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Small Town History, Small Town Dreams

The Loudonville Farmers Exchange was incorporated on May 28, 1915 by C.C. Baldner, C.A. Heffelfinger, M.J. Sprang, H.A. Dahl and C.F. Heyde. There were 40 charter members. Each member subscribed to one share of stock at $25.00 per share. H.A. Dahl was President of the Board of Directors and C.F. Heyde, Secretary-Treasurer.

 The Levering Bros. of Fredericktown, Ohio came to Loudonville in 1909 and built the South Side Elevator. The Board of Directors of the Loudonville Farmers Exchange purchased this elevator from them for $4,500 on June 15, 1915. They later sold the corner lot to the Loudonville Motor Company for $500.00. Today, the Loudonville Farmers Equity office occupies the building built by Loudonville Motors. 

Brown T. Craig was hired as the first manager for $75 per month. The elevator opened for business July 1, 1915. Mr. Craig did the office work, and the mill work was handled by two employees, John Harris and Burleigh Dill. The first car of wheat the Exchange sold was carried by bushel baskets into the car by these two men.

In 1925 the Lakeville Equity operation became part of the Loudonville Farmers Exchange, and was closed in 1996.

In 1927, The Equity began to grind and mix feed under our trade name of "Leeco." A truck was purchased and began delivering feed to several retailersin nearby towns, and also hauled grain and supplies for customers. For several years, the Exchange had a livestock truck and hauled stock to Cleveland.

In 1928, the elevator was reincorporated under the name of The Loudonville Farmers Equity Company, and the stock was raised to $100 per share.

Elevator managers, in order, were: B.T. Craig, George Heyde, H.A. Fombell, A.M. Heydinger, Mr. Deckard, Scott Lozier, Albert Fisher, Harold Stover, Raymond Shultz, and Roger Stitzlein (1978-present).

Over the years, several land purchases have helped expand the company. In 1980, the Board of Directors purchased the present office building. In 1984, the Conrail siding was acquired, and in 1985, ground was purchased for the pole building storage shed. In 1989, the Sohio lot across the street from the mill was purchased for additional storage. In 2001, nine-tenths of an acre was purchased from the adjacent canoe livery, and a new pole building was constructed there in 2002. In 2009, the Equity purchased the former two acre bowling alley site, along with eight acres from the Sprang family, and a 70'x300' equipment storage building was built there. Between 2010 and 2014, four 60,000 bushel grain bins were added. In 2015, the Equity purchased the former Sohio bulk plant property and in 2017 a 70'x112' crop care warehouse was built there. In 2016, a 60'x120' shop was constructed adjacent to the equipment storage building and grain bins. Six acres north of the new shop were purchased in 2018, and in 2019 all new feed processing equipment was installed in the mill, and a new computer system for billing and inventory control.

The trend toward bulk handling of grain, feed, and fertilizer has created a change in the type of equipment used today. The Equity now has over 100 pieces of rolling stock, including fertilizer spreaders, liquid fertilizer wagons, two John Deere sprayers, and three no-till drills. In addition to pull-type implements, the Equity has 27 different trucks and 19 trailers used for deliveries. The Equity has storage for 450,000 bushels of grain, 300 tons of buld concentrate or feed, and over 2000 tons of bulk fertilizer.

Since 1978, total Equity assets hae grown from $450,000 to over $10,000,000. Sales last year were over $13,000,000. The Equity now has a total of 300 shareholders.

The Equity currently has 20 full-time employees, and 10 additional seasonal and part-time employees. Board members are Jim Croskey (president), Steve Ayers (vice-president), Tom Bender (secretary), Jon Byers, and Dean Shoup.


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