Morgan County Agricultural Co–Op beginning take shape
By Matthew Burgoyne
Morgan County’s first agriculture cooperative is becoming more of a reality as the citizens of Morgan County have begun mobilizing the effort.
The Agricultural Zoning and Land Use Discussion Group spent the entire meeting on May 1 discussing every facet of the new agricultural cooperative idea. The cooperative would centralize agricultural efforts in the county, with the hopes of stabilizing market prices and increasing the power of agriculture in the county.
More than 25 citizens met with Allison Moon, Senior Planner for Morgan County, to share their knowledge of the business with her. The information Moon gathered at the meeting will be presented to the Board of Commissioners to see if this is a project the county wants to undertake. The cooperative, because it is in its beginning stages, offers numerous possibilities and opportunities to the county. The cooperative would bring community agricultural leaders together to sell their products. An advantage to a cooperative is that members can fix prices according to demand in the area rather than prices in the market.
According to the Capper-Volstead Act of 1922, an agriculture cooperative can fix prices no matter what the current market prices are.
The group discussed every aspect of a cooperative including inspection frequencies, distribution, and up front cost. Local agricultural leaders provided information and personal stories to help the county move forward with this project.
The only downside to starting a cooperative is the start up costs. Moon asked all attending members to bring names of individuals who are interested in the cooperative. The county is willing to contact all parties interested in the cooperative and give them the space needed to meet and discuss the project.
An agricultural cooperative has the potential to be a lucrative business venture for the county. The purpose of the cooperative is keeping everything “Morgan County Grown,” ranging from dairy to produce. Everyone in attendance agreed they wanted Morgan County to be a brand that can gain notable recognition for its home-grown products. The Agricultural Zoning and Land Use Discussion Group will meet again on Thursday, May 15, 2008 to continue their discussion on agricultural land use and zoning in the county.
A portion of the meeting will be devoted to the cooperative, so anyone interested should attend.