Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Through cooperatives, we’ve formed solid relationships based on mutual respect

Scott and Julie Johnson are agricultural producers who live in Grand Forks, N.D. Their farm is near Manvel, N.D. They raise about 2,200 acres of sugar beets, wheat, barley and soybeans. They are third-generation farmers and cooperative members. As members of their local cooperative, CHS Ag Services, they believe that cooperatives are focused on building strong producers in rural communities through personal relationships and trusted advice.

In today’s world, technology allows us to do business with a click of a button. No human interaction needed. But farmers value our local cooperative because of face-to-face relationships.

It’s that focus on building strong producers in rural communities that keeps us doing business with cooperatives. We have built long-standing relationships that go back generations. Scott’s dad and grandpa have been board members at our Manvel, N.D. elevator. Bill, Scott’s dad, still serves on our local CHS Ag Services board.

Our co-op has always been a central part of the community. If it was gone, we’d miss the heart of Manvel. The local elevator is the only gathering place in town, where farmers and community members meet to share donuts and coffee while solving the world’s problems.

Those who work at the co-op have become trusted friends and advisors. Before we went on vacation, our agronomist reminded us to lock-in fertilizer prices to manage our risk. A member of the agronomy staff walks our fields almost weekly to give us recommendations that benefit our land and our bottom line.

That’s not something every business will do. But it’s what cooperatives do.

We value the personal relationships we have built through cooperatives. We’ve had the opportunity to network with other producers across the United States through the CHS New Leader Forum and built friendships with our local CHS Ag Services staff, board members, and their spouses.

Cooperatives have taught us to look outside our operation. Through our cooperative, we are building for our own future, as well as that of the company and the community. And as we head towards that future, we know the cooperatives we do business with will be right next to us, supporting us each step of the journey.

Scott and Julie Johnson
Grand Forks, N.D.