The Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives salutes …

Another of the largest cooperatives in the nation is set to celebrate 75 years since its beginnings. Next year, Prairie Farms with its headquarters in Carlinville, will mark the milestone, having grown from its beginnings as Illinois Producers Creameries, a statewide association for co-op creameries.

What started out as
primarily an Illinois cooperative, has grown to be more than 800 farms strong. The genesis for the cooperative was to aid the farmer and preserve freshness, says Bill Montgomery, Director of Advertising and Promotion for the multi-state, 38-plant operation that employs around 6,000 people.

The Prairie Farms family includes well-known regional manufacturing and distribution facilities such as Hiland Dairy in Springfield, MO, Roberts Dairy in Omaha, and Turner Dairy in Memphis.

The Board of Directors for this successful cooperative has rural roots.

“We’re farmer-owned, which makes us unique. Farmers drive our success and our vision,” Montgomery says.

Milk is the core of the operation.

“The emphasis from day one has been on quality,” says Montgomery, meaning milk and cream that’s superbly fresh and handled with care from farm to family. Cleanliness and environmental factors are closely monitored.

Today Prairie Farms operates in 14 states, which include: Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas.

Join us as we celebrate Prairie Farms in 2012, International Year of the Cooperative.

In celebrating the International Year of the Cooperative, we want to show our support for the cooperative model. Please join us each month as we continue to feature a different cooperative that you may recognize or might also be a member.