One hundred years of the Agricultural Cooperative "Vranjevo" in Novi Bečej: History and heritage

Discover the rich and diverse past of the Agricultural Cooperative 'Vranjevo' in Novi Bečej through the hundred-year experience of the community that shaped the rural economy. Read about its founding, changes over time, challenges and achievements, and how it influenced the life and work of peasants. Find out more about significant events, personalities and documents that bear witness to her priceless legacy that still shapes the local community today. This collection of texts provides an insight into the permanent commitment of cooperative members, their contribution to rural development and the lasting value of the "Vranjevo" Cooperative in Novi Bečej.

Cooperation in Novi Bečej from the First Reforms to Today

Cooperation in Novi Bečej from the First Reforms to Today

According to Dragiša Šljivančanin, one of the presidents of the Cooperative Union of Yugoslavia, "The history of cooperatives in the territory of present-day Yugoslavia shows its ups and downs, true paths and detours, truths and misconceptions... Nevertheless, in the long run, the continuity of our cooperative organization and the confirmed strength of cooperative values have been preserved..." (Dragiša Šljivančanin, "Proven Cooperative Values," A Century and a Half of Cooperatives, Belgrade, Cooperative Union of Yugoslavia, 1995, p. 7). After World War II, agricultural cooperatives went through various phases in line with political, economic, and social changes in Yugoslav society and the state. At one point, agricultural cooperatives were completely abolished, merged into large economic systems, leading to the dissolution of the Cooperative Union of Yugoslavia, Serbia, Vojvodina, and all other cooperative organizations and bodies.

It is worth reiterating: "All predictions that peasant farming does not have a long future, fortunately, did not come true. This economic and social institution has demonstrated its vitality in all types of societies, from the original community to the present day. At the same time, peasant farms have shown that they can successfully associate only in cooperatives, and that is why cooperatives have survived to this day." The agricultural cooperative "Vranjevo" operated like many other agricultural cooperatives in the territory of the former SFRY until January 8, 1970, when it was deleted from the register by decision P. 7/70 based on the Council's decision of November 19, 1969, due to its merger with the Agricultural Estate "Sokolac" in Novi Bečej. Shortly thereafter, by decision I. 184/71 of March 18, 1971, the Agricultural Estate "Sokolac" Novi Bečej was merged with the Agricultural Cooperative Novo Miloševo, forming a new economic entity called the Agricultural Combine "Biserno ostrvo" Novi Bečej. The reforms did not end there, as by decision rj. 843/73 of February 5, 1974, the Agricultural-Industrial Organization "Biserno ostrvo" m.sol.o. Novi Bečej was registered with the OOURs within the framework of IPK "Servo Mihalј" o.sol.o. Zrenjanin, including the following OOURs:
- OOUR PD "Sokolac" Novi Bečej,
- OOUR "Miloševo" Novo Miloševo,
- OOUR "Bočar" Bočar,
- OOUR for catering and tourism "Jadran" Novi Bečej.

By the decision of May 10, 1974, N. 106/74, the OOUR "Kooperacija" Novi Bečej was organized. Just five years later, by decision of June 22, 1979, the OOUR "Kooperacija" Novi Bečej was deleted from the register due to reorganization as the OOK "Vranjevo" Novi Bečej within the PIO "Biserno ostrvo" Novi Bečej. This company operated for the next ten years until resolution I. 493/89 on December 31, 1989, transformed OOK "Vranjevo" into ROK "Vranjevo" Novi Bečej.

Cooperativism ceased to function in the known manner shortly after the adoption of the Constitution of the SFRY in 1974 and the Law on Associated Labor in 1976, as all cooperatives became part of broader agricultural organizations and were registered as basic organizations of associated labor or cooperatives. In these OOURs, farmers were members of management bodies, but solely for the purpose of developing the then-current self-management relationships. They did play a significant role in the work of OOURs, but the mode of operation and management was contrary to the previous cooperative principles.

