Farmers Coop in Merna merges

After eight months of countless meetings and deliberations, members of the Farmers Cooperative Grain Company in Merna, Nebraska voted to merge with Cooperative Producers, Inc. of Hastings, Nebraska. The business operations of the two cooperatives will be combined as of Jan. 1, 2012. The board of directors of both cooperatives, unanimously agreeing on the merger, believed both patrons and equity holders alike will benefit from the larger, stronger consolidated cooperative. According to Kenny Wallace, president/CEO of FCGC, “changes are coming to Custer County. With the rail load out I knew that it would directly affect the way this company does business in the future. I suggested to the board that we needed to look at all avenues and select a way to proceed forward.” First and foremost, Wallace wanted to protect stockholders’ equity and his employees’ job security. He hired an independent consultant from Illinois to provide an unbiased perspective of the process. In the end, Cooperative Producers, Inc. (CPI) of Hastings was approached because they shared a similar business philosophy, they possessed superior buying power, and lastly, they have a respected CEO and management team that maintain “country values.” CPI will assume the assets and liabilities of FCGC. Per the merger agreement, CPI intends to retain all of the FCGC employees who meet the employment qualifications required by all CPI employees. The consolidation is intended to make FCGC more stable and resistant to future economic changes. FCGC has remained profitable and, in any business sense, a success. Recently, major improvements were made at the Anselmo location where a new fuel storage plant and two delivery trucks were purchased. At the Merna site, there was the addition of a 2,500-ton storage tank for fertilizer, a new scale, a new propane delivery truck, and newer semi’s and trailers. This year, the company also invested $2.2 million in a new grain storage site south of Merna.