Pro Ag Farmers’ Cooperative Receives Todd County Development Corporation’s Economic Impact Award

Pro Ag Farmers’ Cooperative Receives Todd County Development Corporation’s Economic Impact Award Main Photo

24 Jul 2019

Pro Ag Farmers’ Cooperative is an active member in Todd County’s agricultural community. As a farmer-owned cooperative, they are locally owned and controlled – in place to help enhance the profits and productivity of the local farming community. 

Today, Pro-Ag has nine facilities and over 867 voting members – each with a say in how the cooperative is managed and profits disbursed. This is part of a longstanding tradition that Pro-Ag and local cooperatives have for ensuring that business and economic control remains, as much as possible, with local producers. You could say that this tradition was cemented in 1919 by the Miltona Creamery Assn. and by Urbank Cooperative Creamery Assn. when they organized in 1929. These two organizations merged to create Pro-Ag in 1998. They merged again with Central Ag Services in 2013 to better position these strong cooperatives to grow and serve the needs of their members. In 2015, they merged with the Farmers Coop Feed Store in Browerville, expanding their capacity to serve members.

The major products and services handled by the cooperative include bulk fertilizer blending and application, crop protection products and application, seed sales, bulk and bag feed manufacturing, sales and delivery, grain storage/marketing, milk marketing, propane and bulk fuel delivery.  Along with these major products they sell many other supplies used in agriculture production.

We spoke with Joe Wimmer, the Locations Manager for Eagle Bend, Clarrissa and Browerville locations to learn more about Pro-Ag and the important role it plays in Toddy County. Joe runs the feed mill, two stores and grain elevator, along with the ground meat division - supervising over 30 employees in the process, so he has an intimate understanding of the connection between Pro-Ag and the community as a whole. He emphasized how all the employees are local and they source local corn and grain to manufacture feed for livestock located in and out of the county. They are exporting corn out of the county, meaning that Pro-Ag is creating exports and bringing money into Todd County. 

“We are locally owned and return our profits to our members, which helps to grow the local economy by keeping money within Todd County.  In addition, we are locally controlled. Our board members all have districts they represent so even though there are multiple locations we cover the geography with representation from local board members. By keeping the decision-making local, Pro-Ag is always in step with what the community wants,” said Wimmer. 

Pro-Ag Benefits from Access to a Strong Local Workforce

Todd County producers have benefited from the services provided by Pro-Ag, while Pro-Ag has benefited from their location within Todd County and their access to a strong local workforce. This symbiotic relationship is something that can benefit any agricultural company looking to locate within the county. “We are fortunate because everyone we have as employees has a rural farm background, a really good work ethic and understand agriculture. We are really blessed with good people and that has made growing in Todd County easy.  In fact, when we have an opening, there has always been someone we can grab from our producers,” said Wimmer. 

Community Members Can Support Pro-Ag and Local Farmers

You don’t have to be a member to purchase from the Pro-Ag store, though they encourage it. Becoming a member and purchasing from the cooperative is an excellent way to support the local agricultural community. As a buyer you have the power to positively impact the local economy through your purchases. Imagine if everyone kept their dollars local how many new jobs would be created within Todd County. Pro-Ag is offering community members the opportunity to play an important role in creating that future. 

Image Courtsey of Karin Nauber