|Nov 30, 2011 --
Dry edible bean producers in eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska had been 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. A steering committee was formed in January 1998. The steering committee conducted a producer survey at a series of producer meetings in the spring of 1999 to determine producer interest in the proposed cooperative, willingness to contribute capital and production information. In February 2000 Stateline Bean Producer Cooperative Nonstock was formed. The cooperative had an opportunity in August 2001 to purchase an existing facility 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 in 2002.
In the fall of 2011, Stateline Bean celebrated 11 years of receiving beans from its members at the 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 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.