Farmers Mutual Telephone
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Staff and Directors

Board of Directors

  • Mike Schares / President
  • Rich Bucknell / Vice President
  • Dennis Becker / Secretary & Treasurer
  • Greg Becker
  • Dale Delagardelle
  • Steve Nie
  • Zak Knutson

Current Staff

  • Tony Lang / Manager
  • Robert Venem
  • Ben Wehrspann
  • Machelle Sommerfelt
  • Cindy Pint
  • Anthony Bahe
  • Brock Eldridge
  • Eric Hoger
  • Kiya Engbretson


Since 1902, Farmers Mutual Telephone has been providing its members with reliable and affordable communication services. Although we maintain our flagship service, Telephone, as part of our corporate identity, Farmers Mutual Telephone has grown to encompass much more than simple audio communication.

Original FMT BuildingOn February 19, 1902, Farmers Company was created to provide telephone service to farmers. Later that year, August 19, the name was changed to Farmers Mutual Telephone Company, which is still the name today, although more commonly referred to as Farmers Mutual Telephone.

Burying Telephone CableIn 1949, the telephone office, switchboard, and housing for the manager, was located in a building (which has since been demolished) where the current building stands, 541 Young Street. It was in that same year that Farmers Mutual Telephone adopted the Dial System. By 1960, the company had grown to 1,050 telephone subscribers and 9 long distance trunk lines.

The original dial equipment was outdated by 1971 and was replaced with a new North Electric Crossbar Office which included 810 lines and 20 long distance truck lines.

By 1982, cable television was growing increasingly popular. Farmers Mutual Telephone branched out and formed Jesup Cablevision. This new company required a special building for the Head End Equipment, and a large receiving Dish, providing 10 cable television channels.

Assembling Receiving DishBy 1984, Jesup Cablevision served 450 households. Farmers Mutual Telephone served 1,700 telephone subscribers with 2,370 lines, 60 long distance trunk lines, and 14 special trunks to Waterloo.

In 1988, the company reorganized and became a co-op. While the original co-op consisted of 400 shareholders, their shares have since been sold to the present telephone and cable television Nortel subscribers, who became stockholders by purchasing a $25.00 share. At that same time, a new DMS (Digital Switch) was installed to provide better telephone service and custom calling features to subscribers.

DMS SwitchNear the end of the 80's, Farmers Mutual Telephone had grown to 651 telephone subscribers in the rural and 782 within the city limits. The company also maintained 215 business lines, 9 pay phones, and 560 cable television subscribers within the city. It was during this time period that the company received the Cellular franchise for RSA-12.

In 1990, Farmers Mutual Telephone offices were once again becoming outdated and so the existing building was constructed, connecting it with the building that houses the DMS equipment. Employees moved into the new space in April of 1990, and proudly displayed their new surroundings to the public with an Open House on June 15, 1990. With the new office was the advent of a new computer system which housed all bookkeeping, including customers' accounts and monies.

Current FMT BuildingStarting in 1996, Farmers Mutual Telephone had local numbers available for Internet access and, by 2000, had implemented a fiber optic ring that today feeds Jesup’s rural customers. In February 2003, the company went to Simply Internet to create its first web site, In February 2005, Farmers Mutual Telephone switched to its existing internet provider, INS.

Farmers Mutual Telephone continues to take steps to advance it's capabilities and the services it makes available to its customers. In July 2007, the company became a licensed United States Cellular dealer, giving Jesup residence the ability to purchase their mobile solutions without leaving town.

2008 also brought a new switch which provides greater line capacity, better quality, and more reliable service to telephone customers.

In 2009 the company launched their first digital cable system capable of reaching every customer in our exchange.  The digital system has better quality video, more channels, and more reliable service.  Also for the first time ever HD TV is now offered in our exchange.

In 2011 we began to bury fiber for all customers in the exchange. This will allow for improved internet and digital TV to everyone.

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May 27, 2017 - 7:57 pm

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