Wool Pool

The Cooperative Wool Marketing Association became an affiliated commodity exchange of the Michigan State Farm Bureau in 1920. The co-op meant to garner better prices for the commodity, the value of which plummeted when the U.S. government dumped its surplus on the market after the World War I. Farmers consigned 3,700,000 pounds to Farm Bureau’s Wool Pool. Though commercial buyers had ceased altogether to buy wool, members expected the pool to pay anywhere from 60 cents to $1 per pound. Early membership solicitors enticed hundreds of new members by promising higher prices­ — prices that wouldn’t rebound for many years. It was a shaking start for the young Farm Bureau, which learned a tough lesson in promising more than it could deliver.