Area businessmen explore the idea of forming a creamery cooperative. The Newman Grove Creamery opened in 1927. While studying this organization, the Battle Creek group also studied the happenings within the Plainview Farmers Cooperative.
Special meeting held to start organization. Dr. Boomer of the University of Nebraska, was present and discussed the creamery question at length. He set at rest any doubts of the ultimate success of the undertaking proposed by the Battle Creek association.
February 1929 - Part 1
Battle Creek’s new butter factory was built and owned by local farmers and businessmen. Battle Creek Co-Operative Creamery, Board of Directors were: Chairman, G.A Koester; Vice Chair, T.D. Preece; Secretary-Treasurer, C.C. Zimmerman. Nine board members were elected. R.B Strand was hired as butter-maker and plant supervisor. A community contest was held to name the butter. The Board voted for “Pure Gold” and “Butter Crest” as their favorites. However, both were refused for copyright.
February 1929 - Part 2
On opening day, over 900 gallons of cream were received which equated to 3,390 pounds of butter manufactured. Officials expressed considerable satisfaction when speaking of the output of the first few weeks. Though the product has been acclaimed as above average, Mr. Strand is striving to put a still higher grade butter on the market, and in order to do this he urged patrons to bring in their cream often.
In order to induce cream patrons to become stockholders, the board approved that shares of stock in the amount of $25.00 shall be issued. However, stockholders holding less than an aggregate $50.00 of stock are not entitled to a vote. A permanent committee of 2 board members were elected to make a monthly audit of the books of the secretary/treasurer.
Battle Creek Butter ranked 1st in the state. It received recognition of superior quality & won the 1st place award of $15 in gold at the convention of creamery associations. The tub of 10lbs was judged by experts as best in composition, flavor, & workmanship. Mr. Stand shared the honor with the patrons who supplied the high quality cream. Creamery management congratulated the dairymen & urged continuance of the careful handling & prompt delivery by which eventually reap greater profits.
February 1934 - Part 1
A new system of cream procurement was enacted. Jay Wade, manager of the Plainview Co-op Creamery gave the board an address about the trucking method that his cooperative was finding profitable to obtain cream. Management announced that the board had decided to start operating on a truck route basis. Ralph Johnson was hired as trucker, at 2 cent/pound commission, while the Board investigated more candidates for driving.
February 1934 - Part 2
Board moved that “the truckmen be instructed the use of liquor while on duty be forbidden.” The official articles of incorporations and read, and accepted by the board. While great things were happening, the building of the cooperative came with struggles of slow progress and negligible earning power. The board and employees were selflessly accepting wage and salary cuts, to ensure the cooperatives sustainability. It soon would be re-organized into a non-stock cooperative.
Buttermaker Strand resigns and new buttermaker Lawrence Huelle was elected buttermaker at a salary of $70.00 per month. Resolution adopted to pay patron dividend in stock by delivery of one $1.00 share of stock to each patron of record who delivered 25 pounds or more of butter fat. Mr. Hugo Hahn of Clay Center was officially hired as the manager of the coop.
January 1938 - Part 1
Lengthy discussion was held of the advisability of refinancing the company, whether refinancing would be advisable without the pledge of cream producers to patronize the creamery if it were to continue as a cooperative, or whether to turn the entire assets of the company to its creditors and dissolve that corporation. A poll was taken of producers resulting in a majority of the producers donating their owned stock for re-issue to help refinance the creamery.
January 1938 - Part 2
These men felt the stock should be held by producers. The purpose of transferring the stock was to get the stock into the hands of the producers and make the plant eligible for a loan in the Bank for Cooperatives. Another move was made to solicit added patronage and funds from farmers and others interested in continuing the company as a cooperative.
The efforts the year before made a difference, and the creamery cooperative was able to grow and secure loan. A locker plant was built followed 8 years later with a slaughtering facility. Herman Buckendahl was the Locker Room Manager and won awards for his cured ham.
The coop leased the Scheerger Feed Mill and purchased it 5 years later.
Butter manufacture increased from 165,000 pounds to 475,000 pounds. A record year. Since reorganization in 1938, the coop has enjoyed a steady growth. Led by Aage Peterson who became manager in 1939. In 1955, the coop made sacked fertilizer available and by 1957 had installed a liquid fertilizer plant with application equipment. By 1957, the coop had outgrown its quarters, and was remodeled and enlarged to take care of the increased volume business.
The Vic Klein bulk petroleum plant was purchased, remodeled, and the coop began to offer tank-wagon delivery service. In 1961, an anhydrous plant and application equipment were added as well. In 1963, a 1200 ton bulk fertilizer blending plant was built.
August 1967 - Part 1
The Coop purchased the Battle Creek Grain Company with ½ million bushel storage facilities, feed mixing, and pelleting. A grain dryer was also installed. Battle Creek Creamery emphasized quality and price as they began offering new products in competition with other dealers in the Norfolk area. Coop dealers did not predominantly become active in providing many products until 1959, as most products were supplied by independent dealers.
August 1967 - Part 2
When asked about what he finds most gratifying about the business, Manager Aage Peterson replied “Its overall development, the past 30 years, in meeting the farmers needs economically and efficiently as well as being an asset to the community.”
Battle Creek Cooperative Creamery officially refiles Articles of Incorporation to “Battle Creek Farmers Cooperative Non Stock. Approved by the State in October 1970.
Petersen retired after 42 years of service with the company. In 1977, he received the Annual Dreyer Award for outstanding local co-op management among 2800 local cooperatives. This at the time, was the highest honor an individual manager can receive in the coop system. Succeeding Petersen was Al Croson. He served as GM from 1981-1992.
