Editor’s Note: Jaxon Mullinnix of Lone Tree, IA, was recently named the Iowa state winner of the 2017 GROWMARK essay contest for FFA members. The theme of this year’s contest was “What value do cooperatives provide to today’s farmers?” Here is his winning essay.
The joint mission of cooperatives in American agriculture is to serve their members’ needs, but in the ever-changing field of agriculture, their mission is evolving into something much more complex. Successful cooperatives such as GROWMARK enable farmers to own and control, on a business level, a channel for acquiring supplies and services. In modern agriculture, cooperatives provide farmers with a dependable source of reasonably priced supplies, reliable services, and a heightened income. Most benefits experienced by a member of a cooperative are evident from an economic standpoint, but some may also be social depending on the cooperative. Whichever the case, cooperatives are becoming increasingly necessary for farmers desiring a successful operation.
Cooperatives assist in helping farmers to remain competitive in a number of ways. Co-ops raise the price of the products marketed and reduce the cost of products purchased. Individually, a farmer has little influencing power, but when bonded together, united by a single purpose, a cooperative has the ability to increase the market price for farm products, add value to farm services, and improve the quality of services purchased by the farmer. Cooperatives reduce the cost of supplies by providing products and services to their members at a lower cost; thus decreasing the average market price due to price adjustments in other organizations. In doing this, the cooperative increases the income for a farmer by reducing the expenses, allowing the farm operation to grow and be successful. A competitive marketplace is essential for an efficient and profitable operation.
Cooperatives strive to effectively meet the needs of the farmer by ensuring that high-quality farm products or supplies are available. The objective of a cooperative is to provide the feed, seed, and fertilizer that is going to produce the best yield rather than those most beneficial to the cooperative’s net margins. On modern farm operations, the use of the best supplies and equipment increases productivity and promotes sustainable agriculture. Having a dependable source of reasonably priced supplies allows farmers to remain productive throughout emergencies and shortages. Cooperatives will pay extra costs to acquire supplies and make them available to its members. Farmers have added value when they are ensured reasonably priced and high-quality supplies which make their operation successful.
In several major ways, cooperatives are benefitting farmers and have become an essential part of modern agriculture. The sole mission of cooperatives in American agriculture is to serve the needs of its members. Some may even describe cooperatives as the “backbone” to the agricultural industry. When farmers own and control, on a business level, channels for acquiring supplies and marketing their supplies they are able to stay competitive in the marketplace. Providing farmers with a dependable source of reasonably priced supplies, reliable services, and a heightened income, cooperatives undoubtedly add value to a farm operation.