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Some say Federated Co-ops has grown too big. What do you say?
Big compared to what? We’re not as big as the nationally owned propane companies with which we compete, and we’re not as small as some neighboring agronomy companies that have difficulty affording the technology and expertise to serve their farmer-members. Members of Federated Co-ops currently enjoy the best to two worlds. The co-op continues to maintain a local presence in the communities it serves, giving customers a face to go with the voice over the phone. And because it’s a cooperative, our members have a voice in how the company is operated. At the same time, through planned growth, Federated Co-ops has achieved an economy of scale that allows it to operate efficiently, to purchase in quantity, and to absorb some risk for its members. As an example, we own and operate a rail terminal at Cambridge, MN, which allows us to bring in and store propane by tank car, when pipelines are out. Because of our size, we can employ experienced staff to maintain a safety program that benefits both our customers and our employees. We can operate a truck fleet necessary to bring propane to our bulk facilities from a distance during times of short supply. We can also afford specialized equipment and technology required to better serve both farm and non-farm customers. Finally, our current size allows us to be profitable and maintain financial strength, which is necessary to continue serving our members.