Agriland FS, a Farm Bureau-affiliated local cooperative that stretches border to border across southern Iowa, celebrated its 90th anniversary last week.

The co-op, based in Winterset, was formed by mergers of a handful of southern Iowa cooperatives over the past two decades. But Agriland traces its roots back to county Farm Bureaus, which established cooperatives in the 1930s to help farmers get reasonable prices on fuel.

“They started as energy co-ops with the onset of the tractor,” said John Knobloch, Agriland’s general manager. “Farmers needed fuel, primarily gasoline at that time, but the big oil companies were reluctant to supply rural areas.”

Eventually, those co-ops affiliated with county Farm Bureaus branched out to provide a wide range of inputs to farmers, in­cluding feed, fertilizer,...