Each October, cooperatives across the United States celebrate the cooperative difference, business model and the contributions of cooperatives to their communities during National Co-op Month and this year continues the celebration of 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives with the slogan “Cooperative enterprises build a better world.”
As one of the nation’s largest cooperatives, GROWMARK has been celebrating all year long, so we talked with president and chairman of the board Dan Kelley about why co-ops are so important for agriculture, both nationally and globally. Kelley says he was surprised to learn this year that nearly a billion people around the world are members of some type of cooperative. In addition to celebrating a year and a month dedicated to cooperatives, Dan says GROWMARK has been celebrating 85 years of existence as a cooperative.
The second largest division of GROWMARK is their agronomy division with the FS Seed and FS Green Plan Solutions brand, which provides fertilizers, seed and crop protection products and advice for producers. Kelley says while 2012 has been a challenging year for farmers thanks to the very hot and dry conditions during the growing season, cooperative members remain optimistic. “The future of agriculture is bright and the future of agricultural cooperatives is bright,” he says. “We have a great opportunity as we think about the growing economies in the world and the growing population that we have to feed.”
GROWMARK‘s core cooperative membership is in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa, but in recent years have expanded into other states including Colorado, Pennsylvania and Maryland and a solid membership in Canada as well.
Listen to an interview with Dan Kelley here: [wpaudio url=”http://zimmcomm.biz/growmark/gmk-oct-12-kelley.mp3″ text=”GROWMARK President Dan Kelley”]