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Threshing scene - 1930. Pictured here is the steam engine which powered the threshing machine.

Credit: Elizabeth Zacharias

Co-operative Enterprises

A number of the men who had been instrumental in forming the RAS also became involved in the co-operative movement. Men such as 1. 1. Siemens believed that, in addition to agricultural reform, area farmers and businessmen should also set up co-operatively owned businesses. Siemens, formerly a teacher in the Halbstadt, Grossweide, Lowe Farm areas, had taken over the family farm in 1929 just before the advent of the depression. As the depression deepened Siemens became involved in the RAS and became a fervent exponent of the principles of co-operation established by the weavers of Rochdale, England: open membership, one member one vote and payment of dividends to mem­ bers according to patronage."

1. 1. Siemens was an idealistic person, who envisaged a society where co­ operation would be the mode of life. People would work together, not only to further their own interests, but also to the benefit of others. Through co­ operation, Siemens believed man could live in harmony and peace."

Siemens's dynamic personality encouraged other farmers to take up the challenge of establishing a co-operative even though many did not fully understand or believe in all its principles. Many were very poor and were ready to embark on any venture that might save them money

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