Lawmakers Commemorate Co-Op's 100th Anniversary
DAYTON — Rockingham Cooperative has been celebrating its 100th anniversary since February and to keep the festivities rolling, board members were presented with a resolution Wednesday commemorating the occasion.
Approved by the Virginia General Assembly during the 2021 session, the resolution recognizes Rockingham Cooperative for servicing its community for 100 years. The resolution was presented by Dels. Chris Runion, R-Bridgewater, Tony Wilt, R-Broadway, and John Avoli, R-Staunton.
“You all earned every accolade that we can imagine to give,” Runion said.
The resolution presentation was part of the cooperative’s board of directors meeting Wednesday.
During the meeting, Runion said that throughout its 100 years, the Rockingham Cooperative has made a difference to the community by allowing people to feed their families, take care of their farms and provide an income.
“You all have allowed this community to create wealth and to take care of good American citizens because you all get up every day and do your jobs,” he said. “I can’t thank you enough as an individual person that has been from the Valley all my life for what you all do.”
As stated in the resolution, Rockingham Cooperative’s foundation started on Feb. 23, 1921, when 1,000 local farmers met and agreed to stop purchasing fertilizer from area suppliers until prices were lowered. The meeting was coordinated by Charles W. Wampler Sr., and initiated the idea of the county Farmers Club evolving into a cooperative.
On Oct. 29, 1921, the cooperative was officially formed and was founded by C.V. Smith and Elmer B. Kaylor.
One hundred years later, the cooperative has more than 5,000 members.
During that century, Runion said, the cooperative experienced numerous ups and downs, including working through economic depressions, two world wars and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You all have adapted very well,” he said. “Because you all were willing to do what you had to do, people’s lives in our community are better.”
Mike Humphries, president of the cooperative’s board of directors, said it was an honor to be recognized by the General Assembly for its accomplishments.
“It’s nice to be remembered by the people in Richmond,” he said. “It seems to be a long way from here to Richmond, and we at times feel we are forgotten, but it is gratifying to be thought of.”
The cooperative’s historical background can be read in the book “The House Cooperation Built” by Adam Ford, marketing and social media specialist for the Rockingham Cooperative. Copies of the book can be found at the various Rockingham Cooperative locations.
Rockingham Cooperative plans to host various customer appreciation days throughout the year with the 100th anniversary theme at all locations. There will also be a traveling Rockingham Cooperative history timeline exhibit that will be featured at county fairs and community events.
In November, the Rockingham Cooperative Farm and Home Show will take place at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds.
The celebration will wrap up in 2022 with the cooperative’s annual board meeting and the official kickoff to its second century in business.