OUR STORY

From a single location to one of the largest cooperatives in the country

It all began in Dodge County, WI

United Cooperative is a full-service, member-owned cooperative offering agronomy, grain, feed and energy products to farmers and consumers in the Midwest. The cooperative exists to provide our patron members with the best possible value and return on investment, and aims to provide all of our customers with exceptional, professional service.

Incorporated in 1936 as Dodge County Cooperative, we have grown as a result of several mergers and acquisitions, in parallel with the grain and farm supply cooperative industry over several decades. As we expanded beyond our original trade area, we changed our name in 1998 to United Cooperative. We are now Wisconsin's largest farmer-owned grain and farm supply cooperative, and ranked #41 on USDA’s TOP 100 Agricultural Cooperatives list (2019).

David Cramer was named president and CEO of the cooperative in March 1984, a position he continues to hold today. United Cooperative is headquartered in Beaver Dam, Wis.

OUR TIMELINE

The cooperative business model

A cooperative is a business that is owned and controlled by its members. The cooperative is operated to benefit its members, not to maximize profits for outside investors.

People who use the cooperative own their cooperative because they finance it in a variety of ways. They share in both the business risks and the business profits. Each cooperative determines what level of financial participation is required to establish membership status in the cooperative.

Members democratically control their cooperative by exercising the voting rights that come with membership. In Wisconsin, each member is entitled to one vote.

Members benefit from the cooperative because they have access to the products and services they need. Net earnings are distributed on the basis of proportional use, or patronage, rather than on investment.

Source: University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives

MEMBERSHIP

Our promise to you

As a member-owned cooperative, we exist solely for the purpose of serving our customers, which includes not only farmers but all members of the community who rely on us for home heating fuel, pet supplies, hardware, 24-hour fueling stations and more. If we see a need, we will fill it if we can. 

Anything that makes our communities better places to work and live is good for all of us. And when you make purchases at your local cooperative, that money circulates right here in our own communities, instead of going out of state—or even out of the country.

How cooperatives bring value to our communities

Although you may not think about us much outside of the busy spring planting and fall harvesting seasons, your local cooperative is an engine of economic activity. We provide full-time and seasonal employment opportunities to members of the communities we serve. We deliver the feed, seed, fuel, fertilizer and crop protection farmers need to run their businesses. And we return a share of our annual profits to our member-owners, in the form of patronage, which then circulates back through our local businesses, churches, golf courses, social organizations and more.

Giving back to the community is one of the principles of cooperative ownership, and United Cooperative takes this responsibility very seriously. From financial commitments in the form of local scholarships, support for FFA and 4-H chapters, as well as donations to local needs including fire and ambulance equipment; to food pantries and recreational opportunities for kids. We also encourage our employees to volunteer in their communities, as coaches, mentors, board members and first responders. To learn more about our commitment to local giving, please click on the link below.

Photo: Beaver Dam Police Department

GIVING BACK
United Cooperative is the majority owner and managing member in two ethanol production facilities:

United Ethanol
1250 Chicago St.
Milton, WI 53563
(608) 868-5900
unitedethanol.com >

Carbon Green BioEnergy

7795 Saddlebag Lake Rd.
Lake Odessa, MI 48849
(616) 374-4000
cgbioenergy.com >

and an investor in:

Big River United Energy

3294 Vine Rd.

Dyersville, IA 52040

(563) 875-5500
bigriverresources.com >
United Ethanol

 
Carbon Green BioEnergy

 
Big River United Energy

Ethanol: Diversification and Sustainability

Ethanol and biodiesel are the primary renewable fuels produced in the U.S. today, and U.S. fuel-based ethanol production has grown to be the major player in renewable fuel supply. Besides reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil, it provides a motor fuel with significantly lower emissions and reduces the carbon footprint to meet standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act. Ethanol biorefineries make more than fuel, they also generate value added animal feed like distillers’ grains and co2 extraction.  In rural America, ethanol production has become a driver of economic development by adding significant value to agricultural commodities, opened new markets and enhanced farm revenue.

United Cooperative believes that this type of diversification supports our mission, our local farmers and the U.S. economy. Our investment also promotes our sustainability efforts by continuously improving the stewardship of the air, soil and water, safeguarding our natural resources for generations to come.

United Cooperative Board of Directors

All cooperatives are formed under seven cooperative principles in addition to voluntary and open membership, cooperatives all have democratic member control. Cooperative members, elect members to represent you on the board of directors of United Cooperative.

Front row, left to right: Greg Tauchen, Bonduel; Gary Nolden, Prairie du Sac; Howard Bohl, Beaver Dam, chairman;  Rod Leiterman, Denmark.

Back Row, left to right: David Cramer (non-board member), Beaver Dam; Peter Mlsna, Hillsboro; Duane Hinchley, Cambridge; Anthony Schadt, Watertown; Brad Krueger, Shawano; Robin Craker, Reedsburg, secretary.

Leadership Directory