[imgbelt img=Kilton.jpg]

Susanne Stahl writing at DTN.com (a subscription news and weather service) has a very cool story about working and living together in rural Illinois. She tells the story of the sale of Kilton Farms, nearly 4,000 acres of farmland in Macoupin and Montgomery counties in Illinois. The farm was being auctioned in 43 parcels and local farmers who wanted to expand their operations realized they might have a hard time bidding against those who could combine parcels into larger tracts. 

So some 15 farmers began talking and then they organized what was essentially a land-buying co-op. Each farmer got his own financing, but they bid together after agreeing on a price. “This was a nontraditional sale and new territory for everybody,” one farmer said. “There were reservations about how it would affect each person individually. We talked scenarios and eventually came to an agreement that would be beneficial to everybody.”

The co-op worked. At the end of the auction (photo above), the farmers had bought 2,462 acres. “This sale has brought the farming community together — it gave a reason to work together for the same outcome: to keep the ground locally owned,” another farmer told Stahl. “It was a total group effort — one individual didn’t make or break the thing — everyone pitched in where they were needed.”

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