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ing at the plant had reached 14,000 pounds yielding 1,400 pounds of cheese per season. This operation not only provided area farmers with an outlet for their milk production, but paid out dividends to members.
The 1930's also saw the establishment of another consumer co-op store in the town of Gretna. Having seen the benefits of co-operation at Altona, Gretna area residents opened their own co-operative in Gretna in 1939, with John Gross as manager. The Gretna store suffered many of the same problems as the Altona Co-op, but was able to make slow but steady progress and by 1942 the Gretna Consumers Co-operative was able to purchase the Coblentz General Store in town.
By the end of the 1930's, co-operatives in the R.M. of Rhineland had established a number of new enterprises and aided in the rebuilding of the agricultural economy in the area. The formation of the oil station, the stores, cheese factory and credit union, however, not only opened new economic opportunities for farmers and businessmen, but initiated other dynamics in the area.
Co-operation and Community Building
Previous to the 1920's when the Mennonite church was still the controlling social and economic institution in Rhineland, relations between village and town had been strained. The Church's emphasis on separation from the world and the maintenance of traditional village life, had created two separate spheres of life in Rhineland. The Rein laender Church, in fact, excommunicated those who went to live in towns. This village-town dichotomy continued up until the 1930's, even though the most conservative Reinlaender and Sommerfelder members emigrated to Mexico in the mid 1920's. Farmers, especially from the Mennonite villages, had little to do with townspeople and came to town only to purchase supplies.
This division in Rhineland society began to change during the depression through the work of the Rhineland Agricultural Society and the various co-operative enterprises. Educational efforts of the Rhine land Agricultural Institute along with those of the Department of Agri culture Extension Services brought both farmer and town resident together. The depression had also emphasized the towns' dependence on the agricultural economy and the necessity of playing a more active role in helping the farmer. Farmers and townspeople worked together on almost all co-operative boards and they slowly began to realize, not only that they had a great deal in common, but also, the greater effectiveness in working together. This experience of working together also brought about more social interaction between the town and village and was most evident in the area of sports.