Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
CHS Inc. (CHS, we, us, our) is one of the nation’s leading integrated agricultural companies. As a cooperative, CHS is owned by farmers and ranchers and their member cooperatives (members) across the United States. We also have preferred stockholders that own shares of our 8% Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock (8% Preferred Stock), which is listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market LLC (NASDAQ) under the symbol CHSCP; Class B Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock, Series 1 (Class B Series 1 Preferred Stock), which is listed on the NASDAQ under the symbol CHSCO; and Class B Reset Rate Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock, Series 2 (Class B Series 2 Preferred Stock), which is listed on the NASDAQ under the symbol CHSCN. During September 2014, we issued shares of Class B Reset Rate Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock, Series 3 (Class B Series 3 Preferred Stock), which is listed on the NASDAQ under the symbol CHSCM.
We buy commodities from and provide products and services to patrons (including member and other non-member customers), both domestic and international. We provide a wide variety of products and services, from initial agricultural inputs such as fuels, farm supplies, crop nutrients and crop protection products, to agricultural outputs that include grains and oilseeds, grain and oilseed processing and food products. A portion of our operations are conducted through equity investments and joint ventures whose operating results are not fully consolidated with our results; rather, a proportionate share of the income or loss from those entities is included as a component in our net income under the equity method of accounting.
Basis of Presentation
The consolidated financial statements include the accounts of CHS and all of our wholly-owned and majority-owned subsidiaries and limited liability companies, which is primarily National Cooperative Refinery Association (NCRA), included in our Energy segment. The effects of all significant intercompany transactions have been eliminated.
In December 2011, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2011-11, “Disclosures about Offsetting Assets and Liabilities.” ASU No. 2011-11, and the subsequent amendments issued in ASU No. 2013-01, "Clarifying the Scope of Disclosures about Offsetting Assets and Liabilities," create new disclosure requirements about the nature of an entity’s rights of setoff and related arrangements associated with its financial instruments and recognized derivative instruments. The disclosure requirements in this update were effective for our annual and interim reporting period beginning in fiscal 2014. The required disclosures have been included in Note 12, Derivative Financial Instruments and Hedging Activities.
In February 2013, the FASB issued ASU No. 2013-02, "Comprehensive Income." ASU No. 2013-02 requires an entity to provide information about the effects of significant reclassifications out of accumulated other comprehensive income, by component, either on the face of the financial statements or in the notes to the financial statements and is intended to help improve the transparency of changes in other comprehensive income. ASU No. 2013-02 does not amend any existing requirements for reporting net income or other comprehensive income in the financial statements. ASU No. 2013-02 became effective for our annual and interim reporting period beginning in fiscal 2014. The required disclosures have been included in Note 9, Equities.
Cash equivalents includes short-term, highly liquid investments with original maturities of three months or less at the date of acquisition. The fair value of cash and cash equivalents approximates the carrying value because of the short maturity of the instruments.
Grain, processed grain, oilseed, processed oilseed and other minimally processed soy-based inventories are stated at net realizable values which approximate market values. All other inventories are stated at the lower of cost or market. Costs for inventories produced or modified by us through a manufacturing process include fixed and variable production and raw material costs, and in-bound freight costs for raw materials. Costs for inventories purchased for resale include the cost of products and freight incurred to place the products at our points of sale. The costs of certain energy inventories (wholesale refined products, crude oil and asphalt) are determined on the last-in, first-out (LIFO) method; all other inventories of non-grain products purchased for resale are valued on the first-in, first-out (FIFO) and average cost methods.
Derivative Financial Instruments and Hedging Activities
Our derivative instruments primarily consist of commodity and freight futures and forward contracts and, to a lesser degree, may include foreign currency and interest rate swap contracts. These contracts are economic hedges of price risk, but are not designated or accounted for as hedging instruments for accounting purposes, with the exception of certain interest rate swap contracts which are accounted for as cash flow hedges or fair value hedges. Derivative instruments are recorded on our Consolidated Balance Sheets at fair value. See Note 12, Derivative Financial Instruments and Hedging Activities and Note 13, Fair Value Measurements for additional information.
