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Trend Toward Fewer, Larger Farms Means Major Changes for Co-ops

1960p1.GIF (319466 bytes)President John Kennedy greets 500 cooperative leaders attending the 1963 National conference on Cooperatives and the Future during a ceremony at the White House Rose Garden.





Dairy Co-ops Expanding Grade A Milk Operations

Originally established to manufacture ungraded milk, many dairy cooperatives are expanding to include Grade A fluid milk production, matching an overall industry trend. USDA's Farmer Cooperative Service (FCS) surveyed 124 dairy manufacturing cooperatives in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. FCS also analyzed three cooperatives experienced in handling Grade A milk from 1955-58. The study shows that cooperatives should carefully appraise the adequacy of fluid markets and the costs of adding facilities for Grade A milk. By participating in the federal milk order markets, such as the order for the Chicago area, many cooperatives are successfully developing new programs. For other smaller manufacturing plants, participating in the Grade A market has not been - and may never be - possible, short of merging with neighboring cooperatives.

Pacific Co-op Petroleum Patterns Changing

Petroleum, the original "pack horse" that carried Pacific Supply Cooperative (PSC) at Walla Walla, Wash., through its early years, still accounts for about half the coop's annual sales volume. But it has now been joined by an array of production supplies such as fertilizer, hardware, feed and automotive supplies. It also markets grain and seed. Business volume for 1959 reached nearly $31 million. PSC supplies 120 local cooperatives which serve 100,000 farmer-members in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. PSC recently opened a $2 million petroleum marine terminal on the Columbia River at Vancouver, Wash., with a storage capacity of more than 13 million gallons. Six river barges a month, each toting 200,000 gallons of petroleum, carry the bulk fuel further upriver to PSC local cooperatives. The terminal project was financed with the coop's operating capital, preferred stock sold to members and a loan from the Spokane Bank for Cooperatives.

Steps Suggested for Improving Member Relations

Because cooperatives are owned by their customers, a good member relations program is a must. The important first step is to settle on as program and then actively follow these suggested ideas: develop every director and employee into a friendly salesman for the co-op; make each annual meeting a red-letter day; hold additional membership meetings when warranted; prepare a good annual report; issue a periodic membership publication; prepare special leaflets for members; distribute selected educational materials; maintain an up-to-date mailing list; supply news regularly to local newspapers and magazines; use the local radio and television to carry news about your co-op; foster the family approach to member relations; provide cooperative educational opportunities for rural youth; maintain an attractive headquarters and facilities; cultivate friendly community relations; and cooperate with other cooperatives.

Kansas Co-op Bolsters Its Public Relations

Reaching the people touched by cooperative activities is the primary aim of the public relations program for the Farmer Cooperative Commissions Co. at Hutchison, Kan., which serves its 131 local associations in central and southwest Kansas. A series of six advertisements are running in local papers to promote the idea that the regional and its member locals are a valuable asset to the business and economic life of the area.
        Local cooperative associations have a combined annual payroll of more than $4.5 million and returned $6.5 million in savings to members - an annual contribution of $11 million into local communities to stimulate business. The cooperatives also pay plenty of taxes. In one small community alone, it pays 37 percent of all personal and property taxes. In many cases, the local cooperative is the largest user of local labor.
        Using a common theme, "How Do You Measure the Value of Your Local Community Institutions?," the ads ask readers what the cooperatives means to the community. These following headlines top the ads: People working together; Home-owned; Community responsibility; More local business; Shared by everyone; Paying taxes.

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Peruvian Indians work on the potato harvest outside a parish in San Juan, which sponsored a credit union to finance a local farm supply business and cooperative housing. Mechanized harvest is underway near a rural church in the Dakotas, a spring wheat-producing area served by Farmers Union Grain Terminal Association.

USDA Double-A Shield OKed

Lake to Lake Dairy Cooperative at Manitowoc, Wis., is the first cheese manufacturer in the United States to qualify for using USDA's Grade AA shield on its cheese labels. Consistently producing only the highest quality cheddar cheese has taken Lake to Lake "from an art to a science in cheese making," says General Manager Truman Torgerson.

