4-25-19 - Members Approve Unification of Frontier Cooperative and Midwest Farmers Cooperative
Following a four-week voting period, Frontier Cooperative and Midwest Farmers Cooperative members approved the unification of their cooperatives. The unification of the two cooperatives will be effective September 1, 2019.
Frontier Cooperative passed the unification resolution with 69.30% voting Yes. Midwest Farmers Cooperative passed the unification resolution with 70.45% voting Yes. Each membership base met Nebraska’s state voting requirement for a successful cooperative unification as certified by independent auditing firm of Gardiner Companies.
“Approval of this unification of equals shows a strong commitment on the part of our members to grow the strength of the cooperative system for the future,” said Randy Robeson, General Manager of Frontier Cooperative.
Midwest Farmers Cooperative CEO, Jeremy Wilhelm was appreciative of the commitment shown to the unification process as well. “The Boards of Directors and employees spent a great deal of time analyzing this opportunity before presenting it to our members for a vote,” said Wilhelm. “The time taken by our members to understand what we were proposing shows their engagement and commitment to helping us be a better organization.”
The name of the unified cooperative has not yet been chosen. That decision as well as other work related to the integration of the two companies will take place over the coming months. Neil Stedman, Board Chair for Midwest Farmers Cooperative knows there is more work to be done. “We are planning an integration process that will enhance the future success of our operations. Over time, we hope to build on the strong business of each cooperative to continue to provide excellent services, technology and products to our members.”
As a unified company, Frontier and Midwest Farmers will operate approximately 50 grain, agronomy, energy and feed locations across 14 counties in East Central Nebraska.
“We’ve heard our members support the unification over the past couple of months and it will help position us strategically for the future in the state of Nebraska,” said Frontier Cooperative Board Chair, Greg Sabata. “Now we need to continue to grow and support our members as they compete in the marketplace.”
The unified cooperative will be led by current Midwest Farmers Cooperative CEO, Jeremy Wilhelm. The board will be made up of 18 directors, 9 from each cooperative. More information regarding the integration process will be made available throughout the summer.
About Frontier Coop
Frontier Cooperative has been proudly serving customers since 1915. Frontier is a full-service cooperative offering products and services in Grain, Agronomy, Feed and Energy. Facilities are located primarily in eastern Nebraska, with the home office located in Brainard, Nebraska. Frontier Coop prides itself on being a progressive leader in today’s agricultural world.
About Midwest Farmers Cooperative
Midwest Farmers Cooperative is a farmer owned cooperative operating 28 locations throughout southeast Nebraska. For nearly 100 years, we have provided value and services to help our patrons be successful. We are a full-service cooperative with products and services offered in Grain, Agronomy, Energy and Feed.
2/11/19-Press release from Midwest Farmers Cooperative Board of Directors:
After careful consideration, the Boards of Directors of Midwest Farmers Cooperative and Frontier Cooperative have approved and signed a non-binding Letter of Intent (LOI). By signing the LOI, the boards of Frontier Cooperative and Midwest Farmers Cooperative have unanimously approved proceeding with a study that will enable them to explore in more depth the benefits of unifying the cooperatives.
The challenges of global competition, changing technologies, increased compliance and regulatory mandates, as well as an overall increase in the cost of doing business have created a need to continue to evolve the two companies. To remain sustainable in changing times, certain levels of growth are sometimes needed to meet the challenging and evolving future.
Board Chairman for Midwest Farmers Cooperative, Neil Stedman, sees value in pursuing the project. “This unification study will help us understand if working with Frontier Coop will provide us with the opportunities we need to support our membership and grow in this business environment,” said Stedman. “We are part of a dynamic industry that is constantly changing, as a result we need to be examining opportunities than can ensure our long-term relevancy to our patron owners, employees and industry partners.”
By agreeing to the LOI, the two businesses will now focus on examining the merits of combining the two cooperatives.
“We are excited to explore this opportunity with Midwest Farmers Cooperative and the benefits it could bring to our membership,” said Frontier Coop Board Chair, Greg Sabata. “It is always important to bring growth to your business and be able to invest in your people and technology for better member services in the future.”
This unification of equals would potentially provide a solid foundation for the future and generate benefits for members, customers and employees in multiple areas. This includes strengthening member services, avoiding investment duplication and enhancing their ability to grow and compete.
The study phase or due diligence will begin shortly and is expected to wrap up later this spring. Once it is complete, the boards will assess the findings and determine if a unification would be beneficial to members of both cooperatives.
Members are encouraged to contact their Board members with any questions throughout the process.