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Employing the latest telegraphic communications technology, the central exchange of the newly structured CFGE managed to keep growers in constant contact with trade conditions.
The Fruit Growers Supply Company enabled the CFGE to hold down raw materials costs by breaking the monopolistic hold of California Pine Box Company on shook supplies.(12)
By 1912, the CFGE had also extended its forward integration into international distribution.
By the time of his death in 1922 at age fifty, therefore, Powell, together with the Exchange board of directors, had completed the corporate consolidation of the citrus enterprise, and by example the reconstruction of California agriculture, including the race-based industrial labor system they built to power their industries.(14) Further, Powell had fashioned a sophisticated ideology to justify the corporate nature of the industry, while maintaining the CFGE's image as an agrarian mutual help society of small farmers.
Powell had just begun his tenure as General Manager of the powerful CFGE, serving as its first professional executive officer.(30) Early in the Spring of 1913, Powell was asked by Secretary of Agriculture Houston to assume the leadership of the newly formed federal Office of Markets and Rural Organization.(31) Simultaneously, Bailey's Rural Science Series published Powell's book, Cooperation in Agriculture, a publication which quickly propelled him to the forefront of the Country Life Movement's corporate reconstruction campaign.(32) Powell's book became an organizational manual for efficiency and order in the countryside.
From Powell's vantage point as the Acting chief of the Bureau of Plant Industry, the CFGE had evolved the most sophisticated marketing organization of any farming sector in the United States.
The CFGE met the definition of a modern corporation, both in legal form and business function.
Powell's executive style served to cement his predecessor Woodford's objective of securing the loyalty of growers, particularly of the grower-run CFGE board.(62)
A core of youthful executives joined the CFGE at its headquarters in Los Angeles, and rose through the ranks under Powell's "promotion on merit" policy.(63) The General Manager's overhaul of management retention policy ranged from a renovation of the headquarters building, through paid vacations for full-time employees, to initiation of a retirement program through the Provident Insurance Company.(64)
Powell's willingness to sue the carriers produced policy changes by the railroads that the CFGE had long sought: better ventilated cars, the right to pre-cool and re-ice cars in transit and better general care in handling Exchange fruit en route to market.(71)
More than fifty percent of all potential domestic customers still lived outside cities, and logistical problems associated appeared too large for the CFGE to surmount profitably.
In this way, the CFGE, although it then represented approximately 60% of all citrus growers in California, could represent itself as a society of farmers banded together for mutual benefit, and not as a group of corporate businessmen seeking market domination.
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