It’s been more than 80 years since Farmers EC was founded, and in that time we’ve seen a lot of changes and growth in our co-op and our service area. Getting an idea of where we’ve come from lets you see where we’re going and take charge of helping get us there!
In the latter years of the Great Depression, some folks in other parts of the country didn’t see much point in investing in electrical power for the homes, farms, and businesses in Northeast Texas. But the people who lived here knew better. With the help of the federal Rural Electrification Act of 1936, they formed a member-owned electrical co-op founded on reliable electricity at the lowest cost—and the rest is history. Here’s the full story about the power of pulling together.
In the mid 1930s, only one out of 10 rural homes had electric service. For many years, power companies ignored the rural areas, except where conditions existed to ensure early profits. In July of 1935, a group of utility company executives wrote a report in which they claimed that, in light of their earlier extensive research work, “there are very few farms requiring electricity for major farm operations that are not now served.” This lack of electricity made life on the farm very difficult and limited growth in rural areas since other industries and businesses required electricity.
On May 11, 1935, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order No. 7037, establishing the Rural Electrification Administration (REA). A year later the Rural Electrification Act was passed, and the lending program that became the REA got underway. Over the next few years, rural electric cooperatives like ours sprang up across the country.
In August 1936, a group met in the schoolhouse at Heath, in Rockwall County, to discuss creating an REA project would be called Rockwall County Electric Company. In September 1936, another group met in Rains County and voted to create Tri-County Electric Company. Because the two projects were so close together, the REA suggested a merger; on September 11, 1937, Farmers Electric Cooperative was born.
Setting up a cooperative wasn’t easy. The organizers were ordinary citizens who held meetings in schools, churches, and other gathering places to convince people to join the cooperative. The organizers worked for free, going from house to house to drum up support, and the results were not always positive. In 1935, the membership fee of $5 was a lot of money and people were skeptical.
After several months of meetings, Farmers EC had enough members to get approval from the REA. The first lines were energized on September 14, 1938. On that day, 101 new Farmers members now had electricity for the first time. Farmers EC has come a long way over the years. We now serve more than 50,000 homes and businesses in the fast-growing region spanning Dallas, Collin, Rockwall, Hunt, Kaufman, Rains, Hopkins, Delta, Franklin, Fannin, Van Zandt, and Wood counties in Texas.
We still strive to be recognized as an exceptional cooperative by our members, employees, and communities. With careful management of resources, dedicated employees, and strategic planning, we’ve managed to keep our electricity prices low and our reliability since being founded in 1937.
How Co-ops Work
Seven Cooperative Principles
Cooperative businesses are special because they are owned by the members they serve, and because they are guided by a set of seven principles that reflect the best interests of those members. As a cooperative business, Farmers EC adheres to the following:
Voluntary and Open Membership – Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political, or religious discrimination.
Democratic Member Control – Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. The elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and cooperatives at other levels are organized in a democratic manner.
Members’ Economic Participation – Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership.
Autonomy and Independence – Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.
Education, Training, and Information – Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public, particularly young people and opinion leaders, about the nature and benefits of cooperation.
Cooperation Among Cooperatives – Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.
Concern for Community – While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.
Facts and Figures
Farmers Electric Cooperative was founded in 1937 to bring stable and reliable electricity to Northeast Texas.
- 9th largest Cooperative in Texas.
- 10th fastest growing cooperative in the United States.
- Farmers EC is comprised of nine co-op districts across 12 Texas counties.
- As of December 31, 2023 Farmers EC has 71,749 members.
- Farmers EC meters have grown from 88,070 in 2022 to 94,562 in 2023.
- As of 2023 the average Farmers EC member uses 1,485 kWh monthly.
- Farmers EC, as a whole, used 1,631,597,054 kWh in 2023.
- Services 94,562 meters as of 2023.
- Averages 15.32 meters per mile.
- 6,173 miles of power lines.
Board of Directors
Each year, Farmers Electric Cooperative’s members choose who serves on our Board of Directors to determine the organization’s policies and direction. The board members and General Manager handle the business of running the co-op, and are accountable to members like you.
