The boards of directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers have decided to proceed to a vote of the membership on whether to unify the two cooperatives. Both boards voted affirmatively to sign a unification agreement that would unify the two cooperatives, subject to a vote of the memberships of both cooperatives.
“The value to our members is what’s driving the decision by the boards to move forward with the effort to unify the two cooperatives,” NCFE board president Rick Osterday said. “Members have told us that unification will help us be better able to compete at a time when we see lots of competitor growth in the region. This will help keep our businesses strong, members' equity secure and local control intact.”
Osterday said the decision to take the unification opportunity to a vote of the memberships was made after considering member feedback and re-examining findings from a thorough analysis of both cooperatives that was conducted two years ago. The unification proposal will now be considered by the members of both cooperatives.
“Many benefits we’ve identified are extremely timely given the aggressive positioning of competitors and continued market uncertainty,” Hal Clemensen, Wheat Growers board president, said. “By combining both cooperatives, we can realize significant savings, economies of size and scale, efficiencies in operations, adoption of new technologies and an ability to continue to attract talent – all to better serve our members."
A series of member informational meetings will be held throughout the region beginning Aug. 21. Ballots will be mailed to members of NCFE and Wheat Growers on Aug. 29. Details regarding the informational meetings, ballots and how and when members can vote will be provided to members over the next few weeks.