With over 60 years of business, the Great Bend Co-op prides itself on its commitment to building strong relationships with growers. Providing services in Grain, Feed, Fuel, Agronomy, Retail, and Precision Ag, Great Bend Co-op recognizes that an approach that prioritizes partnerships with growers, along with innovation, is key to future success.

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Great Bend Co-op sees sustainability as an important opportunity for growers to lead the way, balancing environmental impact with the profitability of its grower owners by utilizing conservation, precision, and innovation to improve profitability and longevity for future generations."We want to be the link between our growers and the potential conservation programs that fit best on their operations.  The number of programs out there can be daunting, and it helps to have that relationship with the grower to build a personalized and profitable recommendation." Cammie Vaupel, Conservation Agronomy Specialist for Great Bend Co-op shares.

Utilizing the Truterra™ Insights Engine, Great Bend Co-op can offer growers cutting edge and competitive insights into soil health and conservation. Farmers have long understood the value in land and that sustainability and profitability go hand in hand and by "utilizing technology and conservation practices on a sub field level can help improve profitability while being more environmentally conscious” says Mark Bauer, Precision Ag Specialist for Great Bend Co-op. The Insights Engine allows customers to create a database of historical practices, conservation, and innovation. Not only does this allow the producer to keep detailed records, but it can also be a very useful tool when visiting with lenders, current land-owners, and potential future land-owners who are looking for good stewards to manage their operations.

Great Bend Co-op was an early adopter of variable rate application equipment. Working with local precision ag companies, Great Bend Co-op provided variable rate fertilizer applications for many growers. Building on that progress, in 2017 they created an in-house Precision Ag position to help bolster the use of these offerings, including the Truterra™ program.

Working closely with Truterra, Great Bend Co-op has participated in various projects and programs to provide customers with access to the latest and greatest innovation options in agriculture. By participating in a Conservation Innovation Grant through the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) along with the Soil and Water Conservation Society, Great Bend is conducting a three-year study of utilizing variable rate technology through zone management. Utilizing Truterra for additional insights, the goal of the program is to show that variable rate by zone is a profitable addition to a farm’s nutrient management strategy.

In 2019, Great Bend Co-op created a new Conservation Agronomy Specialist position in order to help bridge the gap between producers and the local NRCS. Knowing that there are often program dollars left on the table that could be helping the producers implement new practices, Great Bend Co-op hopes to help start conversations between the producer and the NRCS agent. In addition, Great Bend Co-op is partnering with Truterra, Pheasants Forever and the National Association of Conservation Districts to place a Conservation Agronomist in the local NRCS office. This conservation agronomist will work directly with Great Bend Co-op’s Conservation Agronomy Specialist to build relationships between farmers and conservation organizations, present program options, and help with paperwork.

Great Bend Co-op is also participating in the Kansas Soil Health Project, co-sponsored by Cargill and Truterra. This unique public-private partnership helps growers to improve soil health while maximizing state and national cost-share programs. Layering the agronomic expertise from Great Bend Co-op and stewardship insights from the Truterra™ Insights Engine with public stewardship programs, Great Bend Co-op, Truterra, and Cargill will provide growers with a roadmap to improved sustainability.

Looking toward the future, Great Bend Co-op knows that its #MyStewardshipStory is intertwined with those of its growers and customers. Through innovation and partnership, Great Bend Co-op is offering valuable opportunities for engagement and implementation of the latest technology, to continue to be a trusted partner of producers for the next 60 years and beyond.

Contact Cammie Vaupel (cvaupel@gbcoop.com) for more information about Great Bend Co-op, or visit https://www.greatbendcoop.com/.