Magazine article Rural Cooperatives

Capital Investments Improve Services for Members

Magazine article Rural Cooperatives

Capital Investments Improve Services for Members

Article excerpt

On May 1, 1910, 12 forward-thinking farmers established the Farmers Cooperative Elevator and Mercantile Company of Ostrander. Today, nearly 101 years later, the Ostrander Farmers Cooperative is led by a five-member board with a vision for growing the cooperative as it enters its second century.

"It's a really good group of guys that are working on the board," said board secretary Wayne DeWall of Grand Meadow. "We take everything into consideration. We may not always please everybody ... we're trying to do what's best for the cooperative to make it survive another 100 years."

The cooperative has grown from its Ostrander location, which was established to serve the farmers in Beaver and Bloomfield townships in Fillmore County and Bennington Township in Mower County, to a cooperative that serves farmers in five counties in two states from locations in four communities.

The cooperative has locations in Ostrander, Wykoff, LeRoy and Chester, Iowa. It serves farmers from Fillmore, Mower and Houston counties in Minnesota and Howard and Mitchell counties in Iowa, said Matt Litwiller, general manager of Ostrander Farmers Cooperative.

The co-op is the largest employer in Ostrander, with 30 year-round employees and an additional 10 seasonal employees, hired in spring and fall.

The cooperative has made significant capital investments in recent years. A new office was added at the Ostrander grain location in 2008. A 750,000-bushel grain bin, a 1 million-bushel air pile, a 100,000-bushel wet bin and a 5,000-bushel-per-hour Zimmerman tower grain dryer were constructed in 2009. …

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