IntroductionToday, when we hear the slogans “better farming, better food,” or “proud tobe farmer owned” one company comes to mind, Farmland Industries. We maythink of this of this fortune 500 company as a leading agriculturalpowerhouse, which it is, however, it was not always that way. Background Farmland Industries Inc. was founded by Howard A. Cowden, who was born andraised in Southwestern Missouri.
Cowden started young in the cooperativebusiness by working for the Missouri Farmers Association (MFA). However; inOctober of 1927, he had resigned from the position of secretary for the MFAand started out on his own. Immediately following, Cowden received the MFAoil contract that previously had been held with Standard Oil Company, andCowden was now in the wholesale oil business. On January 27, 1928, CowdenOil Company was founded. This business was moved to Kansas City, Missouriin late 1928. In January of 1929, Cowden Oil Company was dissolved and Union Oil Company(Cooperative) was formed.
It was clear that Cowden had planned to do morethan just buy and sell oil to local cooperatives. A board of directors wascreated to run the company, yet Cowden retained full control over thecompany that he had created. Cowden started recruiting smaller companies tojoin their cooperative by signing contracts to sell certain amounts ofUnions products. In 1929, Union Oil Company had purchased its first land.
“The Two Car Garage,” as it is referred to, was the building that they hadpurchase to become their new home. In 1935, Union Oil Company changed its name to Consumers CooperativeAssociation (CCA). CO-OP was decided to be its official logo. In Octoberof 1956, CCA moved to their new home on North Oak Trafficway, in KansasCity, and the company was ready for major business. In June of 1961, HowardA. Cowden retired as President of CCA and Homer Young stepped in to fillhis shoes.
In early to mid 1966, CCA changed its name again. This time to FarmlandIndustries, Inc. , however; they still kept that CO-OP symbol for atrademark. CCA now emphasized much of its business to fertilizer, petroleumand commercial feed. This business only grew and grew for them.
“By 1967,Farmland Industries had manufacturing facilities for various kinds offertilizer at Lawrence, Kansas; Hastings, Nebraska; Green Bay, Florida; FortDodge, Iowa; Joplin, Missouri, and a plant under construction in Dodge City”(Fite 281). From here, Farmland Industries only increased its size, sales, anddividends, not to mention popularity. Some of the major lines include:Food Marketing, Feed, Crop Production, Grain, Beef, and Pork. Of course,there are many, many other lines that the company has produced throughoutthe years.
Some of these things include: Ful-O-Pep (Union Oil Companys”Antiknock” gas designed to compete with ethyl), CO-OP tires, Batteries,Groceries, Canning and Dehydration, Tractors, Paint, Twine, Steel buildings,and many other successful ventures, along with many other flops. “Weve been working to improve margins-by lowering costs, by implementingshared margin programs, by offering prebooking, and contracting programs infuel, crop production, products, & feed-and by increasing our emphasis onproviding timely information and other services” (Annual 94 2). Organizational CultureToday, Farmland is the largest farmer-owned agricultural input cooperativein the United States. Its mission is: To be a producer-driven,customer-focused and profitable “ag supply to consumer foods” cooperativesystem (The Farmland Cooperative System 6). The people of FarmlandIndustries believe in American agriculture.
They believe that everyoneinvolved in progressive agriculture in America today is entitled to a returnon their investments. Farmlands world headquarters are located in Kansas City, Missouri. Thecity is located on the banks of the Missouri river in western Missouri. Themetropolitan area itself includes four counties in the state of Kansas whichhelps make up its population of 1.
65 million people (U. S. Bureau of theCensus 1). According to the U. S. Census Bureau, 82.
2 percent of thispopulation are White, 12. 7 percent are Black, 3. 1 percent are Hispanic, and1. 9 percent include various other Races (1). In 1995, the estimated KansasCity median household income was $37,841. Thirty-eight percent of thehouseholds in the metro area have an effective buying power (this is thediscretionary income households have after paying off all debts) of morethan $50,000 per year (U.
S. Bureau of the Census). Kansas City also boastsone of the lowest cost of living in major metropolitan areas. It rankedthird among 25 cities with populations above 1. 5 million people (U.
S. Bureauof the Census). There are many exciting things to do once youre in Kansas City.