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GROWMARK Gleanings > Posts > Membership is a win-win for South Central FS
April 17
Membership is a win-win for South Central FS

Randy Handel entered the trainee program at a Southern Illinois member cooperative fresh out of college (Iowa State University) and he’s never looked back. Handel has built his entire career within the GROWMARK System and is now the General Manager of South Central FS and Total Grain Marketing (TGM). “It’s been a great career with a great company that’s focused on producers’ needs. That’s the only reason we exist,” says Handel. Handel noted that the same sentiment is shared by GROWMARK, “We’re both out to serve local producers in a positive way.”

Handel puts great stock in South Central’s membership in the GROWMARK System, on account of both the support and partnership that accompanies membership. “Being part of the System gives you security in the long-term,” says Handel. “If you were an independent local cooperative and did not have access to the resources that we have in GROWMARK, you would be hunting for those services out in the world marketplace and pretty much be on your own.”


South Central FS is one of the few, if not the only supplier in the area that has not run out of anhydrous over the past four years. “All of our competitors have run out of anhydrous at one point or another,” says Handel, “We can always count on supply from GROWMARK. Being part of the System and the supply chain has been extremely good for us and our customers.” 


Handel also values GROWMARK’s willingness to partner with its members. Effingham-Clay Service Company (now a part of South Central FS) completed a study in 2006 to determine what they needed to do to keep their already successful grain business viable in the long-term. “What we saw that we needed to do, we weren’t financially able to handle on our own,” says Handel. GROWMARK talked to us about the member partnering program and out of that TGM was formed. “The ability to have the critical mass of bushels TGM handles has opened up additional markets to us, which has enhanced prices paid to us for grain,” says Handel. “We’ve been able to pay better prices to our producers and the company has generated a very good income level, which has allowed TGM to upgrade and build additional grain facilities to serve our customers. Income has also flowed back to the three owners – GROWMARK, South Central FS, and Wabash Valley Service Company.”

“It has been a complete win-win situation. I know it has [been a win] for Effingham-Clay and now South Central. I know it has [been a win] for our local producers that sell us grain, and I believe it’s been just as good for GROWMARK and GROWMARK’s owners.”  TGMTrain.jpg

Handel sums up the value proposition of the GROWMARK System by saying “We all [FS member cooperatives] have a local objective with our own local member company but we have a bigger objective to make sure that our regional cooperative is successful also because when they are successful that comes right back to us as local companies.”



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