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Bell, Florence C. (Florence Colfax), 1899- / Farmer co-ops in Wisconsin

Farmers operate telephone and irrigation mutuals,   p. 45 PDF (285.2 KB)

Page 45

crops. Most of these mutuals limit
themselves to designated groups of
counties, but a few operate on a State-
wide basis. Their combined insurance
in force exceeds $400,000,000.
Farmers Operate Telephone
and Irrigation Mutuals
For many years Wisconsin farmers
have taken cooperative action in
establishing and maintaining mutual
telephone companies. At the close of
1939, there were 569 telephone com-
panies in Wisconsin with annual in-
eomes from assessments or fixed charges
of less than $3,000, most of these
being farmers' mutual companies.
Data assembled for the Farm Credit
Administration by the Bureau of the
Census in 1937 indicated that almost
)O percent of these farmers' mutuals
were service line companies. Such
companies as a rule are relatively small
md generally do not operate switch.
boards of their own.
In the mutual companies which are
commonly referred to as service line
.ompanies each farmer, as a rule,
owns his telephone and keeps it in
repair. He may provide the telephone
poles on his property. It is customary
for the subscribers to pay the actual
'ost of the service. Operating ar-
rangements vary, depending on local
conditions and requirements.
The operating companies are formed
n communities where there are more
auhscribers and it is feasible for a
armers' mutual to install and operate
a switchboard in a central office. Ar-
angements are usually made with a
arger company for the construction
ndl maintenance of lines. Some of
hese mutuals establish definite rates
based on the cost of the service.
  To produce good cranberry crops, an
ample water supply is essential. In
order to provide this, 15 Wisconsin
cranberry producers in 1933 formed
the Cranmoor Cooperative Co. at
Wisconsin Rapids. A canal system
was built from the Wisconsin River to
the cranberry marshes, which are
located about 12 to 15 miles away. In
time of drought or low-water supply,
an adequate supply of water can be
brought to the cranberry bogs. Each
co-op member holds stock in propor-
tion to the acreage of cranberry plant-
ing that he owns and which is served
with water by the company. These
growers are using cooperative organi-
zation both to produce better crops by
means of irrigation, and also to sell
their cranberries to the best advantage
through the marketing services of the
Wisconsin Cranberry Sales Co.
Power Program Adopted
  Even before the rural electrification
program was inaugurated in May 1935,
39,206 Wisconsin farms, 1 in every 5,
had electric service, an average almost
twice that of the entire country. At
that time the State ranked eighteenth
in the Union in this respect. Quick
to grasp the opportunities of the
R. E. A. program, one Wisconsin com-
munity secured an allotment as early
as May 1936, setting the pace which
at the close of the fiscal year 1939 had
brought electricity to another 17 per-
cent of Wisconsin's farms. This lifted
the State to seventeenth place.
  By June 30, 1940, the Rural Elec-
trification Administration had ap-
proved loans for 27 Wisconsin coopera-
tives and 1 municipality, and provided
for 2 generating plants, including, at
Chippewa Falls, the largest operating
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