|100 years ago, the farmers in the Cedar Bluffs area were very displeased over the poor quality lumber they were getting and the price they were receiving for their grain, so they met and decided to form a cooperative organization.|
The Farmers’ Cooperative Association, in Cedar Bluffs, was formed under the Farmers Alliance Group and its purpose was to increase the farmers’ income through the buying and selling of grain, livestock, lumber, coal, farm machinery, and other farm products. They organized under the corporate form of organization, and the stock was held only by farmers, although there were no coop laws, at that time. The incorporation papers were filed on August 7, 1888, and they had capital stock of eight thousand dollars. The stock was issued in four hundred shares of twenty dollars each, with a limit of one hundred dollars per stockholder. Three thousand dollars was the most indebtedness they could have in their business. A member could have up to five shares, but only one vote. The problems of this cooperative were many and after ten years of operation, three disappointed directors, Tom Lorenzen, Nicholas Schlichting, and Erik Olsen set out for Wahoo by horse and buggy. They had decided to liquidate the organization at the county courthouse. Along the way, they talked about the elevator. They hated to see it fail after ten years. They tried to think of ways that it could be saved. When they reached Wahoo, they had made up their minds to try once more. So, they turned around and headed back to Cedar Bluffs. They had resolved to go out after more members and make themselves personally responsible until the organization got back on its feet again. It is a known fact that some of these directors did not have the money to invest in their cooperative so they borrowed on their land to get this cooperative going again.
The cooperative was, therefore, re-organized on August 1, 1898. Capital stock of twelve thousand dollars was divided into four hundred eighty shares of stock at twenty-five dollars per share. The number of shares a member could hold was raised to ten at this time, but he still had just one vote. The affairs and business of this corporation was governed by five directors. Mr. E.F. Beck was employed as a general manager to handle the day to day operations. The board of directors in 1898 were: Thomas Lerenzen, John E. Tawney, Nicholas Schlichting, Erik Olsen, and John R. Thomsen.
The following is a statement prepared by the secretary and reported at the annual meeting of the stockholders held at Cedar Bluffs on August 15, 1892.
|Paid up capital || ||$ 4923.50 |
|Borrowed money || ||4000.00 |
|Surplus fund || ||544.87 |
|Profits for year || || 1034.36 |
| || ||$10502.73 |
|Elevator and real estate || ||$ 4864.42 |
|Hog yard, well and scale || ||251.76 |
|Water works at hog yards || ||46.29 |
|Corn Crib || ||115.43 |
|Accounts receivable || ||1112.69 |
|Corn on hand || ||1473.05 |
|Oats on hand || ||480.00 |
|Coal on hand || ||240.00 |
|Hogs (18 head) || ||188.30 |
|Stone || ||133.09 |
|Cash || || 1597.17 |
| || ||$10502.73 |
John E. Tawney, Sec.
C.A. Day, President
John F. Thomsen
Subscribed and sworn to before me this 19th day of August, 1892.
The cooperative was, again, re-organized on May 15, 1915, and the name was changed to Farmers Union Cooperative Association. The authorized capital stock of the organization was fifty thousand dollars, divided into two thousand shares at twenty-five dollars each. The number of directors was raised from five to seven members. The members of the board in 1915 were: E.J. Murphy, N.B. Hawkins, John F. Lubker, R. C. Fleming, Chris Huscher, J.W. Winslow and C.J. Krause.
The following is a brief history of interesting events from 1915 through 2010.
Paid $10,000.00 for elevator and sheds.
E.F. Peck was employed as Manger at a salary of $115 per month.
Capital stock was raised from $12, 000 to $50,000.
The old stockyards, windmill, well, scale, and sheds were moved.
The boiler and engines were replaced with electric motors at a cost of $930.
Manager E.F. Peck died and Kam Morran was hired as manager.
H.D. Black was hired as manager.
The south, wooden elevator known as Elevator “A” was built at a cost of $10,000.
Capacity was 40,000 bushels
The north elevator, known as Elevator “B” and lumber and coal shed were purchased from the Updike Grain Co. for $5000. Elevator “B” was disposed of later.
Elevator “C,” the first concrete elevator, was built. The 110,000 bushel facility cost $60,000. The office was redecorated with knotty pine.
The capital stock was raised from $50,000 to $100,000. Carol Gilson was fired as manager.
The 300,000 bushel annex to elevator “C” was built and a grain dryer was added at a cost of $150,000.
Morris Bruce was hired as manager.
The Capital Stock was raised from $100,000 to $250,000. A steel grain storage building with a capacity of 210,000 bushels was built at a cost of $60,000.
A modern feed mill was built at a cost of $40,000.
The 75th anniversary was celebrated. Discussed a merger with the Linwood Coop. Installed sprinkler system and fire alarm in wood elevator and feed mill.
Lester Schultz was hired as a manager and Edgar Sukstorf was hired as feed salesman.
Marvin Gocken elected president.
Purchased leased land from the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad for $7740. Merger with Fremont Farmers Union was proposed.
Richard Beaver was hired as manager in April and inducted into the armed forces in December.
Ed Farr was elected as president. Karl Lewis was manager for a short time. Henry Lubker was hired as manager. New scale was installed at a cost of $13,300. Changed from federal to state license. Cambell dryer burned.
Lee Nelson was hired as manager.
The fiscal year was changed to end July 31. M&W Grain dryer was purchased at the cost of $10,760.
Farmland retirement plan for employees was adopted.
Installed belt conveyor elevator to grain storage building and purchased two American dryers.
Hydraulic truck probe was installed.
Proposed merger with Mead Coop was defeated.
Proposed merger of six Saunders county coops and purchase of Far Mar Co. elevator in Fremont.
Constructed 60 foot x 58 foot steel grain storage tank, 140 foot leg and truck load-out bin at a cost of $220,000, boosting total capacity to 889,085 bushels. Daryl Nyberg was hired as manager.
Ed Farr retired from board after 20 years of continuous service. Gene Hansen was elected president.
John Wolfe was elected president. Another 60 foot x 58 foot steel grain storage bin was constructed at cost of $98,000 and a 38,000 bushels Quonset was purchased at the bin site. Total capacity was boosted to 1,087,364 bushels. Purchased 40 foot x 60 foot steel storage building and added loading dock.
Purchased some of the assets of Saunders County coop Grain Elevator.
Purchased 20,000 bushel grain bin in Wahoo.
Purchased two NH3 storage tanks and first sprayer for custom application. Randall Schwartz hired as general manager. Randy Kavan was president.
Purchased two NH3 bars and first dry applicator machine.
Purchased a swing auger and loader to pick up grain.
Merger with Farmers Coop, Prague, Nebraska. Gene Stara was branch manager. Robert Dauel was president.
Agronomy plant was set up ½ mile west of Cedar Bluffs.
Constructed dry fertilizer plant ½ mile west of Cedar Bluffs.
Purchased 220,000 bushel bin in Prague.
Brian Kucera elelcted president. Purchased 220,000 bushel bin in Wahoo.
Purchased 400,000 bushel bin in Cedar Bluffs.
Randall Schwartz announced his retirement as General Manager after 25 years of service.
Randy Carlholm hired as General Manager. Frank Vech was President.
E.F. Peck 1898
Kam Morran 1929
H.D. Black 1931
C.D. Gilson 1956
Maurice Bruce 1960
Lester Schultz 1964
Richard Beaver 1968
Karl Lewis 1969
Henry Lubker 1969
Lee Nelson 1970
Daryl Nyberg 1984
Randall Schwartz 1993
Randy Carlholm 2018