Farmers Coop Oil Association of Pierce, joined into Battle Creek
Osmond Cooperative and Plainview Cooperative joined into Battle Creek Farmers Cooperative GM was Gary Maxwell, who served until 1996, when Terry Samuelson was hired as new GM
Battle Creek Coop joined with Cenex Harvest States to form Progressive Nutrition LLC. This 50/50 company consists of a feed mill in Norfolk NE and warehouseing arrangement in BC, Pierce, Osmond, Bloomfield. Merlin Schlote, feed manager of Battle Creek, takes on the Manager role of Progressive Nutrition.
Battle Creek Coop purchased the former D&S Oil in Ewing and Orchard. D&S was a former independent fuel and propane dealer operated by Dean & Sandy Schueths. The addition of bulk plants with a capacity of 195,000 gallons greatly increased the energy volume of the cooperative in the western part of trade territory. Gallon volumes increased from 3.1 million gallons in 1999 to 8.7 million gallons in 2003.
September 2003 - Part 1
Battle Creek purchased the former White Grain facilities in Neligh and Oakdale. These grain only facilities added 3.2 million bushels of grain storage capacity. The cooperative also sold the Ampride Convenience Store to Cubbys. The sale of asset helped compensate and offset for the loss incurred by the Farmland Bankruptcy.
September 2003 - Part 2
The bankruptcy resulted in many ripples through the cooperative system. It was a major concern for many area farmers who had years of investment through the cooperative system. Through strategic planning by the Board of Directors and Management, the impact upon our farmer-owners was not as great as many other cooperatives in the industry.
2004 - Part 1
Tom Osborn (Board of Directors), of Battle Creek retired after serving 30 years as a director. Tom also served on the Nebraska Coop Council Board of Directors, Elkhorn Rural Public Power board, & Rural Fire board for 25 years. Tom was an instrumental person in the many purchases & acquisitions of the co-op with his honest, personable disposition in negotiations & strong belief in the benefits of the co-op system. Tom was inducted into the Nebraska Coop Council Hall of Fame in 2009.
2004 - Part 2
Bob Buckendahl of Battle Creek was also honored for retirement after serving 32 years of consecutive employment service to the cooperative. Bob’s father Herman was also a long-time employee of the cooperative during the 1930’s & 1940’s.
A merger between Battle Creek and Farmers Coop Oil of Newman Grove and Madison takes effect September 1st. Through the merger NG/Madison bring 24 employees into the cooperative along with grain, agronomy, feed, service station, and energy business. It was also around this time, that the Farmers Pride name became more predominantly used.
Merger between Farmers Coop Oil of Newman Grove and Madison, and Battle Creek. NG and Madison brought 24 employees into Battle Creek Coop. It was also around this time, that the Farmers Pride name became more predominantly used.
2007 - Part 1
General Manager Samuelson retires from the cooperative after 11 years. Cumulatively he served over 30 years within the cooperative system. New General Manager Dean Thernes is hired to replace outgoing Samuelson. Thernes brings 20 years of experience in grain and agronomy management in the coop system.
2007 - Part 2
In February of the year, the Plainview location experiences a major fire and the office/warehouse/shop burns to the ground. The building had been in use for over 50 years. A new office and shop was built to replace the buildings in 2008.
2010 & 2011
Big projects for the co-op. As ag equipment grows, size & speed for grain unloading becomes a major need. Most grain locations are working with outdated grain facilities that need updated to help with the problem. New bins (250,000 - 500,000-bushel capacity) are built in Bloomfield, Newman Grove, Battle Creek, and Neligh to accommodate the members’ needs. Also, due to growth, a new office is built at Battle Creek moving the main office south of town to consolidate department operations.
The Co-op finalizes agreement with Central Valley Ag to purchase the energy division known as Advanced Energy Fuels, LLC effective January 2014. This major acquisition adds 18 propane bulk plants, 15 employees, and 20 fuel and propane delivery trucks for Farmers Pride fleet. This acquisition made the best impact upon the co-op since the NG Merger in 2005. The Energy Division alone X3 in size through sales & operations are dramatically shifted to accommodate the large expanded customer base.
The Board of Directors continues to support large facility upgrades with the addition of 2 concrete silos & grain dryer at the Osmond location, & another bin addition in Newman Grove. The Neligh location receives its greatest change yet with the building of a new grain complex facility with a capacity of 1,300,000 bushels. The Battle Creek location updates the fertilizer operations with a new loading facility that greatly increases the size and speed also needed for spring agronomy operations.
2016 - Part 1
Customers of the Pierce location are rewarded with a new agronomy facility consisting of office, warehouse, shop, and chemical & fertilizer loading facility. The new facility is up and running just as spring work begins thanks to the dedicated efforts and hard work of agronomy employees and management.
2016 - Part 2
In June, Farmers Pride negotiates its latest purchase with the addition of Urwiler Oil, Inc. of Laurel. This addition of 3 employees, 1 bulk plant, propane & fuel delivery trucks, fuel transport semi-truck and trailer, is just a perfect fit for the values, culture, and mission of the cooperative.
What will the upcoming years hold for Farmers Pride??? Stay tuned to find out! Speculation exists that the values of integrity, family atmosphere, community, and teamwork will continue to SHINE and sustain the cooperative for many years to come. It is truly because of all the people before our time, during our time, and after our time that make Farmers Pride such a very special place! Cooperatives BUILD!!