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Keystone Cooperative Wants Young Workers to Return to Farming  

2024-03-24 – BE&O IF

The Keystone Cooperative is a farmer-owned organization that brings innovative agriculture solutions to farms throughout the Midwest.   

The cooperative focuses on solutions and services in agronomy, propane, fuels, grain, seed, and swine production. They also offer a diverse portfolio of products and services to cooperative members. Keystone CEO Kevin Still says one major focus is helping farmers use new technology to boost production.    

Still says finding new labor to own and work on farms is increasingly becoming an issue across America. He says the average age of a farmer is now over 60 years old, and with younger workers fleeing rural communities, the problem is growing. “We need to keep up with them,” Still says. 

To bring young workers back to farms, the group is recruiting at college campuses showcasing why the farming industry is still vital to the American economy. “The American farmer feeds the world,” says Still. 

In 2023, the cooperative donated over $1 million to farming communities across the Midwest. Still says it’s an effort to “give money back to Main Street.” In addition, profits from the cooperative are distributed to farmer shareholders at the end of each year. In 2023, that number reached $57 million.