Embracing the benefits of cooperation

Nostalgia turns to sadness as the once unified look of cooperatives drift into obsolescence as people move way from the complex story of how American agriculture came to be the most abundant food supplier in the world.

By

Lifestyle

September 29, 2020 - 10:19 AM

Kansas is second in the nation for filing farm bankruptcies in 2019, with a 50% increase of filings in the last year. The Midwest has been hit hard by low commodity prices and the trade war with China. REGISTER/ERIC SPRUILL

If I were putting together a Sunday Drive Edition of a scavenger hunt, it would most certainly include the “CO-OP” emblem. You probably know what one I mean: an outline of a red circle and blue circle overlapping and the letters C-O-O-P stamped in the middle.

No matter where you go in the Midwest, you can likely spot this classic symbol. It’s in obvious places like on the side of a grain elevator, gas tank or a business sign. And in more subtle places like old feed buckets, oil drums, clocks and utensils in a grandmother’s kitchen, or on hats and jackets kept by old farmers.

The logo, which was almost universally used by agricultural cooperatives in the 1980s and earlier, has slowly faded from use as modern cooperatives have opted to use their own brands to build recognition and loyalty, which is a smart move from a business perspective.

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