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News 348 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Ohio-Indiana farm cooperatives to merge

Two farm cooperatives, Southwest Landmark and Advanced Agri-Solutions, will merge on Sept. 1 to form Trupointe Cooperative, a cooperative with an estimated $500 million in annual sales serving 4,300 members in 26 Ohio and three Indiana counties from Fort Wayne, Ind., to the Ohio River.

 “One of the biggest things is our strengths are very complementary of each other,” said Larry Hammond of Advanced Agri-Solutions, who will become Trupointe’s president and CEO.
 
Where Advanced Agri-Solutions sells more animal feed, Southwest Landmark does a greater share of work in agronomy and does a much more substantial business in propane and liquid fuels, he said.
 
Southwest Landmark’s Gordon Wallace, who will become executive vice president and chief operating officer of Trupointe, said combining forces in grain purchase and grain marketing also will give the combined cooperative more muscle in the market.
 
“The exciting part is that it’s good for our members, it’s good for our customers,” he added. “We don’t have to reinvent the expertise.”
 
Trupointe plans to locate its executive offices in Troy, near the centre of the combined territory.
 
Members approval
The merger was approved by 77.1% of Advanced Agri-Solutions voters and 82% of Southwest Landmark voters. A 60% yes vote was required in each area for approval.
 
“I’m very pleased,” said John Waymire of Clifton, a grain farmer and president of the Southwest Landmark board. “I think it speaks very well of management working well with employees” to explain the reasons for the changes — reasons employees in turn passed on to customers.
 
Waymire said the merger was driven by cooperatives’ need to become bigger players in a bigger agribusiness environment.
 
Managers will work until Sept. 1 to take care of the legal and financial details, build brand identity and decide how to blend the organizations and their staffs. No job cuts are anticipated.
 
The combined new Trupointe Cooperative will have annual sales of nearly $500 million with 45 facilities in 29 counties. It serves 4,300 members and employs 381 full-time plus 128 seasonal and part-time employees.
 
 

Dick Ziggers

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