In the beginning, we bought and sold lumber, flour, coal, hay equipment along with grain. An elevator was built in 1914. The main cash crop was corn in Kit Carson.
In those days, a corn picker was one man with a team of horses hitched to a lumber wagon. . . When a farmer hired a corn shucker, he was paid about three or four cents per bushel for his work, which amounted to somewhere from $2.00 to $4.00 per day. The shucker generally furnished his own team and wagon for which he would receive feed for his team and his own board and room.
A great deal of corn raised north of Stratton was hauled directly into Stratton and sold to the Stratton Equity Coop. The co-op bought thousands of bushels of corn by wagon box measure, which was one bushel to the inch [one bushel for every inch high filled in a standard wagon box]. This was as accurate as weighing a load and paying for one-half of the weight as corn and the other half of the weight as the cob for which they received nothing. . .
During the rush of corn picking season, on most any day, you could see a continual line of horse drawn wagons loaded with ear corn coming into Stratton from the road running straight north. There would be a solid line of wagons as far as you could see.
The Co-op would have the corn unloaded in long ricks on the open land just north of the Rock Island Railroad where Miller's car wrecking yards are now. The co-op then shelled the corn and left the cobs in long ricks which they sold back to the farmers and town people for $1.00 a load. They used the cobs as fuel for cook stoves and small heaters.
Today, we find ourselves realizing the importance of the strongest of our core businesses. The grain division with three elevators is capable of storing 9.8 million bushels and over 3 million bushels in bunkers for a capacity of nearly 13 million bushels.
The agronomy division with its five locations at Stratton, Kirk, Burlington, Idalia and Flagler serves farmers in a multi-county region and handles distribution of both fertilizer and crop protection chemicals through state-of-the-art facilities and application equipment, including aerial application.
The petroleum division has a convenience store in Stratton and Cardtrol systems in Kirk and Burlington, along with bulk fuel and propane delivery trucks.
The farm supply division boasts of three Car Care Centers and NAPA auto parts stores in Stratton, Kirk and Burlington and an Ace Hardware store in Stratton.
With a board comprised of five directors and a team of approximately one-hundred full time employees, we continue to look for the rain and when it comes we continue to celebrate.
-- Quotes taken from "The First Hundred Years: The Life and Times of Stratton Equity Co-operative Co. & the people who made it happen" by Jo Bauman