Cooperatives use savings to benefit farmer-owners

Local co-ops generate their savings in a number of ways, and as it turns out, they work hard to return those savings back to producers.

We recently talked with Tod Clark, who is the CEO of Country Partners Cooperative in Gothenburg. "Our savings are generated by the sale of agricultural inputs," Clark said. "That's fertilizer, fuel or feed. But we also generate savings through grain marketing. We do a lot of that for our customers."

The savings are generated through farmer-owners who do business at the cooperative. "We also have some non-member business," Clark said. "That would be if someone is buying fuel at a C-store, or they might be buying propane. They might not be agricultural producers, but they still do business with the co-op. But the majority of our business is done with our members that are actually owners."

Cooperatives use the savings in a couple of major ways. "First, there's the capital investment," Clark said. "That's the fertilizer dry sheds, the grain handling facilities. Cooperatives have spent multi-millions of dollars in grain facilities in the last few years just meeting that customer demand. Second, if we are successful, and we have a profit, we allocate that back to our members on a percentage basis. The other important thing about a cooperative is that all of the money stays local."

Watch for more stories about cooperatives through the month of October on Pure Nebraska, as we highlight cooperative month and the impact of co-ops on rural communities.