Counties: Western Hopkins | Western Delta | Eastern Hunt | Fannin County
Don is a native of Hopkins County and a lifelong farmer and rancher. He and his wife, Barbara, live west of Sulphur Springs in the Gafford Chapel community. Don graduated from Sulphur Springs High School and attended East Texas State University. He also served in the U.S. Army. Don has been a member of Farmers Electric Cooperative since 1972 and is currently a director. Don has been recognized by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association as a Credentialed Cooperative Director and completed additional education to earn his Board Leadership Certificate. He is an active member of the Gafford Chapel Methodist Church and has also served as board member and president of the Gafford Chapel Water Corporation.
Counties: Southwestern Hopkins | Southeastern Hunt | Eastern Rains | Northwestern Wood
Bobby lives with his wife Mischelle in the County Line community near Point near his daughter and son-in-law Samone and Kahl and his son and daughter-in-law, Cole and Jayna. He is a graduate of Greenville High School and East Texas State University. He has been a member of Farmers Electric Cooperative since 1982 and is currently a director. He has been certified by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association as a Credentialed Cooperative Director and further achieved Board Leadership and Director Gold Certifications. Bobby has been a dairy farmer for over 40 years. He has served on the boards of the Clifton Cemetery Association and the Miller Grove Water Supply Corporation, and he is an active member of County Line Baptist Church.
Counties: Western and Central Hunt | Eastern Collin
Larry was raised and still lives, with wife Teri, on family land in Terrell. He is a graduate of Quinlan High School and Texas A&M University. Larry has been a member of Farmers Electric Cooperative since 2003 and is currently a director. He has been in the wholesale grocery business since 1985 and is now Northern Regional Sales Manager for Grocery Supply Co. in Sulphur Springs, and has served on several industry association boards during his tenure. He has served and chaired committees and taught Sunday School at First Baptist Church in Terrell. Larry is a longtime booster for the Quinlan Panther Athletic Club, which he served many years as President.
Counties: Southern Collin | Northwestern Rockwall
Marvin was raised in Plano and is a graduate of Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics. Marvin and his wife Melisa are Wylie residents with two grown children and four grandchildren. He has worked in the banking industry for over 30 years and is the Branch President of Inwood National Bank in Wylie.
With a long history of community service, Marvin currently serves as Director of North Texas Municipal Water District. He is a past Director of the Wylie Economic Development Corporation, past President of the Wylie Chamber of Commerce, and founding member of the Wylie ISD Education Foundation.
Marvin has been a member of the Cooperative since 1999 and has served as a Farmers Electric Director representing District 4 since 2011. He has earned Credentialed Cooperative Director status with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and has completed additional education requirements for a Board Leadership Certificate.
Counties: Eastern Hopkins | Eastern Delta | Northern Wood | Franklin County
Martin and his wife Betty live in Sulphur Springs. He is a graduate of Comeaux High School and University of Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette. He has been a member of Farmers Electric Cooperative since 1983 and is currently a director. Martin is certified by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association as a Credentialed Cooperative Director and completed additional study to achieve Board Leadership Certification and Director Gold Certification. Martin served in the United States Army Reserve. He has owned and operated a dairy, a dairy supply business, and Pizza Inn. He also worked as coordinator for Southern Milk and Mid-America Dairymen. He is retired from Farm Country, Inc. and operates Martin Allain Appraisal Service. Martin’s past board service includes Rayburn Electric Cooperative, Texas Dairy Herd Improvement Association, Texas Jersey Cattle Association, Brashear Water Supply Corporation, and Shirley Water Supply Corporation.
