2017 CEO & Board Retreat

The OACC wants to thank everyone who attended the 2017 CEO & Board Retreat at the Chateau on the Lake in Branson, Missouri. Please enjoy a few pictures above!

Northwest Investments, LLC, Opens Fertilizer Terminal

On Wednesday, May 17, Northwest Investments, LLC, opened their new fertilizer terminal in Ames, Oklahoma.

The multi-million dollar project began construction in 2016 with the ability to hold up to 10,000 tons between the two pods (pictured above). Northwest Investments hopes to one day expand with four more pods making their total storage capacity 30,000 tons.

Several wholesalers have already begun showing interest in providing inventory but no word on any deals yet.

For fertilizer order inquiries you can contact any of the five cooperatives that make up Northwest Investments.

Northwest Investments, LLC, was created by five Oklahoma cooperatives: Farmers Cooperative Association in Alva, Burlington Cooperative Association, Helena Farmers Exchange, Land Run Farmers Cooperative of Waukomis, and Farmers Cooperative Exchange of Weatherford.

CoMark and EMA to Consolidate

On February 21, 2017, CoMark Grain of Cheney, Kansas, voted to consolidate with Equity Marketing Alliance of Enid, Oklahoma. The consolidation will be effective May 1, 2017, prior to the 2017 wheat harvest. Equity Marketing Alliance approved the consolidation through membership vote at their annual membership meeting, February 16, 2017.

 CoMark Grain is owned by 13 cooperatives, representing 74 country elevators. Their annual average receipts for total grains are 66 million bushels. They stretch across south central, southeast and northwest Kansas, along with north central Oklahoma.

Equity Marketing Alliance is owned by 17 cooperatives, representing 87 country elevators in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas. EMA’s average total grain receipts are 54 million bushels.

The new entity will have 161 locations and a total grain storage capacity of 133 million bushels.

The OACC is a member-supported organization advocating for agricultural cooperatives and their producer members. The OACC’s mission is to enhance the understanding of cooperatives and advance their development. The OACC serves as the voice for agricultural cooperatives in the legislative and regulatory affairs process and provides educational resources to help strengthen their member cooperatives.

Baca Replaces Smith on OACC Staff

sarah-bacaWith great excitement, the OACC is happy to welcome Sarah Baca as their new manager of communications and events. 

A 2016 graduate of Texas Tech University, Sarah comes to the OACC with a degree in agricultural communications.

“I’m so excited to be joining the OACC, and I’m looking forward to finding my place in the cooperative system,” Baca said. “I can’t wait to meet all our members and help advance cooperatives through the OACC.”

Sarah began work with the OACC on September 30 and will be responsible for all communications efforts as well as event planning. Please join us in welcoming her to the co-op family!

Sarah’s contact information is listed below:

Therefore, it is with sadness to announce that Samantha Smith is leaving the OACC. Sam is getting married on October 15 and is moving to Cleveland, Oklahoma. Sam has done a phenomenal job here and has been tremendous in telling your story to advance our system. The OACC wishes her nothing but a great future for her and her soon to be husband.
Sam’s official last day is Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016.

Rain Makes Grain

corn-harvest-on-jon-leeds-farm-00002869With a record-breaking summer harvest, where do farmers turn when elevators are full and no one is selling?

Story by Samantha Smith

With grain production at an all-time high and wheat prices at a nearly all time low, farmers are feeling the pressure when it comes to what they will do with the fall crops once they are harvested.

Cooperative elevators across the state are almost at capacity, and after the bountiful summer harvest, bin space in hard to come by. They are full of the wheat that farmers cannot afford to sell.

“Right now, you can’t really sell wheat and make any money,” said Ernie Theilen, general manager at Garber Cooperative Association.

His co-op in Garber, Oklahoma, brought in more than 1.95 million bushels of wheat during the summer harvest – much more than they anticipated.

“Wheat prices are low, and there’s a lot of carry in the market,” said Tom McCreight, CEO of Equity Marketing Alliance, well-known in the co-op world as EMA. “Wheat prices to the farmer per bushel will barely meet their production costs, and in some cases, they don’t. They’re trying to hold the grain as long as they possibly can.”