Liquid Fertilizer Use Gaining

To illustrate the growth in liquid fertilizer service by Midwest local cooperatives, USDA/FCS has conducted a study of 17 cooperatives in Nebraska and Kansas.
        Twelve of these co-ops distribute anhydrous ammonia while 14 handle 28- and 32-percent nitrogen solution. Very little aqua ammonia, low-pressure nitrogen solutions or liquid mixed fertilizers are used by their members. Eight associations that keep records show that anhydrous ammonia represents 66 percent of the total fertilizer sales.

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These magazine covers from the 1960s depict co-op activities, including livestock feed and fertilizer operations, Agriculture Secretary Orville Freeman opening the National Co-op Month observance at USDA; and Midland Cooperative's prize-winning photo in the annual Cooperative Editorial Association photo contest.

Co-op Grain Drying on the Rise

The trend toward early harvest in the mid-1950s meant local elevators received more grain with a high moisture content - more than they could conveniently blend or sell at a discount. This trend has given rise to grain drying services at the elevators. A study by USDA’s Farmer Cooperative Service and Kansas State University of 10 local elevators looks at drying costs for a period of one year. During the period, these elevators dried 3.25 million bushels, or an average of 250,000 bushels per dryer. Direct dryer costs averaged 1.47 cents per bushel of grain. Costs were lower when drying volume was high.

Purchasing Co-ops Cut Farm Production Costs

The trend toward larger farms is prompting a marked increase in services members expect from their cooperatives. This includes bulk delivery of feed and petroleum products, spreading fertilizer and grinding feed by portable mills on the farm. In turn, cooperatives are providing more credit, transportation, fire insurance, electrical power and telephone services and related on-the-farm production or business service. As a result, regional cooperatives are increasing economic research on problems of internal operations.

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This mural provided inspiration for the Montgomery Farm Women's Co-op Market, Bethesda, MD.,and its manager, Marjorie Hicks.

Cooperatives in the 1960s began offering consumer recreation services - such as rural golfing and fishing - with the help of financing from the Rural Electrification Administration and technical assistance from USDA's Farmer Cooperative Service.

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The Consumers Co-op Association at Eau Claire, Wis., opened a car care center featuring a lounge where customers could watch television while waiting for their car to be serviced.

CCA Farm: A Testing and Proving Ground

A 150-acre working farm owned by Consumer Cooperative Association at Kansas City, Mo., provides a testing center for feeding and management practices, as well as research labs. The beef, dairy, turkey, chicken and part of the hog breeding enterprises are patterned after a normal Midwest farm operation. The three objectives of the farm are: 1) to determine specific rates of gain per pound of CCA feed under farm conditions; 2) to breed the hog of tomorrow; and 3) to find and demonstrate improved feeding and management practices that can apply to individual livestock and poultry enterprises. Nearly 4,300 visitors toured the farm during the first year. The initial open house after CCA’s 1959 annual meeting attracted 750 people.

Snowstorm Doesn't Impede Annual Meeting

Not even a driving snow storm could prevent 16 of the 19 members of the Sawyer County Mink Ranchers Cooperative at Hayward, Wis., from attending the 1961 annual meeting. Plans were approved to expand the food plant to make the operation more efficient. The initial plant was financed by a loan from the St. Paul Bank for Cooperatives. In its first month of operation, the cooperative showed a loss of $900, but by year-end it showed a net gain of $19,000. Savings for 1960 reached $33,000.

Secretary Freeman Sees New Horizons for Co-ops

Cooperatives can make their greatest contribution only if they consciously seek ever- widening horizons toward which to set their own goals, Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman tells the 1961 American Institute of Cooperation.
        Freeman says cooperatives should "make their voices heard effectively and constructively in formulation and adoption of a national farm policy directed toward achieving broad goals for American agriculture." He encourages "all farmer cooperatives to cooperate with one another in the interest of a broad legislative program for farmers, rather than speaking only from their specific commodity interest with small and fragmented voices." He urges cooperatives to help improve public understanding of the contributions and needs of the nation's farmers. He also urges cooperatives to strengthen the bargaining power of farmers and explore benefits of vertical and horizontal integration - especially in areas where modern science and technology offer advantages, such as in processing commodities.