Even though we have netting arrangements for our exchange-traded futures and options contracts and certain over-the-counter (OTC) contracts, we report our derivatives on a gross basis on our Consolidated Balance Sheets. Our associated margin deposits are also reported on a gross basis.
Many of our derivative contracts with futures and options brokers require us to make both initial margin deposits of cash or other assets and subsequent deposits, depending on changes in commodity prices, in order to comply with applicable regulations. Our margin deposit assets are held by external brokers in segregated accounts and will be used to settle the associated derivative contracts on their specified settlement dates.
Supplier Advance Payments
Beginning in fiscal 2014, supplier advance payments are reported as a separate line item on our Consolidated Balance Sheets. Prior period amounts have been reclassified accordingly. Supplier advance payments primarily include amounts paid for in-transit grain purchases from suppliers and amounts paid to crop nutrient suppliers to lock in future supply and pricing.
Joint ventures and other investments, in which we have significant ownership and influence, but not control, are accounted for in our consolidated financial statements using the equity method of accounting. Investments in other cooperatives are stated at cost, plus patronage dividends received in the form of capital stock and other equities. Patronage dividends are recorded as a reduction to cost of goods sold at the time qualified written notices of allocation are received. Investments in other debt and equity securities are considered available for sale financial instruments and are stated at fair value, with unrealized amounts included as a component of accumulated other comprehensive loss. Investments in debt and equity instruments are carried at amounts that approximate fair values. Investments in joint ventures and cooperatives have no quoted market prices.
Property, Plant and Equipment
Property, plant and equipment are stated at cost less accumulated depreciation and amortization. Depreciation and amortization are provided on the straight-line method by charges to operations at rates based upon the expected useful lives of individual or groups of assets (15 to 20 years for land and land improvements; 20 to 40 years for buildings; 5 to 20 years for machinery and equipment; and 3 to 10 years for office and other). The cost and related accumulated depreciation and amortization of assets sold or otherwise disposed of are removed from the related accounts and resulting gains or losses are reflected in operations. Expenditures for maintenance and minor repairs and renewals are expensed, while costs of major repairs and betterments are capitalized and amortized on a straight-line basis over the period of time estimated to lapse until the next major repair occurs. We also capitalize and amortize eligible costs to acquire or develop internal-use software that are incurred during the application development stage.
Property, plant and equipment and other long-lived assets are reviewed in order to assess recoverability based on projected income and related cash flows on an undiscounted basis when triggering events occur. Should the sum of the expected future net cash flows be less than the carrying value, an impairment loss would be recognized. An impairment loss would be measured by the amount by which the carrying value of the asset exceeds the fair value of the asset.
We have asset retirement obligations with respect to certain of our refineries and other assets due to various legal obligations to clean and/or dispose of the component parts at the time they are retired. In most cases, these assets can be used for extended and indeterminate periods of time, as long as they are properly maintained and/or upgraded. It is our practice and current intent to maintain refineries and related assets and to continue making improvements to those assets based on technological advances. As a result, we believe our refineries and related assets have indeterminate lives for purposes of estimating asset retirement obligations because dates or ranges of dates upon which we would retire a refinery and related assets cannot reasonably be estimated at this time. When a date or range of dates can reasonably be estimated for the retirement of any component part of a refinery or other asset, we will estimate the cost of performing the retirement activities and record a liability for the fair value of that future cost.
We have other assets that we may be obligated to dismantle at the end of corresponding lease terms subject to lessor discretion for which we have recorded asset retirement obligations. Based on our estimates of the timing, cost and probability of removal, these obligations are not material.
Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets
Goodwill and other intangible assets are included in other assets on our Consolidated Balance Sheets and are reviewed for impairment annually or more frequently if impairment conditions arise; and, if impaired, are written down to fair value. For goodwill, annual impairment testing occurs in our third quarter. Other intangible assets consist primarily of customer lists, trademarks and agreements not to compete. Intangible assets subject to amortization are expensed over their respective useful lives (ranging from 2 to 30 years). We have no material intangible assets with indefinite useful lives.
