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Letter about Farmers Elevator

Fri, Feb 22nd, 2013
Posted in Peterson Letter to the Editor

Letter about Farmers Elevator

To the Editor,

In the last newsletter from the Farmers Elevator in Rushford to their customers, the manager and the board of directors are pondering the near lack of a quorum at the annual meeting. They don’t seem to have a clue that either they or a previous manager and board of directors created this problem themselves by taking away the right to vote and not paying dividends to 83 farmers because they did not buy at least $11,000 of goods and services from the coop. Why would I go to the meeting if I can’t vote? They talk about increasing sales, but this kind of action chases businesses away. The right to vote and an annual dividend is what created loyalty to a cooperative. Most of these eliminated members are now buying some of their inputs elsewhere. The timing of this decision seems like retaliation by management and the board for patrons failing to support their recommendation to sell out to the Goodhue Farmers Elevator. Their wish could become a reality if the co-op gets down to 50 patrons in their four stores or, sadly, it could pass into private hands as a bin site for mega farmers. How many jobs will be eliminated if that happens?

They thought they could increase sales by buying the Benson Farm Services in Lewiston. The increase in sales they talk about can be mostly attributed to the increase in the cost of seed corn and fertilizers in the past few years. So what happened to the money that was usually paid out as dividends to small farmers?

Something to think about.

Robert Anfinson

Peterson, MN


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4:00:51, Feb 22nd 2013

MNFarm says:
Mr. Anfinson, most Cooperatives, especially those that involve farmers, have different levels of sales levels to trigger patronage refunds to its members. I'm not familiar with Farmers Coop but looking at the newsletter it said that patronage checks were mailed and that some came back as the person had moved and that anyone that purchased anything from 1993 to 2012 you should have gotten a patronage check.I found a copy of the Farmers Elevator's last newsletter and I read the General Manager's report. When he talks about needing a quorum for a meeting to start, this is typical of any cooperative and by the looks of it the quorum as determined by Farmers Elevator's by-laws is that 50 members have to be present to be an official meeting. I was a member of a cooperative, that has since merged with another cooperative and at any annual meeting there would maybe be 50 at a meeting and this was a coop that had 3 locations. Depending on where the annual meeting was being held, usually only the farmers that were near-by would attend. If you have any proof that 83 members that didn't spend more than $11,000 in goods/services, I would like to hear it. From you letter it sounds like either you or the coop is lying and after reading their newsletter I'm apt to think you're the one that's not quite telling the whole story.