Seminole Indian Cattlemen Form Co-op

For several years the cattle were owned by the Seminole Indian tribe in Florida, but then cooperative principles were adopted to improve marketing and production practices. The producers formed Big Cypress Indian Cattlemen's Association, which is now a member of the Glades Livestock Marketing Association. Tribal herds had been dispersed and individual ownership has been achieved by members purchasing the cattle. It sold 115 fat, full-range cows at its first sale in 1961. The co-op has grown to 37 members who own about 1,500 head of high-grade Brahman-cross cattle. They run registered Angus bulls with their foundation herds.

Scrambling for Eggs the Co-op Way

The Inter-County Cooperative Association at Woodridge, N.Y., could build a mountain with all the eggs it has handled in its 25 years. In 1936, its initial year, the cooperative had 41,470 hundredweight in feed sales, which has grown to 1.3 million hundredweight in 1960. In its quarter century, the cooperative has allocated more than $1.5 million in patronage refunds and paid out more than $376,000 in cash refunds. The pullet financing program helps members with replacement flocks. Financing bulk bins boosts bulk feed receipts on members' farms. It is the first organization in the East to initiate an egg quality control program with federal-state grading service at the farm level.

Coops in the 1960s became more adept at marketing.

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National Grade Cooperative Association used Fred Flintstone to promote Welch grape products.

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Sunkist Growers opened its Citrus House at Disneyland.

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June is Dairy Month was heavily promoted.

Service Co-ops Raise Living Standard

Farm service cooperatives and farmer-owned mutual service companies have played an important part in the development of rural America in the 1960s. They provided farm business services in electricity, telephone, insurance, irrigation, credit and transportation to supporting commercial farm operations. Mutual irrigation companies, for instance, served more than 7,000 rural areas throughout the western third of the United States to bring water for crop irrigation on and and semi-arid soils and create prosperous farms. In 1,600 or more rural areas in 40 states, farmers' mutual insurance companies are providing more than half of the fire insurance carried on farm property and save their 3.5 million members at least $30 million in annual costs.

U.S. Co-op Marketing Movement Turns 50

Cooperative marketing in the United States is marking its 50th anniversary in 1963. The occasion is being observed in many ways by cooperatives, coast to coast.
        In Oregon, for example, the Apple Growers Association is observing a double celebration, since 1963 also marks its 50th anniversary. The co-op was formed in 1913 when a bumper apple crop in Oregon's Hood River valley prompted growers who had been supporting four competing organizations to join forces in a new cooperative. In 1913, the Apple Growers Association had 400 grower/members who controlled 65 percent of the area's fruit. It secured a start-up loan of $5,000 from a local bank.
        By 1963, assets of the cooperative had grown to more than $8 million and its member equities stood at $4.2 million. The association today sells $11 million in products and purchases $1 million in supplies for its members annually. Its facilities include a 20,000-ton cannery, a 2-million-plus box cold storage warehouse and five fruit packing houses.
        It was 50 years ago, in 1913, that the U.S. Department of Agriculture established an Office of Markets to assist producers in marketing farm crops and purchasing farm supplies cooperatively. Its purpose was to help cooperatives such as the Apple Growers Association organize on a sound basis and develop efficient operating methods, work later carried out by USDA’s Farmer Cooperative Service. A 1913 survey by USDA showed that 3,099 marketing cooperatives had a total business volume of more than $310 million, compared with 5,727 cooperatives with an annual business volume of $9.6 billion in farm products by 1960-61.
        Despite the 50-year span, cooperatives are still having trouble securing adequate bargaining power. In 1913, the best answer was to establish a good local or regional commodity marketing cooperative. Fifty years later, the goal was to merge or consolidate those cooperatives and enlarge the scope of their activities.

