Morrow County Grain Growers, Inc.
was organized March 18, 1930, in the Ione High School gymnasium when 100 farmers pledged 183,000 bushels of wheat to cooperative selling. The cooperative was formed to give the local farmer more leverage and higher prices in the market place. The articles of incorporation were filed on April 2, 1930.
On April 18, 1931, the Lexington Oil Cooperative was formed. The oil Cooperative began purchasing gas and lubricating oils from Portland, passing the savings on to the producers in the area that were shifting their farming from horses to tractors. The producers found that just as with wheat, oil prices were more to their advantage through cooperatives.
On April 1, 1940, Morrow County Grain Growers purchased the assets of Farmers Elevator Company adding Heppner, McNab and Ione Elevators. In 1952, North Lexington and Ruggs Elevators were built. In 1954, the cooperative built a grain elevator on the Columbia River at the site where the Patterson Ferry took vehicles across the river from Oregon to Patterson, Washington. The Ferry ceased operation when the Umatilla Bridge was built several miles upriver. The company bought the property from last operators of the Patterson Ferry, gentlemen whose last names were Hogue and Warner. Hence the name, Hogue Warner. Hogue Warner has evolved over the years to become one of the most efficient facilities on the lower Columbia River for unloading trucks. The company currently operates eight-grain elevators, one of which is leased. Total license capacity is 3,934,000 bushels.
In 1967 Morrow County Grain Growers, Inc. merged with Lexington Oil Cooperative, placing the company in the retail business, selling hardware, fuel and tires. About that same time, the company bought Lexington Implement Co, from Red Leonard and became an International Harvester Farm Equipment and Truck Dealer.
In 1971, the cooperative moved into the building we now occupy in Lexington, putting all three of the former companies in one location.
In 1976, the company bought the Cenex Soil Service Center in Ione, Oregon, adding Fertilizer and Chemical sales to its retail business.
In 1987, the company purchased Pettyjohn Oil Co. in Ione, doubling the petroleum volume the company was doing at that time. The Fertilizer Department moved their office to the building Pettyjohn operated from.
In 1988, we expanded our farm equipment dealership into Sherman and Wasco counties by opening a parts store at Sherman Farm Cooperative’s new Farm Store in Wasco, Oregon.
In 1989, the company bought Heppner Nor-Gas, adding more diversification and helping with cash flow during the winter months when seasonally things were slow for the other departments within the company.
In 1991, we began selling fertilizer and chemicals at Wasco. In 1997, the company built a new facility at Wasco, putting our Agronomy and Machinery dealership together in their own facility.
In 2002, we sold our tire inventory to Les Schwab and exited the tire business. Also in 2002, purchased the Polaris ATV and Snowmobile dealership in Lexington.
In 2005, the cooperative purchased Green Feed and Seed in Heppner. The company consolidated its inventory of clothing, fencing, livestock equipment, and animal health products to the Green Feed and Seed store in Heppner. In 2006, the cooperative purchased the inventory of Heppner Auto Parts in Heppner and moved the NAPA inventory to its Lexington store.
One January 1, 2007, the cooperative purchased NAPA Auto Parts stores located in Boardman, Oregon, and Umatilla, Oregon. The acquisition of these two stores complimented the vision of the company to strategically focus the organization for long-term success at serving the members by focusing employees on delivering maximum value at what we do now and looking for new products and services in growing markets to properly balance the portfolio of services and mitigate market risk.
Currently, the cooperative is serving 7 counties in north central Oregon, and Klickitat County in Washington, with its Farm Equipment dealership and its Agronomy department. The Energy department serves 5 counties in Oregon. Grain comes to Hogue Warner from as far away as the state of Idaho. Hogue Warner Elevator is strategically located, making it a terminal of choice for trucks needing a back haul of grain out of the Boise Valley area. With over 70 full time empolyees and now over 600 members, Morrow County Grain Growers Incorporated is a story of growth, diversificatio, consolidation and vision for the future success of its members
Morrow County Grain Growers, Inc. serving your community since 1930!