University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives
A report for the
U.S. Department of Agriculture Fund for Rural America
in support of the
Fund for Rural America Center for Cooperative Enterprise
By Robert Cropp, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Roger Ginder, Department of Economics, Iowa State University; Evert van der Sluis, Department of Economics,
South Dakota State University, Kim Zeuli, Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul
Farmer's Cooperative, Keota, Iowa is a local cooperative of Farmland Industries. The co-op and its farmer-members have participated in the Farmland Industries, Inc Swine Program. The implementation of this program, its success, and its economic impact on the cooperative and the community of Keota, provide an excellent lesson for others to learn by.
Although Farmer's Cooperative was able to rely on outside expertise in coming to a decision on whether or not to encourage its membership to participate in Farmland's Swine Program, and to then build a new feed mill, additional no-bias information and technical assistance would have been beneficial. It was very evident that the board and management greatly appreciated the information provided by both Iowa State University and the Iowa Institute of Cooperative, both institutions were crucial in this decision process.
Management identified two major challenges/opportunities. First, the need to educate farmer-members on the new technologies that appear to be coming forth on a constant basis. Second, to assist farmer-members in assessing the benefits and costs associated with adopting or not adopting a new technology.