News: Spencer History – Farmers’ Cooperative


Surnames: Cramer, Schjonnemann, Reinheimer, Anderson, Luepke, Yakish, Steffenhagen, Reno, Bruesewitz, Larson, Stolph, Goldsmith, Nelson, Steuck

Source: Spencer Centennial Book (1874 – 1974)

At the organizational meeting of the Farmers’ Cooperative Company on August 10, 1912, the following directors were Charles Cramer, Morgan Schjonnemann, H. Krause and A. Sorenson. Articles and by-laws were drawn up at a meeting held two days later. At the first meeting of the company held on January 20, 1913, the following officers were elected: William Reinheimer, president; Charles Cramer, vice president; and Charles Anderson, secretary and treasurer.

It will be of interest to note that in January of 1913 corn was being bought for 481/2 cents per bushel; in 1917 certified seed oats was handled at cost for the benefit of the members and sold at $2.25 per bushel. The company was open for business from 7:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. and, from April 15 to November 1, on Saturday nights until 9:00 P.M.

The following dates in the growth and expansion of the company are noted: On January 21, 1919, a Livestock Shipping Association was formed; on February 21, 1938, an International Truck Line was made part of the business. In 1945 a new 40x84 foot building for office, repairs, and show room was constructed. At a meeting on October 15, 1954, it was voted to accept the plans for the merger of the Big Four Farmers’ Cooperative Oil Company with the Farmers’ Cooperative Company.

On December 9, 1955, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Luepke journeyed to Minneapolis where he was presented with a gold service ring by A. J. Smaby, general manager of Midland Cooperatives Inc. The award was given in recognition of his 39 years of service in a cooperative company. Mr. Luepke, a farm machinery service man at Spencer's Farmers’ Cooperative, started work in 1916 at a salary of $40.00 per month and, 15 years later in the depression, his salary was cut back to the original $40.00.

On July 27, 1954, the Farmers’ Cooperative had a grand opening of their machinery department. In 1969 the Standard Oil Station was purchased and, in 1970, the site of the Skelgas Propane Bulk Plant was purchased.

The record of the total yearly sales gives evidence ui a steady growth and improvement. In 1946, the year following the merger, the total sales were $519,353.00 and ten years later they had increased to $769,823.00. In 1966 they reached the million mark for the first time, the figure being $1,006,088.00 and they continue to show a steady increase.

The Farmers’ Cooperative Company believes they have been of real service to the farmers in this community and look forward to serving them well for many years to come.

The present manager is Philip Yakish and the assistant manager is Charles Steffenhagen. Former managers were Fred Reno, John Bruesewitz, Fred Larson, Earl A. Stolph, Arnold Bruesewitz, Reuben Nelson, Kenneth Goldsmith, and Vernon Steuck.



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