Gering, Nebraska, Oct 28, 2011 -- USDA Rural Development Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul and staff joined members of Stateline Bean today in Gering, Nebraska to celebrate Cooperative Month by recognizing the success of Stateline Bean Cooperative.
“Co-ops are extremely important to Nebraska. Because Stateline Bean is locally owned, a larger percent of the members’ dollars stay local, circulating in the rural counties and towns where their members live and work. These dollars also support other local businesses and generate tax revenues that in turn support schools, police and fire services and other local government services,” said Moul. “We are very pleased to assist Stateline Bean Cooperative in their venture.”
Dry edible bean producers in eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska were searching for ways to increase returns on their crops. In 1997, they began seeking other markets and discussing the idea of forming a cooperative that would allow them to participate more fully in traditional marketing margins, as well as add value to their beans in the form of further processed products. In February 2000 Stateline Bean Producer Cooperative Nonstock was formed. The cooperative had an opportunity in August 2001 to purchase a couple existing facilities and were looking for a lender to partner with them. USDA Rural Development provided Points West Community Bank (formerly known as First National Bank of Torrington) an 80 percent guaranteed loan for $1.9 million to Stateline Bean.
In the fall of 2011, Stateline Bean celebrated 11 years of receiving beans from its members at their Gering and Bridgeport facilities. The cooperative has grown from 180 initial members to 260 grower/owners, with 27 new members this year alone. Stateline’s market share has increased from 15 percent to 25 percent and all area growers have profited from the reduction in processor margins. Since Stateline purchased the Gering and Bridgeport plants, the cooperative has processed in excess of 4 million bags of dry edible beans.
“Stateline’s success is directly attributed to the dedication of our grower owners and their commitment to deliver a quality product,” said General Manager John Lightcap, Stateline Bean.
“The reason Stateline Bean Cooperative exists today is because of the great program guarantees that USDA is willing to provide to startup organizations. The success of the Stateline Bean Cooperative is directly attributed to the strength of its growers, management and the strength of its Board of Directors,” said Ryan Schilreff, Points West Community Bank.
During Cooperative Month throughout October, USDA Rural Development focuses special attention on cooperatives as a key source of jobs. Co-ops are playing a role, as our nation strives to reduce high levels of unemployment, by providing good jobs for many people in the farm sector alone. When American agriculture, utilities and industry are strong and thriving, it translates into more jobs and more economic vitality for the nation. Cooperatives are business models that put the needs of member-owners and community first, and which help to keep more sales dollars and profits working close to home.
For more information on business and industry guaranteed loans contact Marla Marx at firstname.lastname@example.org or (308) 632-2195. Visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/ne.