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HuskerFlex

COOPs can't sell ethanol...

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Went back home this weekend. Got one e85 blender pump price report

 

E85.  $3.25

E0.      None (is 20 cents more in area though)

E10.    $3.32

E20.    $3.31

E30.    $3.30

 

 

Wow... This is the united farmers cooperative (UFC) in Shelby Nebraska.

 

If this was a gas station in Georgia owned by big oil and rabidly anti ethanol... That would make sense.  Shelby is in elprimo corn ethanol country. Home town of a cornhusker turned gold metal bobsleder that is a spokesman for the Nebraska corn board.

 

Are they anti ethanol and wanting to gouge profits, or totally clueless.

 

These dolts are being paid professional salaries by the member farmers (my family included) under the assumption they have a clue what they are doing and the are supportive of the industry that drives their livelihood.

 

I was so furious at this.  Great location.  only e85 for many miles.

 

Cobwebs on the ethanol pumps...

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The best priced E85 in Wisconsin is a Coop- but one that owns an ethanol plant. Some of the poorer priced ones are also Coops.

 

Family needs to make an appointment with the GM and if no progress is made- time for your family to pack the annual meeting and ask a lot of questions in front of the board and voting members. They own stock- time to be heard. Problem is getting them the facts regarding the real market- perhaps the new Iowa wholesale publication and this website's retail prices would be good ammo.

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One of the problems with many folks "back home", my family included... is that they fear "rocking the boat", "upsetting people" and "creating enemies"...  especially in such a MASSIVE organization that has the power to control what prices you are charged for hugely important inputs... 

 

Cross the wrong people, and your multi-generational business could be jeopardized...

 

So much for "owned BY farmers, FOR farmers..."

 

My great grandfather helped found one of the local cooperatives that is one of the ancestors of this mega Coop... (first in the state of Nebraska)... and THIS is not what they had intended.  Incompetent managment WAY overcharging for an product, helping soil the reputation of a major industry that farmers are dependent on.

 

My family would never stand up.

 

I thought I might try going through the Nebraska Corn Growers board... have them have a talk to the coop... mention that they have "received some complaints from corn growers about the outrageous prices that their grant for blender pumps has gotten them"... and how this sort of price gouging is giving ethanol a bad reputation...  NOT what their investment was suppose to accomplish...

 

Grrrr....

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I'm a compassionate guy, and I understand the importance of work in a person's life, and how without the sense of purposefulness that comes with work, many can fall into depression...

 

But seriously I could think of MUCH better jobs for the mentally challenged then "Energy Division Director"...  Seriously, everyone, even those with challenges need to work somewhere... but NOT in administrative roles.

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;D Having been a former COOP "energy division dept head" (and feed, and grain, etc) over the years with a trivial mindless role I am entitled to say this from experience;

 

1) complainers in a Coop are more likely to get better prices- not worse- or at minimum- just as good- especially if done with balance and truth on the part of the complainer.

2) a Coop that does not adapt and be proactive in it's marketing and relevance to it's members WILL BE REPLACED IN ONE GENERATION.

3) Why would you not argue to protect your stock investment instead of losing it due to #2.

4) Be real- a Coop is not there really to be cheapest every day of the year- but rather to also bring products and services of value or need that others were/are unwilling to provide and do so fairly and competitively. To ask for this is not unreasonable- so if your Coop will not provide at least competitively what obviously others can do- why does the Coop exist today? Has it already lost it's former purpose and now is merely on the chase to get larger so it can spread it's overhead over more territory?- if so the eggshell may soon crack because the mgt is getting farther from the people every day (thus- when an independent starts up someday- why not buy local?)

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Thanks for your input Outlaw, I appreciate the word of advise from a former "coop man"...  I totally agree with your logic and reasoning...  But trying to convince my father to take a stand... is sort of like convincing...  well NOT worth the effort, as it is against his nature.

 

I would argue that a coop that is THIS big (see map on link below)

http://www.ufcoop.com/content/locations

has already gone down the rabbit hole you described in point #2.

 

About 10 years ago, they started doing away with the "service stations" in each of these small towns.  When each town had it's own coop, every coop had a service station that would handle tires, minor repairs and occasional overhaul projects (if you trusted the technicians on that application, and they had the time...)  "Corporate Management" out of the HQ office decided that these were actually money loosing ventures, so they were dropped. 

 

When they did this, we now had to go 3x as far, "into town" in York, and deal with the NAPA or other privately owned businesses... long distance, inconvenience, and not any cheaper...  what is more being from "out of town", our business was not as important as other "locals"...  Not that my dad would have said this to the board, but he would rant that the reason they were called "service stations" was that they were providing a "service to the community".  Even if this means it costs them some money, it is the coops way of giving back to the community that owns them, and supports them... mutually helping each other out... that is the reason for coops.

 

Back in the day when each of these coops was separately owned (or was merged with ONE neighboring community) if you were not getting the service, prices or level of attention from one, you could do business with a neighboring coop.  We were members of 3.  If enough business was going away, change happened pretty soon...  if not, those coops ran into trouble, and were forced to merge to bail them out.

 

Now, all 3 of those coops are currently part of the same UFC cooperate organization...  no choice.

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I know what you mean about it not being their nature to speak up- my family was similar- my dad even served on the board and would not fully speak his piece. My grandfather was a founding member. I did not work for that Coop- the ones I worked at were not even the same brand nor same state.

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