fenaco



Well I'm not too surprised in finding a horse drawn plow in the lobby of fenaco. After all, fenaco, with over 57,000 members, is a farmer's cooperative. With 1.8 billion Swiss Francs in revenues, fenaco isn't exactly small potatoes.

Headquarters is a six-story building about a half-mile from downtown Bern. I explain myself to the receptionist and in a few minutes David Kaeser from the finance department comes to the lobby. How did Kaeser, wearing Birkenstocks sandals, jeans and sporting an earring end up meeting with me? He says no one else speaks English. Unfortunately Kaesar has been with the company only a few months and knows the answers to practically none of my questions.

Kaesar estimates about 200 people work here. Smoking isn't allowed-though I don't believe it because the receptionist smoked two while I waited in the small lobby, which reeked of tobacco. The company cafeteria serves only cold sandwiches. I leave without any material on the company because Kaeser says it's only in French and German. I do know fenaco operates a chain of 458 farm stores called LANDI that sell farm, hardware and even grocery supplies because I've passed quite a few of them while cycling. I can't see CEO Schlup Ulrich's office because "he's busy".

However, all is not lost. Right there on the receptionist's counter are brochures for the 49th World Plowing Contest that is being held a few months from now in a farming town less than 30 miles away. Not to be confused with the World Tractor Pulling Contest, which is a completely different animal.