A vote is underway that proposes a merger of several grain cooperatives in northwest Iowa. Three coops would merge into one: United Farmer’s Cooperative, Farmers Elevator Cooperative and Cooperative Elevator Association. UFC general manager Jeff Christiansen says the ballots that were sent to coop members last week will be tabulated next week.
“The ballots were sent out to the patrons on the 6th of April and they have to be back in by the 17th, which is Friday,” Christiansen says. “They will be counted by each of our audit firms individually on Monday the 20th.” If approved, the company’s new name will be Cooperative Farmers Elevator, with the corporate headquarters in Rock Valley.
Administrative offices will remain open in Ocheyedan and George. FEC general manager Mark Finck says a merger has several benefits for farmer members. He says all three have “decent balance sheets,” they can share technology and with a merger, there will be four rail lines that can bring in fertilizer. Finck says 100-percent of member equity would be preserved under the new structure.
“It would be board members from all three co-ops that would serve on the new board,” Finck says. “The continued long-term financial success is always a positive. The ballots will be opened next Monday. If all three companies would pass it, then the unification start date would be September 1.”
Cooperative Elevator Association general manager Rob Jacobs would be CFE’s new general manager, operating out of Ocheyedan.
(Reporting by Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)