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President Lyndon Johnson was keynote speaker at the 1967 Co-op Month observance.

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A Korean co-op signpost says that the association is "by, of, and for farmer-members."

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Lyman McKee, president of Milk Producers Co-op at Madison, Wis., and Dairy Society International, serves chocolate milk to visitors at the dairy mission at the World Trade Fair in Accra, Ghana.






Seed Co-op Foraging for Answers

Farmers Forage Research Cooperative (FFR) organized in 1960 at Madison, Wis., is unique in the cooperative business world because it combines two western cooperatives that produce forage seed for research with eight Midwestern and eastern cooperatives that will eventually distribute improved seed varieties. FFR conducts basic and applied research in developing improved varieties of alfalfa and clovers and plans to add other crops later. In 1962, FFR operated a combination office, laboratory and large greenhouses and tested 18,000 seedlings on its 80 acres in Battle Ground, Ind.

NW Co-op Stabilizes Mink Feed Supply

Contrast the wild mink plunging into the icy Yukon River for its daily fill of fresh fish with their later day cousins in 1963, living on a fur farm and being served a daily ration of fish, grain, liver and vitamins for a well-balanced meal by the Northwest Fur Breeders cooperative (NFB) of Edmunds, Wash. Ranchers formed the cooperative in 1947 to stabilize the supply of fish feed for the expanding mink ranch industry.
        NFB has become the second largest cooperative of its kind in the world and supplies fish and other foods for a half million minks in Washington, Idaho, Montana and northwestern Oregon. The cooperative's 190 mink rancher members own more than 70,000 female breeding minks. By the end of 1961, NFB had issued certificates for retained margins and investments worth $1.3 million and had retired more than $685,000 in stock, leaving only 5 years of retained certificates to be retired.

St. Louis Co-op Bank Marks 30th

In marking its 30th anniversary, the St. Louis Bank for Cooperatives - the first of the 12 district banks in the Farm Credit System - hosted 50 representatives from cooperatives in Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas. D.M. Hardy, the bank's first and current president, was honored during the celebration. The bank loaned members more than $169 million, for a grand total of $1.4 billion in 30 years. The bank returned more than $1.4 million in stock to members as patronage refunds.

1960p14.GIF (53383 bytes) A 1966 Christmas card from Farmers Union Central Exchange depicted children from Bombay, India, primary schools offering thanks for CARE product donations in an effort that helped feed 19,000 children.  Employees and the co-op skipped holiday cards, parties and gifts for one another to finance the project.

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This circular cover was used for a 1966 article about the growth of farm supply cooperatives.

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Farmland Industries draped uncut press sheets for one of its publications near the member relations booth at its annual meeting.   The intent was to stress the need for communicating with the membership.

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Cooperatives in the 1960s increasingly turned to computers to quicken handling of records and calculations for members and management.   North Central Wool Marketing Co-op at Minneapolis used computers for storing fieldman records and dividend payments.

Transportation Service Achieves Savings

The transportation bill for products marketed and supplies purchased by farmer cooperatives is about $1 billion per year, although only 2 percent of 5,000 cooperatives use a full-time traffic or transportation manager. An estimated 33,000 trucks are used as mobile warehouses through which members' products and supplies move. The FS Services' truck fleet in Illinois, for instance, delivers 70,000 loads of merchandise to its member cooperatives. Midwest grain cooperatives own or lease 60 barges and hire hundreds of others to transport grain on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Four regional cooperatives ship 14.3 million bushels of grain via barges for export.

