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 bring stable and reliable electricity to rural East Texas.
- 9th largest Cooperative in Texas.
- 110th fastest growing cooperative in the United States.
- Farmers EC is comprised of nine co-op districts across 12 Texas counties.
- As of December 31, 2018 Farmers EC has 48,501 members.
- Farmers EC meters have grown from 51,000 in 2013 to 64,236 in 2018
- As of 2018 the average Farmers EC member uses 1,459 kWh monthly.
- Farmers EC as a whole used 1,254,913,032 kWh in 2018.
- Services 64,236 meters as of 2018.
- Averages 12.17 meters per mile.
- 5,278 miles of power lines.
Details Coming Summer 2020.
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.
District 1: Don Phillips
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 since 1972 and is currently a director. Don was recognized by the National Electric Cooperative Association as a Credentialed Cooperative Director and completed additional education to earn his Board Leadership Certificate. He is a past board member and past president of the Gafford Chapel Water Corporation.
District 2: Bobby Middleton
Counties: Southwestern Hopkins | Southeastern Hunt | Eastern Rains | Northwestern Wood
Bobby lives in the County Line community near Point with his wife, Robin, and daughter, Samone. His son and daughter-in-law, Cole and Jayna, live nearby. He is a graduate of Greenville High School and East Texas State University. Bobby has been a member of Farmers Electric since 1982 and is currently a director. He was certified by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association as a Credentialed Cooperative Director and further achieved Board Leadership Certification. Bobby has been a dairy farmer for over 30 years. He has served on the boards of the Clifton Cemetery Association, the Miller Grove Water Supply Corporation, and is currently an active member of County Line Baptist Church.
District 3: Betty Adams
Counties: Western and Central Hunt | Eastern Collin
Betty has lived in Hunt County for more than 50 years. She graduated from Bland High School and attended Texas Woman’s University. Betty raised three daughters and one son and has ten grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She has been a member of Farmers Electric Cooperative since 1960. Betty is currently a director and serves as Secretary-Treasurer of the Cooperative. She retired in 2014 from her 42-year career as a secretary in the Greenville Independent School District. Betty is an active member of Wesley United Methodist Church of Greenville and is a lifetime member of the Hunt County 4-H Club.
District 4: Marvin Fuller
Counties: Southern Collin | Northwestern Rockwall
After graduating from Plano Senior High School, Marvin obtained a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics from Texas Tech University. He is active in the community of Wylie, Texas and has worked in the banking industry for more than 25 years. Marvin is currently the branch president of Inwood National Bank in Wylie; he also currently serves as the president of both the Wylie Economy Development Corporation and the North Texas Municipal Water District. Marvin is a founding member of the Wylie ISD Education Foundation and is a former president of the Wylie Chamber of Commerce. He and his wife, Melisa, are members of the First Baptist Church of Wylie.
District 5: Martin Allain
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 the University of Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette: Martin also served in the United States Army Reserve. He has been a Farmers Electric member 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. He has owned and operated a dairy and a dairy supply business and a Pizza Inn. He also worked as a coordinator for Southern Milk and Mid-America Dairymen. He is currently employed by Farm Country, Inc. and owns and operates Martin Allain Appraisal Service.
Martin’s has also served on the boards of the Rayburn Country Electric Cooperative, Texas Dairy Herd Improvement Association, Texas Jersey Cattle Association, Brashear Water Supply Corporation, and the Shirley Water Supply Corporation.
District 6: David Magness
Counties: Western Hunt | Northern Rockwall | Southeastern Collin
David is a graduate of Honey Grove High School and Texas A&M University-Commerce. He now lives on a ranch in Royse City with his wife, Shirley. He has been a member of Farmers Electric since 1979 and is currently a director and president of the board. David is certified by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association as a Credentialed Cooperative Director and completed additional study to achieve Board Leadership Certification. David was a petroleum engineer for several years and has been a farmer and rancher since 1976. He has served as Rockwall County Commissioner for Precinct Four since 2002. David is an active member of First United Methodist Church in Royse City. Other boards on which he has served include the Rockwall County Farm Bureau since 1978, Royse City ISD Board of Trustees, Royse City Chamber of Commerce, and the Rockwall County Youth Fair.
District 7: Tommy Pulliam
Counties: Southern Collin | Northwestern Rockwall | Northeastern Dallas
Tommy is a graduate of North Garland High School; afterwards he attended Richland Community college and Collin County Community College. He is currently the president of Pulliam Construction. As a cooperative member since 1991, Tommy has achieved Credentialed Cooperative Director status with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Tommy is an active resident of the Wylie community and has previously served as president of the Wylie Athletic Booster Club and has served on the boards of the Wylie Sports Associate, the Wylie Hall of Honor, and the Friends of the Wylie Fire Department. Additionally, Tommy is an inaugural member of Wylie’s Historical Review Commission and an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Wylie East Fork; he is also a recipient of the Wylie Rotary Community Ethics Award. He and his wife, Toni, attend the First Baptist Church of Wylie where Tommy serves on the Personnel Committee and the Board of The Coventry Reserve.
District 8: Bill Samuels
Counties: Southern Rockwall | Kaufman | Southwestern Hunt | Eastern Dallas
Bill is a Kaufman County native and is a lifelong farmer. He lives near Terrell with his wife, Mary Pat, and family. He attended Terrell High school and graduated from Texas A&M University. Bill has served as a member of the cooperative since 1980 and currently serves as the Vice-President of the Board of Directors. He has been recognized by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association as a Credentialed Cooperative Director and has also completed the additional educational requirements for a Board Leadership Certificate. Bill has held leadership positions on several boards. These boards include the Kaufman County Farm Bureau and the Kaufman County Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service as well as the High Point Water Supply Corporation. Bill has given many years of community service to the local areas.
District 9: Wayne Douglas
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 in Commerce. He has been a member of the 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 the former owner of a self-storage and office space rental business. He has a farming and ranching operation in Rains County. Wayne’s service to the community includes 4-H, the Rains Booster Club and the Rains County Youth Sports Organization. Douglas Field in Rains County is named for him.
Mark Stubbs - General Manager
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.