Conditions for adopting new legal provisions were only met in the late 1990s; the Federal Law on Cooperatives from 1990 and the Law of the Socialist Republic of Serbia on Agricultural Cooperatives adopted in 1989 aimed to reaffirm cooperatives in our society. At that time, strict adherence to the Law on Associated Labor also ceased, as it lost its function, and cooperatives could once again become independent and separate from existing larger organizations. Therefore, it was logical to resolve the deletion of ROK "Vranjevo" Novi Bečej from the register and establish the Agricultural Cooperative "Vranjevo" Novi Bečej by decision P. 351/90 of June 1, 1990.

In the late 1990s, strict adherence to the Law on Land Maximum also diminished, and rural households began to consolidate slowly at first, and later more rapidly, by purchasing land and expanding the private sector. Initially, this did not affect cooperatives, as there was a renewed need among farmers to self-organize in cooperatives, protecting the needs of the members and agriculture as an economic branch.

Nearly a decade after the adoption of the new Cooperative Law (1996), so-called private cooperatives began to form intensively. These cooperatives were formed by individual farmers who had become economically strong in the meantime, but they did not accept the basic principle of cooperativism - one person, one vote, equal shares. In these private cooperatives, basic decisions were made by the owner, management bodies did not function, and all cooperative income belonged to the owner. In recent years, there has been a trend of these cooperatives being disbanded and, with the same capital, forming limited liability companies. The reason is that owners of private cooperatives realized that cooperative property cannot be the property of one person, and to protect their economic interests, they changed the organizational form, and private cooperatives rapidly became LLCs.

The current cooperative under the name Agricultural Cooperative "Vranjevo" was registered in 1990 as a cooperative with capital possessed by its predecessor - OOUR Kooperacija, and with cooperative contributions amounting to 300 kg of wheat per member. At the time of registration, the capital consisted of 97% social capital and 3% cooperative shares. This ratio has not undergone significant changes to this day, but the value of the capital is much higher than it was at the formation of the cooperative.

At its founding, the cooperative had the following assets:
- A silo with a capacity of 5,500 tons,
- A drying facility with a capacity of 16 tons per hour,
- A truck scale of 60 tons,
- A FAP truck of 1,800 tons,
- Two tractors with attachments.
At that time, there were 39 members, constituting the General Assembly of the Cooperative "Vranjevo" on June 1, 1990. Their names were: Bočarski Zorislav, Busia Janoš, Bunjevački Miloš, Cvejin Vojislav, Cvejin Nikola, Dujin Georgije, Dujin Živojin, Dujin Vojislav, Jerkov Aleksa, Lekić

Zoran, Mišić Milivoj, Milošev Jovan, Nićin Momir, Nešić Sava, Popov Jovica, Pejin Milan, Sudarski Dimitrije, Šijački Tihomir, Vrebalov Živko, Vorgučin Živojin, Sudarski Dragan, Vujackov Bogomir, Rajić Milorad, Bočarski Marko, Vaščić Jovica, Capar Imre, Bugarski Slobodan, Nešić Živko, Galetin Triva, Kimpanov Rada, Laušin Veselin, Gorča Đerđ, Knežev Ela, Kočmaroš Ištvan, Nikolić Dušan, Cvejin Bosilјka, Lakov Stojko, Takarič Mihalј, and Sretenović Kosovka. This number increased over the years, reaching its peak in 1996 when the Agricultural Cooperative "Vranjevo" had 284 members. Later, there was a reduction in the number of members, partly by individual choice, partly by natural course, and at present, the Cooperative has 154 members.

Since its establishment, the Agricultural Cooperative "Vranjevo" has retained existing capacities and built new ones, including two floor storage facilities with a total area of 1,500 m2, a reconstructed drying facility switched to gas, and an increased capacity of transport lines from 60 tons to 120 tons per hour. During the same period, that is, after 1990, the Agricultural Cooperative "Vranjevo" regained agricultural land based on the Law on the Return of Property Acquired by the Work and Operation of Cooperatives. From the Agricultural Company "Sokolac," a total of 303 hectares of land and a proportional part of the fleet were returned without compensation. Previously, the Cooperative did not own any land, so this provided conditions for economic activities through the cultivation of cooperative land.