Freeman, Voorhis Mark League's 50th Anniversary

Speaking at the 50th anniversary congress of the Cooperative League of the USA, Agriculture Secretary Orville Freeman pledges the partnership of USDA and the Farmer Cooperative Service in helping cooperatives achieve even greater usefulness. To solve the nation's tough internal problems and face growing responsibilities and expanding opportunities, Freeman urges "better use of cooperatives in new ways and to meet new needs as we struggle to meet our national objectives." These objectives include achieving income parity for the family farm, helping poor Americans lift themselves out of poverty, and using the voluntary self-help form of organization to open up economic opportunities in cities.
        In his final report after serving for 20 years as the League's executive, Jerry Voorhis says cooperatives relate to five great needs of the times: 1) they strengthen farmers' position in the marketplace; 2) they preserve the best in rural life and revive rural communities; 3) they give people in cities a sense of belonging and of taking part in worthwhile community activities; 4) they help the poor; 5) they help solve the hunger crisis and help people learn to live together in peace.
        He challenges the League to help members find the vision and courage to adjust, expand, integrate and innovate services. He says they must tell what cooperatives are doing so they can grow and develop rapidly and freely and should work for cooperation among cooperatives of all kinds. They must continue to raise the professional competence of all people in cooperatives: directors, managers, employees and members. "Growth is the prime necessity of the next 50 years in cooperative development," he says. Not simply growth in size, but also growth in vision and participation by members. He says co-ops must emphasize differences and unique values.

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Agriculture Secretary Orville Freeman (third from left) reviews a co-op month proclamation with Patrick Healy, National Milk Producers Federation; J.K. Stern, Cooperative League of the USA; and Torben Roane, Danish ambassador to the U.S.



Sioux Honey: Buzzing Distribution

Sioux Honey Association at Sioux City, Iowa, operates a "buzzing" distribution network. In 1964, it moved more than 48 million pounds of honey through that network to reach every part of the United States and many foreign markets. The cooperative's 1,100 members are scattered over 32 states. Their crude honey is hauled by truck from 500 origin points into six processing plants stretching sweetly across 2,500 miles, from Waycross, Ga., to Anaheim, Calif.

Large Breeding Co-ops Consolidate

Midwest Breeders Cooperative has been formed through the combination of Consolidated Breeders Cooperative of Anoka, Minn., and Badger Breeders Cooperative of Shawano, Wis. Service and semen sales of the new organization, formed in 1967, will exceed $4 million. Now the nation's largest breeders' cooperative, it has 50,000 members.

Calcot Recounts 40 Years of Progress

In observing his cotton marketing cooperative's 40th anniversary, J. Russell Kennedy, executive vice president of Calcot, Ltd., of Bakersfield, Calif., stresses: "We have never lost sight of Calcot's original objective of moving members' cotton to market at the lowest cost, and obtaining for [them] full market value consistent with sound business practices, and maintaining our superior reputation with the textile industry." The cooperative now serves 4,000 members who deliver hundreds of thousands of bales each year to Calcot for sale around the globe.

At Age 50, WFA Just Getting Started

Western Farmers Association (WFA) at Seattle, Wash., marked its 50th anniversary in 1967 but considers this only the beginning of its efforts as an egg marketing cooperative. It was started with only $245 in capital by 114 Washington poultry producers; at that time it had no employees or facilities. The first year was marked by $214,000 in egg sales and $203 patronage earnings for members. Embarking on its second half century, WFA serves almost 50,000 members and offers turkeys, canned and dehydrated poultry products, select frozen and canned vegetables, grains, seeds, beans, eggs and fresh chickens. Its labeled products appear across the nation and export markets, with Alaska a prime market.

Dairymen's League: 60 Years of Service

Dairymen's League Cooperative Association of New York City is using a special supplement to its official membership newspaper to tell its six-decade history. The supplement also is appearing in four New York newspapers. The 15,000-member dairy co-op markets 3.9 billion pounds of milk and has net annual sales of $279 million. It bargains successfully for higher milk prices for dairymen supplying milk to New York City, the world's largest market. It has established a pooling plan, created a system of classified pricing, developed and promoted its trade name in the Northeast and has obtained U.S. Public Health Service approval for its entire milk supply.