We made certain immaterial acquisitions during the three years ended August 31, 2014, which were accounted for using the acquisition method of accounting. Operating results of the acquisitions were included in our consolidated financial statements since the respective acquisition dates. The respective purchase prices were allocated to the assets, liabilities and identifiable intangible assets acquired based upon the estimated fair values. The excess purchase prices over the estimated fair values of the net assets acquired have been reported as goodwill.
In our Energy segment, major maintenance activities (turnarounds) at the two refineries are accounted for under the deferral method. Turnarounds are the scheduled and required shutdowns of refinery processing units. The costs related to the significant overhaul and refurbishment activities include materials and direct labor costs. The costs of turnarounds are deferred when incurred and amortized on a straight-line basis over the period of time estimated to lapse until the next turnaround occurs, which is generally 2 to 4 years. Amortization expense related to turnaround costs is included in cost of goods sold in our Consolidated Statements of Operations. The selection of the deferral method, as opposed to expensing the turnaround costs when incurred, results in deferring recognition of the turnaround expenditures. The deferral method also results in the classification of the related cash outflows as investing activities in our Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows, whereas expensing these costs as incurred, would result in classifying the cash outflows as operating activities.
We provide a wide variety of products and services, from production agricultural inputs such as fuels, farm supplies and crop nutrients, to agricultural outputs that include grain and oilseed, processed grains and oilseeds and food products. We recognize revenue when persuasive evidence of an arrangement exists, delivery has occurred, the sales price is fixed or determinable, and collection is probable. Grain and oilseed sales are recorded after the commodity has been delivered to its destination and final weights, grades and settlement prices have been agreed upon. All other sales are recognized upon transfer of title, which could occur either upon shipment to or receipt by the customer, depending upon the terms of the transaction. Amounts billed to a customer as part of a sales transaction related to shipping and handling are included in revenues.
Liabilities, including legal costs, related to remediation of contaminated properties are recognized when the related costs are considered probable and can be reasonably estimated. Estimates of environmental costs are based on current available facts, existing technology, undiscounted site-specific costs and currently enacted laws and regulations. Recoveries, if any, are recorded in the period in which recovery is received. Liabilities are monitored and adjusted as new facts or changes in law or technology occur. Environmental expenditures are capitalized when such costs provide future economic benefits.
CHS is a nonexempt agricultural cooperative and files a consolidated federal income tax return with our 80% or more owned subsidiaries. We are subject to tax on income from nonpatronage sources, non-qualified patronage distributions and undistributed patronage-sourced income. Income tax expense is primarily the current tax payable for the period and the change during the period in certain deferred tax assets and liabilities. Deferred income taxes reflect the impact of temporary differences between the amounts of assets and liabilities recognized for financial reporting purposes and such amounts recognized for federal and state income tax purposes, based on enacted tax laws and statutory tax rates applicable to the periods in which the differences are expected to affect taxable income. Valuation allowances are established, when necessary, to reduce deferred tax assets to the amount expected to be realized.
Use of Estimates
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (U.S. GAAP) requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
In May 2014, the FASB issued ASU No. 2014-09, “Revenue from Contracts with Customers." ASU No. 2014-09 requires an entity to recognize revenue to depict the transfer of promised goods or services to customers in an amount that reflects the consideration to which the entity expects to be entitled in exchange for those goods or services. The guidance also requires an entity to disclose sufficient qualitative and quantitative information surrounding the nature, amount, timing and uncertainty of revenue and cash flows arising from contracts from customers. This ASU supersedes the revenue recognition requirements in Topic 605, Revenue Recognition, and most industry-specific guidance throughout the Industry Topics of the Codification. The amendments in this standard are effective beginning with our fiscal year starting September 1, 2017. We are currently evaluating the impact the adoption will have on our consolidated financial statements in fiscal 2018.