Welcome to Agralite Electric Cooperative, an electric utility headquartered in Benson, Minnesota that serves customers in West Central Minnesota. Agralite was established over 75 years ago. We serve Swift County, most of Stevens and Big Stone Counties, and the southern part of Pope County.
In May 1938, the Stevens-Big Stone Cooperative Power Association came into existence. On October 25, 1938, the Swift Electric Cooperative was organized. On May 4, 1939, consolidation of Stevens-Big Stone and Swift Electric was quickly accomplished. This momentous step assured final success for rural electrification in the four-county area of Swift, Stevens, Big Stone, and southern Pope. The first lines of the new Cooperative were energized March 4, 1940. Only 100 farm homes were to receive current that first day, but many more along the completed lines were ready and awaiting wiring inspection approval. Approximately 800 farm homes in the four counties received electricity by early spring of 1941.
The Cooperative had its name changed in 1940 to Agra Lite Cooperative. A contest was held to select a name that would not be as cumbersome as the original one. The winning name was submitted by Mrs. E. W. Brown, of Hancock, with the explanation that the word "Agra" is a Greek word meaning "farm" or pertaining to farming. Hence a literal translation of the name would be "Farm Light Cooperative". In 1961, by vote of the members, it became Agralite.
The growth of Agralite has been along conservative lines. Its present membership of more than 5,400 consumers compares with the original 479 patrons served in 1940. Over 2,400 miles of lines are now in service, with 19 substations.