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Farmers Cooperative, West Central Cooperative unification study

Boards unanimously approve process for due diligence, potential member vote.

The boards of directors at two of Iowa’s leading farmer-owned cooperatives signed Aug. 17 a letter of intent to study the membership benefits of a unification after unanimously approval.

“This letter of intent allows us to further explore equity, governance, organizational structure, asset investment and other member-focused efficiencies,” explained Sue Tronchetti, a Paton-area farmer and chairperson of the West Central board.

John Scott, an Odebolt-area farmer and president of the FC board of directors said the first series of discussions revealed several opportunities will benefit members of both cooperatives.

“We recognize we must continue to serve the needs of our members in order to remain relevant in a global supply chain and in turn, protect our members’ cooperative investment,” Tronchetti said.

 FC chief executive officer Jim Chism said early discussions also highlighted opportunities to improve productivity by sharing resources to better deploy assets like application equipment, rail access and truck logistics.

“Being more effective in our execution would reduce costs and allow us to better serve customers,” Chism said. “We believe the opportunities in a combined company would also provide more consistent, value-added customer service.”

The companies plan to hold a series of employee and member meetings and conduct due diligence, after which the boards will determine whether to take the unification proposal to a membership vote.

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