Ridgeland Chetek Cooperative began in 1931 under the supervision of the Farmers Union Central Exchange, The Farmers Union Oil Company. A manager was appointed and the following board of directors served in an advisory capacity; Arnold Gilberts, President: John Mork, Vice President: Ray Chamberlain, Secretary/Treasurer; O.M. Blyton and F.C. Sutliff were Directors. The Cooperative was under the general supervision of the Central Exchange. A few years later the Board of Directors felt they had little to say about policies and as a result of this, a separate local cooperative was formed in 1935.
By 1936 the cooperative owned pumps at seven locations throughout the trade area. They soon added machinery and electrical appliances to their line of merchandise. The year 1940 brought the opening of a modern service station that provided additional room for an office and a hardware store. In 1945 the name of the company was changed from Farmers Union Oil Company to Ridgeland Farmers Union Cooperative because of additional services that we offered. In 1985 the property and assets of Sand Creek Cooperative were purchased, in 1989 the Amundson bulk plant, and in 1997 the properties of Luer’s Service Station and Lewies Cash Store were acquired. That company name was changed again in 1993 when the Ridgeland and the Chetek Cooperative consolidated and was then called Ridgeland Chetek Cooperative.
Rice Lake Farmer Union was part of Barron Farmers Union in 1929 and became independent co-op in 1960. The trades were mainly Barron, Washburn, Sawyer and Rusk counties.
On March 1, 2008 Ridgeland Chetek Cooperative merged with Rice Lake Farmers Union to establish Lakeland Cooperative Services.
The cooperative employed three persons in 1931 and since then personnel has increased to approximately 120 full and part-time employees. Membership has increased from 155 to about 6000.The following persons have served as managers: Lyndon Ellefson, Reuben Beiswanger, Robert Schneider, Dale Lindemann, Roger Paulson, and Irvin Miller. Karl Varnes is our current manager.
The year of the merger with Rice Lake our Board of Directors consisted of Dave Score, Chairman; Russ Rindsig, Vice Chairman; Marvin Prestrud, Secretary/Treasurer.; Directors: Kord Fowler, Thomas Schoonover, Bruce Winget, Ryan Wirth, Dean Frisle, Chuck Solum, Charlie Nelson, Dave Bandli, and Brent Barta.
Our current Board of Directors is Dave Score, Chairman; Charles Nelson, Vice-Chairman;
Chuck Solum, Secretary/Treasurer; Directors: Marvin Prestrud, Dave Bandli, and Bruce Winget.