Cooperatives Help Communities
Cooperatives help farmers, but they also do a lot to give back to local communities.
We talked with Ron Velder who is the CEO of Farmers Cooperative. He says Farmers Cooperative has 550 full time employees, and points out that all of them are involved in the community in some way. "Our company has really taken a role in doing some things that are kind of exciting," Velder said. "We've worked on an effort to support the local Food Bank and backpack program annually. This past year, we were able to collect about $48,000," Velder said.
Along with outreach like helping with the Food Bank, cooperative workers are often involved in county fairs. The employees are often involved with schools, baseball programs, volunteer fire departments, and anything that is local community-related. "They wear many hats, and do a great job besides working many hours for the coop," Velder said.
"In some cases we are the only business in town," Velder said. "But we continue to build grain storage facilities, and put a lot of dollars back into the communities. Our tax base in the 14 counties we are involved with is around 2 and a half million dollars," Velder said. "Sometimes we get asked for things since we are the only business in town, and we do try to be a good corporate supporter for everything we can. And that can b4e everything from FFA to athletic departments of local schools," Velder said.
Cooperative officials they will continue to support local communities, while working to invest in facilities that help the farmers who have ownership in the cooperatives.