Beechy Co-operative Farm Association Limited, 1949-1991

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Beechy Co-operative Farm Association Limited, 1949-1991

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The Beechy Co-operative Farm Association Limited was a co-operative association established in Saskatchewan on June 22, 1949 under the provisions of The Co-operative Associations Act. Members of the association managed and operated a co-operative farm located twelve miles southwest of the Village of Beechy.

The farm was originally established by twelve Saskatchewan World War II veterans who received 500 acres of land each through assistance from the Veterans' Land Act. The Government of Saskatchewan granted a thirty-one year lease on the land to each individual rather than to the Association, on the condition that the individual remained a part of the co-operative farm. The twelve leased parcels of land originally belonged to the Matador Ranching Company but in a move to allow for the development of community pastures, smaller ranches and hay meadows, the ranch had given up its lease on 216 quarters. It was from these hay meadows that the Beechy Co-op Farm grew.

Crop failures and other financial difficulties at the outset forced many of the members to seek employment away from the farm. In 1952, five members withdrew to farm on their own. However, as more and more land was put under crop, the fortunes of the co-operative grew. By forming an efficient work pool, farming operations were accelerated and streamlined resulting in purchases of new machinery and tractors and the erection of permanent grain storage facilities. More land was added in the mid-1950s to allow the co-operative to raise cattle.

Residences for members and their families were constructed on a common farm site. Members of the co-op were paid a monthly wage. Decisions on farm management were made at regular bi-weekly meetings and had to be unanimous before they could be put into effect. Members shared or rotated administrative and operational responsibilities and each individual developed areas of expertise. In the 1960's the farm had become a viable enterprise with a livestock operation and over 6,000 acres under cultivation. By the early 1970's, however, several of the farmers were reaching retirement age and others were looking outside of the co-operative for employment opportunities. Members decided to sell the entire farm as a unit. Although this occurred in 1973 and the co-operative members moved away, the Association itself was not dissolved until April 15, 1991.

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