Co-ops make investments to help farmers
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - From soil studies to grain services, cooperatives work to invest in the future to help farmers do their jobs better.
We paid a visit to the farm of Galen Kuska near Exeter recently. He is affiliated with the Farmers Cooperative at Dorchester. “We have fuel, feed, tires, and several things our patrons use,” Kuska said. “But agronomy and grain services are the two big money makers, so we tend to put most of our efforts into those two areas.” The cooperative also offers an airplane business called “Sky Tech”, and about five years ago, the cooperative invested in a fertilizer plant in Geneva. Kuska says all of these moves are good for the farmer-owner who uses the cooperative. “When co-ops were started, it was to pool your resources,” Kuska said. “That allowed you to have a better ability to buy and sell products. That was in the 1900′s, but that hasn’t really changed a lot. Today, farming is bigger, but we still have to invest to help the farmers to pool their resources. Our company last year sold more than 80 million bushels of grain, and shipped that on railroads. We’ve invested millions of dollars into railroad facilities to help the farmer ship his product.”
“We’ve been successful providing equity revolvement and patronage, up to $31 Million in the last five years to our local patrons, and that’s a big deal to us,” Kuska said. “We’ve had good managers over the years. They’ve all had a great vision on where agriculture is going. We’ve spent $125 Million in assets in the last five years. Some people don’t see it, but it really enhances your ability to speed things up at harvest. And by the same token, we pay almost $12 Million in property taxes every year to our local schools on the county level. We are investing in these small communities up to $2 or $3 Million dollars in a community of just 200 people. We are proud of that fact.”
Kuska also points out that along with investing for producers, the cooperatives bring good jobs to small towns. “Our employees that live in these small communities are on the town boards and school boards. It’s just good to be part of a company that supports that,” Kuska said.
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