Wheat Growers forms link with Iowa, Nebraska cooperatives

Farm Forum

Wheat Growers officials say they are forming a new cooperative with two other co-ops for collaboration on ideas and best practices.

Consolidated Ag Solutions Cooperative Inc. is the name of the partnership among Wheat Growers, Central Valley Ag of York, Neb., and Farmers Cooperative of Ames, Iowa, according to a statement on the Wheat Growers website.

The announcement comes nearly three months after a failed merger attempt between Wheat Growers and North Central Farmers Elevator.

But, according to the news release, Consolidated Ag Solutions does not represent a merger of the three organizations.

Instead, it says, the new co-op expands the concept started by farmers to join together to pool resources for the benefit of members. The three groups “have developed an innovative Cooperative to bring new opportunities to the three cooperatives and their member-owners,” according to the statement, and is not intended as a buying group.

“Wheat Growers has a rich history of looking ahead to ensure that we are able to strategically meet the needs of our ever-changing members,” Wheat Growers CEO Dale Locken said in the release. “We believe that by collaborating with FC and CVA, we will have innovative solutions to common opportunities, providing greater benefits to our members.”

Steve Briggs, Wheat Growers’ senior vice president, agronomy and corporate marketing, said he couldn’t add to the information in the news release.

Others with Wheat Growers also referred to the news release or did not return calls from the American News.

According to the release, one employee will be employed at Consolidated Ag Solutions Cooperative to collaborate and be the liaison between the three cooperatives. Robert Dude has been hired to be the CEO. He began his role on Aug. 3. According to LinkedIn, Dude has worked for Land O’Lakes, Merial and American Cyanamid.

Dude’s wage will be split among the three cooperatives — as will any costs associated with researching solutions to common opportunities that will benefit each cooperative. There will be no hard assets tied to CAS, according to the release.

There will also be a board of directors that will set the policy and strategic direction for CAS that will be made up of representatives of all three cooperatives.

According to the Nebraska secretary of state’s website, Consolidated Ag Solutions Cooperative Inc. was registered in Nebraska on July 15. There is no principle office address for the business on file, and the registered agent is Carl Dickinson, CEO of Central Valley Ag.

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• Wheat Growers is a grain and agronomy cooperative based in Aberdeen with more than 5,000 active producer members and an additional 12,000 equity holders.

• Central Valley Ag Cooperative is a member-owned farmer’s cooperative located in Nebraska, Kansas, and Iowa. It has 850 full-time employees.

• Farmers Cooperative is one of the largest farmer-owned agriculture cooperatives in Iowa. It serves more 5,300 members and has 400 full-time employees.

Source: Wheat Growers news release