Hello Itasca County; are you aware of the happenings at the local Farm Service Cooperative?  The business has recently undergone some changes without member approval or communication.  As a co-op, the Itasca County Farm Service is owned by the members.  The members have voting rights and contribute to the decisions and function of the business, including voting an operating board into place to meet frequently and manage operations on behalf of the members.

However, the members and the public may be interested to know of the recent co-op board decisions.  Did you know that the board removed the manager and took on the daily operations themselves?  Since this transition, the co-op closed its doors within a month.  Did you know that the board stopped orders of big selling/high income items like fertilizer and seed?  Did you know that even once the fertilizer season was cancelled, a board member still managed to take home a fertilizer spreader from the co-op for personal use?  Are you aware that in order to get inventory to move before closing, the prices on some items were marked down 50%, but before offering to the public, board members set aside items they wanted to take home at the discounted price?  Are you aware that they did not and still have not paid all wages to the employees for hours worked?  Some back-pay is still owed from months ago!

These issues and changes all have occurred in the last month; have you, the members, been informed?  Did you have a say in the decision to close the Itasca County Farm Service, the business which you own a part of?  Or were you left in the dark as employees lost their jobs and Grand Rapids lost a small, unique business, servicing farmers and outdoor hobbyists?

I encourage you; do not stand for this.  Speak to your board members.  Voice your concerns.  You have voting rights!  Additionally, in light of recent unfounded slander against previous management, demand evidence.  Demand the accounting books which you are legally allowed.  Demand proof for the basis of their questionable decisions.  Do not take the board at their word; make them back their claims.  Let’s see if they can justify destroying a business which has been in place for almost one hundred years!

 

Jill Sinclair

Grand Rapids

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