Cooperative Grain and Supply

A local cooperative for the Kansas farming community
Written by: 
Tom Faunce
Produced by: 
James Logan

Founded in 1966, Cooperative Grain and Supply (CG&S) has built a reputation on customer service and keeping its assets up to par. The company is headquartered in Hilsbo, Kansas, and has established a niche in seed. With six 3,500-bushel bulk bins for soybeans and wheat, the company works with WinField Solutions and Monsanto on seed and crop protection.

Cooperative Grain and Supply was founded as a result of four cooperatives merging together: Farmers Cooperative Equity Union of Hillsboro (founded in 1918), Farmers Cooperative Supply of Hillsboro, Farmers Cooperative Grain & Mercantile Company of Lehigh (founded in 1919), and the Farmers Cooperative Association of Marion (founded in 1959). Major additions since 1966 include the Canton Coop in 1978, Canada Grain in 1991, and the Ampride stations in Hillsboro and Marion in 1999. Other additions include Crop Production, Industrial Park a fueling station in the Hillsboro Industrial Park, a Cardtrol fueling station in Lehigh and additional fuel services at the company's Canton Service Center in 2006 and the newest addition, Canton CStore, in 2013.

Over the years, CG&S has made many changes. The storage capacity has grown from 1,267,225 in 1966 to the present capacity of 4,033,800 bushels. In addition, CG&S has formed alliances with surrounding local cooperatives and participates in two major limited liability companies:. Team Marketing Alliance, LLC and Countryside Feed LLC.

Cooperative Grain and Supply

Providing feed for five local area co-ops, Countryside Feed serves CG&S of Hillsboro, North Central Kansas Coop Assn. of Hope, Andale Farmers Coop Co. of Andale, MKC of Moundridge and Farmers Coop Elevator Co. of Halstead. A state-of-the-art feed mill built by Countryside Feed in the fall of 1997 has increased the efficiency and market share of the company.

Team Marketing Alliance (TMA) is the source of marketing for all four local CG&S co-ops. The operation is also part of a grain marketing alliance with three other local cooperatives.

With five locations spread throughout the state of Kansas, each location of CG&S is within roughly 30 miles of the others. “Our territory ranges roughly 30 miles east and west and 10 miles north and south,” says Lyman Adams, Jr., president and CEO of CG&S. “That is our key territory for Cooperative Grain and Supply.”

Service throughout Kansas and beyond

The company’s seed service is offered locally while Countryside Feed does wholesale business with co-ops throughout the state. “We also do specialty items with other states,” says Adams. When it comes to delivery and trucking, Countryside Feed works with a combination of dedicated haulers as well as its own fleet of trucks.

In a co-op as large as CG&S, Adams says that the biggest expenses for his company consist largely of the maintenance of facilities and equipment repairs. “We use the elevators completely different from what they were built for,” says Adams. “We’re running so much grain through the elevators that it’s a constant upkeep issue. Equipment is not cheap and neither is the repair work. What used to be a three-digit figure is now four or five digits, but nothing really shocks me anymore.”

Adams joined the company in 1986 and will soon be celebrating his 30th year with the co-op. In his time with CG&S, Adams says that forming the two LLC’s was the most critical move for his company. “It’s a major factor in where we are as a company today,” says Adams. “When Team Marketing Alliance was formed in 2000, it was very important in maximizing our brand marketing with all of our locations. Also, when we formed Countryside Feed in 1997 with three other co-ops it was very critical in our long-term goals and preparing us for the future.”

Looking ahead

While the Midwest is currently experiencing a fair amount of moisture, Adams says his company is always looking ahead to the next dry spell. “Even when we’re having rain we constantly keep the mindset that we are two weeks away from the next drought,” says Adams. Predictions for future droughts have instilled the fear of some of the driest years in history.

As CG&S has continued to grow over the years, the company is also considering expansion options. “Our main concern on the grain and crop production side is speed and space,” says Adams. “We’re always looking at adding more storage and legs to speed up how we handle the harvest.”

While the co-op looks into the future, Cooperative Grain and Supply will continue to focus on its primary goal of exceptional customer service.

Strategic Partnership(s): 
Lang Diesel Inc.