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The PGG Story

Wintry weather cast a chill over Pendleton on Saturday, December 21, 1929. The mood of the country was as somber as the gray clouds in the sky that day. Wheat prices kept sliding. "Wheat gamblers" ruled the market, critics said, and farmers suffered. Wheat sold at $1.20 a bushel in Portland that day.

The shock of "Black Friday," October 29, still rattled the economic foundation of the United States. Every time the stock market opened, prices dropped. President Hoover counseled patience. But people were worried and frightened.

The Alta Theater in Pendleton that December night almost five decades ago showed a film called "The Racketeer." It was billed as "A thrilling, all-talking romance of the underworld." Maybe it was just what people needed to take their minds off the troubled times.

But instead of trying to forget their troubles at the movie, about 100 Umatilla County wheat farmers crowded into the Pendleton Chamber of Commerce office to hear Roy Ritner, Alva Shumway and James Hill Sr. talk about a new hope for wheat growers. Pendleton Grain Growers Inc. was conceived that night!

The farmers who made up Pendleton Grain Growers board of directors during the cooperative's early years may not have seen themselves as visionaries, but hindsight shows that they were. The minutes of the board meetings of those years show repeated comments about the move to bulk handling of grain, about the possibility of developing a way to use the Columbia River to transport grain, about the possibilities offered by a feed mill, and about the need for Pendleton Grain Growers to own bulk grain storage facilities.
The year 1938 proved pivotal for PGG. Commitments were made and courses set that had far-reaching effects. Even though money and credit was tight, important decisions were made anyway.

The board's interest in river shipping of grain continued. The entire community benefited as PGG began to stretch out! One of the most important decisions was the one of December 3, 1938 to buy the International Harvester machinery franchise from Jackson Implement Company. Taking on the new endeavor proved to have been the right move.

Inovation continues to be a PGG hallmark. In 1994, PGG and Harvest States formed a new, Limited Liability Company to operate Feedville. The name of the new firm is PGG/HSC Feed Company. The latest example of PGG's enterprise and forward thinking is the acquisition of Scott Irrigation Company in Union County. Because there's a wide variance of climate and cropping in PGG country, the addition of Scott Irrigation gave PGG more flexibility in meeting the needs of it's producers.

 

As the 21st Century develops, PGG has positioned it's posture as a lean and tough company, ready to take on the challenges of the industry and positioned to compete. The company that started in 1930 with a handful of notes and lots of faith today has a net worth of over $17.5 million. It has 2410 stockholders, 205 employees, and a thirst for success!

 

 
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