An Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) is an employee benefit plan that makes business owners its employees. At Once Again, the employee-owners own 100% of the company. The shares of our company stock is allocated to our accounts and must vest before we are entitled to receive them. “Vesting” is a process whereby we become entitled to an increasing percentage of our accounts over time. We receive the vested portion of our accounts at termination, disability, death, or retirement. These distributions are made in a lump sum or in installments over a period of five years. If we become disabled or die, our beneficiaries receive the vested portion of our ESOP accounts right away.
Once Again Nut Butter is 100% employee-owned. We are a company with an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP); however, we govern ourselves with a participative style of management.
In our employee-owned company, all the employees are owners after they complete one year of service.
The employee-owners meet on a regular basis. All employee-owners have voting rights. Each person gets one vote. Monthly company meetings are held to address the following: company policies, operational issues, and financial strategies. Committees are also formed to help direct company initiatives or resolve employee concerns, which could ultimately be subject to a final company vote (1 person = 1 vote). In addition, employees have their voice heard through Board elections. In fact, we have at least three employee-owners sitting on our Board of Directors.
The income that is generated in our business is distributed fairly. For example, we currently observe a 7:1 compensation ratio of highest to lowest paid employees. Profit-sharing bonuses are distributed equally to all owners too.
We are not hierarchical in our structure. The supply chain is flatter, and streamlined in the way that commodities are grown, purchased, and distributed. Products are produced with a higher level of integrity because all of us share ownership and we take pride in what we are producing for you.
Our employee-owned company cares a great deal that our growers and that they make a fair wage, so we engage in Honest in Trade practices. We work with co-ops in developing countries, helping to address issues of economic crisis and poverty. We also engage in domestic fair trade practices supporting small and rural farms.
Mission / Vision Statements
- Our Mission: We, the employee-owners of OANB, produce superior products for our customers. We are committed to sustainability and we spread integrity.
- Our Winning Proposition: We spread integrity.
Jubilee House Partnership
Once Again Nut Butter has been working with the Jubilee House, a charity located outside Managua, Nicaragua, since the 1980’s. Their program, Center for Development in Central America (CDCA) addresses the educational, social, and medical needs of the second poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. The program goal is to help communities become self-sufficient, sustainable, and democratic.
We, at Once Again, share their core belief that all people have the basic right to clean water, sanitation, food, education, employment, clothing, and housing. Co-op development is one tool used to build and maintain communities. Jubilee House has a medical clinic serving 15,000 community members, who support themselves through organic sesame farming co-ops, sewing co-ops, and, now, organic honey farming co-ops.
Once Again has worked with Jubilee House for more than 2 decades. The Jubilee House is a 501(c)(3) charity whose main purpose is to bring employment to Nicaraguans. About 25 years ago, Once Again, with the help of Jubilee House, planted a few acres of sesame as a test plot in Nicaragua.
A few acres of successfully grown sesame seeds planted 12 years ago have now turned into the development of 13 cooperatives representing 2,000 farmers. Once Again, has been buying sesame seeds at world market prices, which has greatly enhanced the living conditions of the farmers and their families.
Once Again is in engaged in Honest in Trade practices. Our support of the farmer co-ops helps to ensure collective bargaining to keep prices stable. The purchases of our commodities are, at a minimum, at world market rates, and more often than not, we pay above world market prices. The support we have shown our co-ops has improved the living conditions of small farmers and provided them with a network and means of solidarity. In 2013, we asked the co-ops to add organic peanuts as a rotation crop to sesame seeds, which they have done.
Community & Memberships
Once Again actively sponsors the Livingston Cycling Club. This organization inspires local athletes of all ages to get involved in running and cycling; in fact, it encourages participation in nearly every diverse cycling activity. It also promotes other multisport activities such as duathlons and triathlons. The club has a dedicated racing team, the Once Again Nut Butter Race Team. These athletes compete across New York State promoting health and fitness.
In addition, Once Again supports and sponsors most of the 5K races in our local Livingston County and all the multisport events provided by Score-This. Moreover, Once Again is also the headlining sponsor of the local 5K race the Raccoon Run and Scamper, which are organized by the Nunda Kiwanis Club. Many of our employee-owners participate in these activities with their families. Please note that we do not engage in favoritism; we do not sponsor individual athletes. Exceptions occur when an athlete is local and has a unique opportunity that our community is also supporting, or an athlete is a member of the Livingston Cycling Club and has won some unique opportunity.
OANB is also a member of:
- Greater Rochester Chamber Association
- Livingston County Chamber Association
- Northeast Organic Farmers Association
- American Peanut Council
- National Organic Coalition
- Organic Trade Association
- National Center for Employee Ownership
- ESOP Association
- Private Label Manufacturers Association