Statex on the Move

There's no standing still at its 50th birthday for Farmers Union Central Exchange of Omaha, better known by its Statex brand name. It is using a new method of cooperative financing - industrial development bonds, offered by the City of Fremont, Neb. - to raise $7 million to build an anhydrous ammonia plant and distribute its production. Joining the co-op in a new corporate structure that will operate the FEL-TEX ammonia plant is Farmers Elevator Service Company (FELCO), of Ft.Dodge, Iowa.

Making Comeback the Cooperative Way

Harness a new cooperative to a new government loan source and you have the formula for small farmers in Mississippi to make a comeback. Thirty farmers have formed the Hinds Farm Service Association in Raymond and have obtained a loan from the Office of Economic Development within the Farmers Home Administration (FmHA). The loan will enable them to lease an equipment shed and to buy machinery to plant, cultivate and harvest soybeans, cotton, and other crops. Membership has tripled to 90, and the co-op is now using 25 pieces of equipment. The cooperative turned to Hinds County Co-op of Raymond, a member of Mississippi Federated Cooperatives, to manage the venture. During fiscal 1965, FMHA made 295 loans to cooperatives totaling $1.3 million.

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The board of directors of Bellamy (Ala.) Enterprises - with organizational guidance from the Farmer Cooperative Service - took over American Can Company's store and service station and added a credit union for its community members.






VP Humphrey Salutes New Agway Co-op

Agway Inc., based in Syracuse, N.Y, has been formed through the merger of Cooperative GLF Exchange, Eastern States Farmers Exchange and Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Cooperative Association. In his remark's at Agway's first annual meeting, Vice President Hubert Humphrey calls this cooperative the embodiment of rural self-help ideals. "Cooperation is one of the finest expressions of the American spirit," Humphrey says. Here, groups faced with common needs invest their capital and organize their own cooperative to meet their needs. This is self-help at its best," he said. The observance of National Cooperative Month in October "is an important reminder that cooperatives are a vital part of our free enterprise system," he says. Agway made $338 million in sales while serving 85,000 members during its first year of operation.

U.S. Grain to Japan: Co-op to Co-op

Believed to be the largest co-op to co-op trade agreement, Zenkoren, Japan's largest agricultural cooperative, has docked a ship on George Washington's birthday at the export terminal of Producers Grain Corporation in Corpus Christi, Texas. It will load 35,000 tons of milo, the first installment of a 200,000 ton contract. This is the largest single shipment of grain sorghum ever made by American farmers.

Co-ops' Answer to Urban, Rural Crisis

"Co-ops are predicated on the belief that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary feats of accomplishment if only we inform them and ask them to take part," Stanley Dreyer, new president of the Cooperative League of the USA, tells nearly 200 representatives at its 28th biennial congress at Kansas City in 1969. He asks how cooperatives could be more relevant currently and in the future. In response, delegates examined how cooperatives can be more responsive to the rural-urban challenge by helping to bring progress to lesser developed areas of the United States and abroad.


1960p21.GIF (126316 bytes)This tombstone marks the demise of oil lanterns in farm homes and barns.  By 1962, 97 percent of the farms were electrified, thanks in large measure to REA programs.





Southern States Features Profit Seminars

A new feature at Southern States Cooperative's 45th annual meeting at Richmond, Va., is profit seminars which examine how the cooperative can help farmers make more money from their farming operations. Delegates can attend two of nine seminars. All relate to supplies and services for livestock, crops, dairying and other farming operations. One of the popular sessions is on tires - farmers being the nation's largest tire customers. Southern States has brought together the best technical talent available from its 5-state territory and beyond.

Farmers Open Grain Export Gateway

With the dedication of Farmers Export Company near New Orleans in 1969, the 1 million farmers represented by the member regional cooperatives have gained an export gateway. The new facility encompasses a new, $20 million grain elevator and marine terminal on the Mississippi River. To finance the facility, local cooperatives furnished $9 million and the bank for cooperatives extended $20 million. The first ship to dock there, the Shahjehan Jayanti of Bombay, is loading 800,000 bushels of corn, 300,000 bushels of soybeans and 3,500 tons of gluten pellets for delivery to Rotterdam.

