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Cooperatives having to make big decisions for the future

Source: Wikimedia Commons

We all remember our local elevators. Privately owned entities or even farmer-owned companies were staples in every small rural town. As we approach the 20% mark of the 21st century, we are seeing many local cooperatives making some big decisions for the future.

During the Feed and Grain Live event in Altoona, I had the chance to speak with Jeff Jones of Mid-Kansas Cooperative (MKC). Jones was part of a panel discussing innovations and changes which cooperatives have made in the hopes of becoming more efficient and profitable. MKC designed a shuttle loader to streamline their efficiency in moving grain via railroad.

Jones believes we will see a shift from having elevator facilities in every town. He sees elevators having to go to larger and more efficient facilities. It may mean more travel time for producers, but they will be able to make that up in much faster services.

Jones feels many cooperatives are at a crossroad. They must either find a way to become more efficient or they will fall to the wayside.

Jones says one stigma larger cooperatives sometimes deal with is being in a community which has always relied on the service of their local elevator. Jones says the best way to find acceptance is to become visible supporters of the communities they enter.