In February 1903, seventeen farmers’ cooperative grain elevator companies met to form the Farmers Grain Dealers Association of Illinois for their mutual protection and advancement. This action followed difficulties (including boycotting) experienced by the farmer-owned cooperatives versus independent and line-house companies in getting their grain to market. The already existing Illinois Grain Dealers Association was promoting its members welfare in conflict with those of the Farmers’ Grain Dealers Association.

The organization continued to serve the ever-changing needs of its members, including lobbying the legislature, working with government programs, dealing with railroads, issuing fidelity bonds etc. When the group hired its first full time secretary in May 1913, it chose centrally located Bloomington as its headquarters. In 1971, the Bloomington-based group merged into a Springfield organization called the Illinois Grain and Feed Association (a successor to the Illinois Grain Dealers Association) which continues in operation to this day.

The collection includes annual directories of members and miscellaneous publications.