Major Milestones for Central Farmers

A new potash ore strike at a potash mine in central Canada and the opening of a new anhydrous ammonia pipeline are major market milestones in 1969 for Central Farmers Fertilizer Co., owned by 19 major regional cooperatives. Strengthened fertilizer services are now offered to the 7,500 local cooperatives and their 3 million members in the Midwest Corn Belt. A series of terminals have been built along a 2,000-mile pipeline that carries anhydrous ammonia from Central Farmers' new 1,000-ton-a-day plant in Louisiana.

California Canners Opens in Wisconsin

In its first venture outside its home state, California Canners and Growers (CCG) of San Francisco has opened its 10th and most modern cannery, a $6.5 million plant at Lomira, Wis. The payroll is expected to provide $750,000 annually to Wisconsin workers. Formed in the 1950s by 473 grower-members who put up about $1 million in capital, CCG annually markets $115 million of canned foods in the United States and to 29 foreign countries.
        CCG doubled it sales in the past decade and now has 1,200 members in Wisconsin and California. Sixty percent of its business is through private labels, institutional and remanufacture channels.

Record-Breaking Year for Almond Co-op

The 400 members attending the 57th annual meeting of the California Almond Growers Exchange are celebrating record sales in 1968 of 63.3 million pounds of almonds in the domestic market and a near-record 22.4 million pounds in the export market. The cooperative's gross proceeds for the year topped $47 million. President Glenn Stalker reports that a new bulk receiving station in Chico, Calif., has significantly reduced handling costs for bulk boxes of almonds at its plant in Sacramento.

STAPLCOTN Oldest Cotton Marketing Co-op

Staple Cotton Cooperative Association at Greenwood, Miss., which turned 40 in 1966, is the oldest cotton marketing cooperative in continuous existence - even preceding the Cooperative Marketing Act of 1926 by five years. In its lifetime, the cooperative has moved more than 15 million bales of cotton through its portals enough to stretch half way around the world. It has doubled its volume in the past five years and developed an orderly marketing approach to world markets for Delta cotton. It has also opened a compress warehouse capable of storing 92,500 bales and has established the STAPLCOTN trademark.

Changes in 60s to Impact Co-ops in 70s

Changes in agriculture in the 1960s will continue to affect cooperatives in the 1970s. While the number of farms has decreased, the size of surviving farms has increased markedly. Both farm production expenses and cash receipts from farming have climbed. USDA’s Farmer Cooperative Service has identified six significant cooperative developments during the 1960s: 1) the number of mergers increased substantially; 2) processing operations have increased; 3) greater emphasis is being placed on export trade; 4) a larger range of services is being offered; 5) research efforts have been strengthened; 6) co-op educational programs are stronger.

Regional Dairy Co-ops Grow Via Consolidations

By the late 1960s, a series of large regional dairy cooperatives began to emerge resulting from continuing consolidations. USDA’s Farmer Cooperative Service reported that during the 1968-69 period, it recorded 84 mergers. These were brought on by expanded technological development, greater competitive pressure, improved transportation and communication, and increased need for better management. Milk pickup routes from dairy farmers were consolidated. Milk was increasingly accepted in federal milk marketing orders.
        Mid-America Dairymen Inc., Springfield, Mo., was formed in July, 1968 through the merger of Sanitary Milk producers and Square Deal, both based in St. Louis, Mo., and Mid-America Milk Producers, Kansas City, Mo. Initial sales of about $200 million increased to $500 million in 1969 and the co-op marketed 3.5 billion pounds of milk.
        In Louisville, Ky., Dairymen Inc. was formed by producers in 10 states with an anticipated volume of 3 billion pounds of milk. Associated Milk Producers Inc., Dallas, Texas, had 25,000 members operating in three regions (ranging from Wisconsin to Texas) who were producing 10 billion pounds of milk. Meanwhile, Land O'Lakes Inc., at Minneapolis, had 100,000 members and sales of $369 million at the end of the decade. end.jpg (5676 bytes)

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