A carry in the market means wheat is in an inverse. Deferred futures are higher and bring more money than if farmers were to sell their wheat right now.

“It will pay to hold wheat and sell the markets that are bringing more money nearby, which would be your fall crops,” McCreight said. “They have more value today than they have in the future, where wheat has more value in the future than it does in the nearby.”

Holding the wheat crop is a good business decision for most farmers, he said.

“They’re making good decisions to hold grain if they don’t necessarily need the cash to put in another crop or pay bills,” McCreight said. “Usually the markets will tell us what we need to do, and right now they’re telling us to hold it.”

EMA works with 17 of its member cooperatives to move grain in order to make space for farmers to store their crops. They serve as the marketing arm of the co-ops they serve.

“We are licensed commodity hedge brokers” McCreight said. “We buy grain directly from the producer, hold it and then hedge it out into the future trying to capture those carries.”

Theilen, whose co-op is a member of the marketing alliance, said EMA has been working hard to move grain from co-ops across the state into long-term storage bunkers.

“A lot of wheat is going on the ground in bunkers under tarps,” Theilen said. “We’re getting wheat in from Blackwell, Lamont, Hunter – different places from EMA – so they can make space at their elevators as well.”

The process of moving grain from the elevator to the bunker can take some time. Co-ops must get electricity to the area where the bunker will be built, get the space set up with aeration tubes, and then start dumping wheat in trucks and unloading them into the bunkers.

The lack of space, Theilen said, has some farmers worried that they won’t have a place to bring their fall crops.

“A lot of farmers are concerned about where they’re going to take their fall crops,” he said, “because space is limited and nobody wants to move wheat out right now because they don’t want to take a loss.”

However, he said, co-ops will find a way to take the grain.

“We’re farmer owned and we’re going to do what it takes to take their fall crops and make space for it,” Theilen said. “We just need farmers to be patient with us, because it takes a little bit of time to move grain from the elevator to the ground, but we are working on it.”

With huge wheat supplies worldwide, McCreight says he doesn’t anticipate the price will get better for quite some time.

“It will probably be 18-24 months before we really see a significant change in the value per bushel on a local basis,” he said. “Time is what we need to bring wheat prices back to a more realistic value.”

But the grim outlook will not keep co-ops from serving their members, McCreight said.

“We will be fine,” he said. “Farmers will find a place to dump and to store their grain just as they always have.”

Training and recruitment coming soon to member co-ops

With the partnership between Triangle Cooperative Service Company and the Oklahoma Agricultural Cooperative Council established to bring talent development and recruitment to our member-owners, we are excited to announce what is on the horizon for training and development.

For years, cooperatives in Oklahoma and beyond have been asking for staff and leadership training as well as talent recruitment and placement. We are looking forward to offering the following future trainings and services for our cooperative members:

  • Franklin Covey Series including Project Management, Time Management and Customer Service beginning in the fall of 2016. These trainings will be offered in 2-3 locations across the state each year.
  • Cooperative Leadership Institute, a modernized version of Farmland’s “Benchmark Series,” beginning in the fall of 2017.
  • General manager recruitment and placement
  • First-line supervisor placement. We will explore and recruit applicants from outside the co-op industry to apply for open positions including location managers, agronomists, and beyond.

In addition to the trainings and services, a hub for open job positions will be available on the OACC and TCSC websites for potential future employees to apply and submit résumés for open jobs at cooperatives in Oklahoma. If your co-op has an open position, please send the position description to and we will publish it on our website. You can choose how you receive your applicants. Warner will receive notification of all applications submitted through the website, and he can either forward them to you directly, or he can screen the applicants and place the appropriate applicant in your open position after communicating with you.

He will also be taking advantage of college and university placement systems when looking for qualified applicants. Career fairs, on-campus interviews and university hiring sites will be very beneficial in filling vacancies within the cooperative industry.

We are looking forward to offering you these new and exciting services and hope that you will take full advantage of them by sending your board members and employees to the trainings and allowing us to help you fill your vacancies with talented, qualified candidates. Dates for 2016 will be released soon.

TCSC and the OACC partner to bring talent development and recruitment to their members


Jim Warner

Jim Warner, Director of Training and Development

Beginning Aug. 1, 2016, Triangle Cooperative Service Company, Inc. and the Oklahoma Agricultural Cooperative Council, Inc. are excited to announce a partnership to bring talent development and recruitment to their members. Talent has been, and always will be, a driving force for sustained growth and success at a local cooperative.