Due to the inconsistency of legal solutions, cooperative assets were recorded in public records as social property. This can be seen from decision No. 01-315 on the registration of the Agricultural Cooperative "Vranjevo" in the Register of Business Entities dated December 6, 2006. With great effort and the involvement of the management of the Cooperative "Vranjevo," the conversion from social to cooperative property of the Agricultural Cooperative "Vranjevo" was finally accomplished by decision No. 01-64/2 of May 12, 2008. The current capital structure is 100% cooperative property.

The governing bodies of the Agricultural Cooperative "Vranjevo" include the General Assembly as the highest management and decision-making body, the Board of Directors, and the Supervisory Board. Members of the General Assembly are cooperators, 31 representatives of cooperators. Cooperators directly elect representatives to the General Assembly, with one representative chosen for every five cooperators. The General Assembly establishes cooperative rules, determines the business policy of the cooperative, decides on status changes and the cessation of the existence of the cooperative, decides on the establishment of enterprises and other forms of organization, adopts annual accounts and business reports, adopts work programs and development plans, decides on profit distribution, excess of income over expenses, and covering losses, elects and dismisses the president and members of the Board of Directors and the Supervisory Board, and elects and dismisses the director of the cooperative, adopts rules of procedure, and decides on other matters in accordance with the law. Members of the Board of Directors and the Supervisory Board are exclusively cooperators.

The previous constitutive Assembly of the Agricultural Cooperative "Vranjevo" Novi Bečej was held on February 27, 2008, chaired by Živojin Dujin. On that occasion, the following cooperators were elected to the Assembly: Busia Janoš, Nikola Cvejin (member of the Supervisory Board), Đura Čolakov, Živa Dujin, Mihajlo Glavaški, Aleksandar Galetin, Svetozar Glavaški (member of the Board of Directors), Tihomir Ivančev (member of the Board of Directors), Aleksa Jerkov (member of the Supervisory Board), Rada Kimpanov, Stamena Lekić, Milivoj Mišić, Svetozar Mišić (member of the Board of Directors), Milan Pejin (member of the Board of Directors), Dragan Pecarski (member of the Board of Directors), Vasa Stojšin, Srđan Tajkov, Živko Vrebalov - deputy president, Bogomir Vujackov, Jovan Vujackov, Vojislav Blažin, Živojin Malјugić, Slobodan Adamov (member of the Board of Directors), Goran Pajić, Toma Bunjevački, Marko Boberić, Milan Dujin (member of the Supervisory Board), Goran Svirčev - president, Berta Ištvan (member of the Board of Directors), Emil Knežev (member of the Board of Directors), Olivera Ostojić (member of the Board of Directors).

These bodies operate in accordance with the Cooperative Rules as the basic act on the basis of which cooperatives in Serbia are organized and function. The General Assembly of the cooperative appoints the director as the person with the right to represent and represent the cooperative, and at this moment, it is Dušanka Dujin, a graduate agronomist.

Today, the Cooperative has all the basic capacities it had at the time of its formation, has acquired additional property, the machinery park is renewed as needed, and the land is entirely leased to cooperative members of the Agricultural Cooperative "Vranjevo."

The main activity of the cooperative today is the procurement of inputs for arable farming, the reception, purchase, and marketing of basic agricultural products. The reception and purchase are carried out from all farmers who have business cooperation with the Agricultural Cooperative "Vranjevo," regardless of whether they are members or not. The sale of finished products is done with long-standing customers or with new customers if they offer better conditions.

Strengthening livestock production is not carried out within the framework of the Agricultural Cooperative "Vranjevo" due to the very poor overall position of livestock farming in Serbia today.

It is necessary to note that the position of agriculture has been very poor for several years, the attitude of state authorities towards agriculture is not precisely defined, so at this moment, it is difficult to plan the long-term development of agriculture, and consequently, cooperatives. In such circumstances, the Agricultural Cooperative "Vranjevo" operates in accordance with existing economic conditions, with the main motive of not endangering the basic interests of its cooperators at any moment.

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