesota was chartered in 1876 and has offices in New Ulm, Lafayette, La Salle and Lakeville.

How to Cure Your Post-Holiday Financial Hangover

Ask anyone you know, and everyone seems to have a cure for a hangover. Some of the more traditional fixes include aspirin or ibuprofen, lots of water, coffee and lots of food. Then there are more unusual remedies, like drinking pickle juice. But how do you cure a financial hangover? You overspent before the holidays, and now the balance on your credit card bills looks terrifying in the sobering light of January.

At least with a typical hangover, if your attempts to alleviate the pain don’t work or you simply don’t fight it, the misery will end sooner rather than later. Doing nothing when you have a financial hangover can make your situation worse (i.e., your debt will grow), and even if you try to immediately cure it, the effects can last for months (i.e., the debt may be gone, but money may still be tight). So if you spent a little too much leading up to the holidays – or went way overboard – here are some options to help you undo the damage.

Return some items. This may not be much of a solution since you can’t very well go to your friends and family and ask for your gifts back, and you certainly don’t want to suggest to your children that Santa might want to repossess a few presents. Still, it’s a strategy worth a few seconds of consideration. If you got carried away and made some expensive purchases for yourself in December, keep in mind that most stores have at least a 30-day return policy.

Utilize your credit cards. Yes, your credit cards may have gotten you into this mess, but they may be able to help get you out of it. Randy Hopper, vice president of credit cards at Navy Federal Credit Union in Vienna, Va., suggests a balance transfer. That is, if you have a credit card with one of those low- or zero-interest deals, many of which are up to 18 months, and you can transfer the balance of your other credit card, you’ll have a place to put your debt, with low to no interest, while you try and pay it off. But Hopper warns: “Be mindful that once the initial balance transfer period is over, the interest rate will jump to a higher rate.”

Avoid shopping. Try to steer clear of the post-holiday January sales. “I would encourage people not to accumulate additional debt,” says Clare Levison, a Blacksburg, Va.-based certified public accountant and a member of the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission. “Even though winter stuff might be on clearance, which seems crazy with the temperatures we’ve been having, try to resist going after the bargains.”

Do your taxes now. If you have a big, fat refund coming, Levison points out that it could be the cure to your post-holiday hangover. “And anything you have that’s left over, I, of course, have to suggest that you should put into savings,” Levison says.

Bring in some extra money, creatively. It may not solve all of your problems, but you could try to raise some extra income quickly, suggests Andrew Johnson, spokesperson for GreenPath Debt Solutions, a nationwide nonprofit headquartered in Detroit that helps consumers with credit card debt, housing debt and bankruptcy. “Look for unused items around the home than contain scrap materials that can be sold quickly, like iron or brass. My mother sold a roll of copper screen on her own that she found in her basement, and made some quick cash,” Johnson says. He also points out that you could try selling or pawning unwanted items.

Use this moment as the catalyst to start budgeting. If things are really bad and you want to fix your finances so this never happens again, “you’ve got to make changes,” says John McFarland, a personal finance professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va. “The good news is that these same changes might lead a to a financially healthier holiday season next year if you make them permanent instead of temporary.”

While you examine your budget and decide where to make changes, McFarland suggests doing what you would do if you had binged on food or alcohol. “Unless you’re an addict, you lay off for awhile. Let’s do the same with money. Put away the credit cards, pay everything with cash except for your regular bills and begin to understand your baseline financial position,” he says.

Incorporate your debt into your other resolutions. This is a time of year when you may be resolving to lose weight or exercise. “So that makes it a great time to cut your budget in eating out and entertainment,” Levison says. “If you eat at home more often, it’ll save you dollars and calories and you can use that money to go toward your holiday bills instead.”

You could even try to convince yourself of this: All of this holiday debt you’re wallowing in could be the best thing that ever happened to you if you use the experience to make positive changes in your life, like eating less fast food or becoming better at budgeting.

As financial hangover cures go, “that is a more positive spin on things,” Levison says.

And at least you don’t have to drink pickle juice.

Article courtesy of: Geoff Williams via

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