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Obion Farmers Cooperative wins Pinnacle Award

Obion Farmers Cooperative wins Pinnacle Award

Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 9:05 pm

Obion Farmers Cooperative wins Pinnacle Award | Obion County Cooperative

directors Robert Lynn Barnes and Jason Crabtree, board president Carl Wayne Hammond, manager Freemon Harris and directors Paul Albright, David Wisener, Daniel Huey and Robert McDavid
Obion Farmers Cooperative received the 2008 Pinnacle Award during Tennessee Farmers Cooperative’s (TFC’s) annual meeting at Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center recently. The award, one of the highest honors given by TFC, was presented to three member cooperatives by customer relations officer Jim McWherter. Manager Freemon Harris and board president Carl Wayne Hammond accepted the award on behalf of Obion Farmers Co-op. Also honored as recipients of the Pinnacle Award were Henderson Chester Farmers Cooperative, headquartered in Lexington, and Coffee Farmers Cooperative, located in Manchester. “Each of these co-ops has put forth an outstanding effort to support and grow their business,” McWherter said. “They succeed because of their strong management, service-minded employees, diverse range of products and a board of directors who take a caring, hands-on approach.” The Pinnacle Award is based on a formula designed to “level the playing field,” said McWherter, and give every cooperative, whether large or small, a chance to compete. The criteria go beyond annual sales volume and profitability to include a number of other factors, including results for the past five years, financial ratios and rate of sales growth. These factors are then combined with the percent of purchases these co-ops made from TFC during the year to reach a score that shows both value to the Co-op’s members and dedication to the entire system. Obion Farmers Cooperative, which will celebrate its 72nd anniversary in January, has four locations: Union City, Kenton, Obion and Troy. The co-op offers a wide range of agronomy-based services and has invested in the future with the purchase of new equipment to help meet the needs of local growers. Even with its focus on crops, the co-op has also evolved to offer other products such as pet food, Carhartt clothing, tack and horse feed and gift items. For fiscal year 2007, the co-op registered sales volume of $12.3 million and is on pace to finish with more than $14 million for 2008. Over the past five years, Harris is proud to say the co-op paid $1.3 million in patronage and allocated reserves, and had a net income of $2.3 million before dividends. “It’s important that we share our success with the members,” Harris said. “It’s the co-op way — we make money and pass it back to our patrons. They’re rewarded for their loyalty to us.” Agronomy remains the co-op’s No. 1 priority, and services like seed treatments and asset purchases such as a Ro-Gator fertilizer spreader for topdressing corn and cotton prove the Co-op’s commitment to its row-crop farmers. The co-op even built a new six-bay storage facility to house this valuable equipment. The secret to Obion’s success, said Harris, is simply sticking to what the co-op does best. “Strong employees, great directors and loyal customers are what got us here,” said Harris. “We’re still doing the same thing we set out to do — be a cooperative and serve the farmer.” TFC, a regional farm supply and service organization, is owned by Obion Farmers Cooperative and 57 other member co-ops across the state. These co-ops are owned by their farmer members and governed by a local board of directors. Together the co-op system serves more than 70,000 farmer owners and some 500,000 non-member customers. Published in The Messenger 12.16.08

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