Counties: Western Hunt | Northern Rockwall | Southeastern Collin
Paul is co-owner of DCS Information Systems, Inc. and owner-operator of Tallant Rentals, LLC. Prior to his current employment, Paul worked in the insurance industry. He and his wife, Mary Beth, live in Union Valley. They are proud parents of two adult children. Paul graduated from Wylie High School and Texas Tech University. He has been a member of Farmers Electric Cooperative since 2014 and is currently a director, , and he has been recognized by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association as a Credentialed Cooperative Director. Paul has served on the Community ISD School board, Community FFA Buyers Club (of which he was Treasurer), the Stewardship/Finance Committee of First Baptist Church Lavon, the Independent Bank Advisory Committee, and the Wylie Christian Care Center board. He is also a founding member of the Community ISD Education Foundation. Paul is a member of First Baptist Church Lavon and the Empire Masonic Lodge in Nevada.
Counties: Southern Collin | Northwestern Rockwall | Northeastern Dallas
Tommy and his wife Toni live in Wylie. He is a graduate of North Garland High School and attended Richland Community College and Collin County Community College, and is now President of Pulliam Construction.
Tommy has been a Cooperative member since 1991 and currently serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors. He has achieved Credentialed Cooperative Director status with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and has completed additional educational requirements for a Board Leadership Certificate.
Tommy serves on the board of The Coventry Reserve. He is a past President of the Wylie Athletic Booster Club and has served on the boards of the Wylie Sports Association, Wylie Hall of Honor, and Friends of Wylie Fire Department. He was an inaugural member of Wylie’s Historical Review Commission. Tommy has been honored with the Wylie Rotary Community Ethics Award and is an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Wylie East Fork.
Counties: Southern Rockwall | Kaufman | Southwestern Hunt | Eastern Dallas
Bill is a Kaufman County native and lifelong farmer and rancher. He lives with his wife, Mary Pat, on the farm near Terrell. He is a graduate of Terrell High School and Texas A&M University, College Station, with a degree in Agricultural Economics.
Bill has been a member of the Cooperative since 1980 and currently serves as President of the Board of Directors. He has been recognized by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association as a Credentialed Cooperative Director and has completed additional educational requirements for a Board Leadership Certificate.
He currently also represents Farmers EC on the Rayburn Country Electric Cooperative Board. Bill has held leadership positions on the boards of Kaufman County Farm Bureau, Kaufman County ASCS, and High Point Water Supply Corporation during his many years of community service.
Counties: Southeastern & Southern Hunt | Western Rains | Northeastern Kaufman | Northern Van Zandt
Wayne is a native of Rains County. He is a graduate of Rains High School and attended East Texas State University, Commerce. He has been a member of Farmers Electric Cooperative since 1972 and is currently a director. Wayne is certified by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association as a Credentialed Cooperative Director and completed additional study to achieve Board Leadership Certification. After completing military service in the United States Navy, Wayne worked as a maintenance superintendent and purchasing agent for Morton Salt. He is the former owner and operator of Douglas Country Feed and Fertilizer and a self-storage and office space rental business. He has a farming and ranching operation in Rains County and is part owner of MK Pallet in Saltillo. Wayne’s service to the community includes 4-H, Rains Booster Club, and Rains County Youth Sports Organization. Douglas Field in Rains County is named for him.
Mark Stubbs has been the General Manager of Farmers Electric Cooperative since 2005. He has over 30 years’ experience with municipal and cooperative electric systems in both Texas and Oklahoma.
He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Rayburn Country Electric Cooperative, the generation and transmission (G&T) cooperative serving Farmers EC and four other northeast Texas co-ops.
His previous board service includes the Texas and Oklahoma statewide electric cooperative associations and two other G&T cooperatives: Brazos Electric Power Cooperative and the San Miguel Electric Cooperative. Mark has also served and held offices with the Rockwall County Chamber of Commerce, Olney Rotary Club, Giddings Rotary Club, Lee County Hospital District, and the Rural Capitol Area Private Industry Council.
Mark graduated public school from North Garland High School. After earning Bachelor of Arts and Master of Public Administration degrees from Texas A&M University, he started his career with the City of Missouri City, Texas in 1984. He gained extensive experience working for public power utilities in Texas and Oklahoma before joining Farmers Electric Cooperative.