We are enthusiastic about nominating the rural cooperative movement as an important item on the MN 150 list. We often heard that the Webster Co-op Dairy Association was the largest co-op creamery in Minnesota for some period of time. Many farmers' co-ops existed besides the creameries, e.g., the Webster co-op telephone company, the co-op grain elevator, and the Lonsdale co-op livestock company. Our grandfather John Fossum moved from farmer to being chosen as manager of the creamery in Webster, and our other grandfather Fred Sandmann was on the board of directors. Big fish in a little pond!
The bigger picture is that the rural cooperative movement in Minnesota was the financial organization created by small farmers to market their
products. Over time the hundreds of small co-ops have been bought up by Land O' Lakes, etc.--or have just gone out of business--but it was the movement that sustained agriculture in Minnesota for generations.
~Merle Fossum, Burnsville, MN, and Joyce Pflaum, Rosemount, MN