White River CO-OP is made up of six counties Daviess, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, and Orange. White River CO-OP provides multiple services and products; fertilizer, chemical, custom application, seed, liquid propane, liquid fuel, feed, grain, swine, soil testing, crop consultation, Precision Planting, and a 360 Yield Center.
Prior to the merges made in 1987, 1991, and 1996 most cooperatives were small with annual sales around $6 million, today White River tops 200 million in annual sales. Most of these co-ops were formed by farmers who were tired of poor quality and expensive products, so they joined together so that they could buy and sell their products in groups for better buying power. Back then they had no employees or income so they would pool their orders together pay up front and pick up their orders when the train load would come in. This evolved into local co-ops constructing facilities and storing products on site, the original capitol for inventory was raised by selling preferred stock. In the late 60’s and early 70’s commercial plant food and chemicals became more popular and has grown to be one of the largest segments of farmer cooperative.
Today we have 5 full service locations in Loogootee, Elnora, Washington, Worthington, and Mitchell providing plant food, liquid fuel, liquid petroleum. We also own and operate 2 convenience stores Scotland Junction(off of I-69), and one in Henderson, KY. We are in the process of building a new convenient store at the Scotland Junction location to serve a large number of local customers as well as interstate traffic. This is currently the only gas station located on I-69 between Bloomington and Evansville. This store will provide automobile gas and a diesel island with DEF and truck parking. A food bar serving three meals a day will also be available to customers.
Our LP business features storage and delivery for all of our branches. In 2012, the purchase of the Kemple facility in French Lick was added to help delivery and storage logistics in that area. Our LP business sells around 5 million gallons per year.
White River CO-OP is heavily invested into the swine business and currently owns two farrowing operations and one finishing facility, as well as working with contract growers throughout our counties. We farrow nearly 6,000 sows and finish 120,000 pigs annually.
White River CO-OP was started as the merge the two neighboring counties, Martin and Daviess county CO-OPs. Martin County CO-OP being the stronger of the two provided the leadership of the White River CO-OP. Part of the early merge was to gain buying strength.
Greene County CO-OP started looking for a stronger cooperative to merge with. Looking to grow White River showed interest and after board member votes, Greene County became part of White River CO-OP.
Monroe-Lawrence Farm Bureau and Orange County CO-OP showed interests in merging with White River. Monroe-Lawrence voted and was passed and came on board with White River, Orange County’s votes, however it was not passed and no merge was made. White River constructed its first 100% owned Swine Facility in Newberry.
Mallet Oil Company convenience store was purchased by White River and is now the Plainville C Store, where Country Mark fuel is sold.
Simmons hog farm was added.
White River has agreed to a joint venture with CO-Alliance in Owen County. That agreement consisted of White River taking care of the southern half of Owen County while CO-Alliance took care of the northern half. Along with that White River took on two employees from CO-Alliance that worked in Owen County.
Orange County made one more attempt to vote to merge with White River, they were unsuccessful and eventually sold their facility to Crop Production Services. Some of the patrons of Orange County wanted to join the White River and now Orange County has a representative on the CO-OP board of directors.
One of the largest buy outs for the LP department was Kemple Propane, to this day it is the largest buy out for the LP department. A Precision Planting dealership was added. White River CO-OP added an acre management program called Harvest Key, this program provides grid testing, geo referenced mapping, and crop scouting.
A 360 Yield dealership was added. Also two Hasler Oil Company was purchased, that added a large volume of liquid fuels deliveries as well as convenience stores in Lyons and at the Scotland Junction on I-69. Also a convenience store was purchased in Henderson, KY.
A new convenience store at the Scotland Junction location is also being constructed and is projected to be done Spring/Summer 2017. A new fertilizer plant is also in construction on Highway 50, which will hold 5,000 tons of fertilizer. We hope to be servicing customers with dry fertilizer by the fall of 2017. Most recently White River added LG Seeds to their dealership lineup.