“We believe this partnership will help cultivate, build and strengthen cooperative leadership for the future of our system,” said Dan Kent, Vice President of Value Added Services at TCSC.

With this announcement, they are excited to welcome Jim Warner as a joint employee of TCSC and the OACC. Warner, a retired Lt. Colonel in the United States Army and retired human resource consultant, brings years of experience to the table to help develop employees for the future success of cooperatives.

“We have no doubt that Jim’s experience in recruitment and development will be extremely beneficial to the future of the cooperative system,” said RJ Gray, President and CEO of the OACC.

Through this partnership, the two companies plan to bring recruitment and talent development to local cooperatives, their employees and their board of directors — development ranging from leadership growth to basic customer service.

This partnership also will work to attract and retain some of the best minds to the cooperative system. Warner will be working with local colleges and universities to attract this talent into the system. He will help enhance the existing internship program as well as the cooperative manager training program by identifying qualified candidates for each program.

Any questions should be directed toward:

Jim Warner
Director of Training and Development

Dan Kent
Vice President of Value Added Services
Triangle Cooperative Service Company

RJ Gray
OACC President and CEO

GMO labeling compromise passes U.S. Senate

The OACC applauds the U.S. Senate and Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe and Sen. James Lankford on the passage of the S. 764 GMO Food Labeling Act. We thank the senators for their support in passing the bill.

Passing this law on the floor of the United States Senate is vital for farmers, ranchers, consumers and manufacturers. It creates a uniform national food disclosure for foods containing biotechnology.

The bill’s passage will ensure consumers have access to information about the food they eat. It will allow farmers to continue to embrace technology and grow a safe and affordable food supply.

All attention turns to the U.S. House of Representatives. We look forward to working with our delegation to have the same action in their respective Chamber.

OACC applauds Sen. Inhofe and Sen. Lankford for their support of GMO labeling compromise


JUNE 30, 2016

The OACC applauds Sen. Inhofe and Sen. Lankford on their procedural votes for GMO labeling. We thank the senators for their leadership and support to advance the GMO labeling bill.
We understand the GMO labeling bill has a long way to go to circumvent the Vermont law, but we think it is vitally important for consumers to understand that the patchwork of GMO labeling laws is an issue that would be detrimental to their pocketbook and to our livelihood. Congress taking swift action is important for consumers, farmers, ranchers and those involved in American agriculture.
We believe another procedural vote will happen next week as well as the vote on the substantive language of the bill.
Founded in 1973, the Oklahoma Agricultural Cooperative Council (OACC) is a member-supported organization advocating for agricultural cooperatives and their producer members. Our mission is to enhance the understanding of cooperatives and advance their development. The OACC serves as the voice for agricultural cooperatives in the legislative and regulatory affairs process and provides educational resources to help strengthen our member cooperatives. Our members include local, statewide and regional agricultural cooperatives that help their farming and ranching members remain competitive in a global marketplace.

OACC interns begin work at local co-ops this week

image1Ten students begin their internships at local cooperatives throughout the state this week. Interns from Oklahoma State University, Northwestern Oklahoma State University have been placed at 10 co-ops to complete their internship program.

The OACC internship program is aimed at recruiting talent into the cooperative system. Throughout their internship experience, students gain a sense of what a cooperative does, how they run and what is unique about them. They are rotated through every department of the co-op, gaining practical application skills in each area.

Each student will complete a special project assignment. The interns present their research findings to the OACC staff and co-op managers. The top four interns, based on their special project presentations, will earn a $500 scholarship and an all-expense paid trip to the OACC CEO & Board Retreat this summer.

Below are the interns names and where they have been placed for the summer:

Brady Huckabay – Garber
EJ Stacy – Ames
Carley Rains – Snyder
Brady Mayfield – Perryton
Lane Newlin – Pond Creek
Brent Williams – Tonkawa
Lydia Thompson – Alva
Katie Lindsay – Texhoma
Walter Allard – Carmen

If you see one of the interns in your co-op, be sure to welcome them to the co-op system!