Country Visions and Kettle Lakes Cooperatives pursue merger

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Breaking Ground for a new state-of-the-art agronomy facility!

This week, representatives from Country Visions Cooperative and Kettle Lakes Cooperative, along with several of the contractors involved with this project officially broke ground at the site located in the industrial park in Plymouth, WI. Weather permitting, larger equipment will replace the shovels next week as the construction process begins. A goal of completion in early 2018, puts this plant in operation before the spring planting season next year for the Cooperative.

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Reedsville, WI (April 14, 2017) The Board of Directors at Country Visions Cooperative and Kettle Lakes Cooperative have formally signed letters of intent to pursue a merger of the Cooperatives. Discussions started as an agreement between the two Cooperatives and their Agronomy divisions for a joint venture in a new facility, but developed into merger talks as the possible efficiencies were realized for all divisions within their operations.

Country Visions is a farm supply Cooperative operating in eastern Wisconsin and in the UP of Michigan. They have sales of $158 million from divisions including agronomy, grain, petroleum, propane and retail stores. Country Visions is also a 60% owner of CP Feeds which manufactures and sells over $146 million in feed to area farmers.

Kettle Lakes Cooperative is a farm supply in eastern Wisconsin currently operating just south of Country Visions trade area. Kettle Lakes sales of $40 million come from divisions including agronomy, grain, feed and retail. Kettle Lakes is also a 50% owner of Co-Energy Alliance, which sells petroleum and propane to area customers.

Under terms of the merger agreement, the Kettle Lakes Cooperative voting membership will vote on June 30, 2017. According to Country Visions CEO, Steve Zutz, if approved by the membership, the joint organization will begin business on September 1, 2017. “There will be membership informational meetings prior to the vote in June to discuss the specifics of the plan of merge,” said Zutz.

Both board members and management of the two successful Cooperatives feel the merger will enhance the value of the Cooperative to the membership. Better purchasing power and new joint operations will drive efficiencies for the business. The two Cooperatives have already announced the building of a new state-of-the-art agronomy facility in the industrial park in Plymouth, WI. This plant will enable the Cooperatives to continue to deliver the goods and services the customers have come to appreciate from their businesses.

What is a Co-op?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines a cooperative as a user-owned, user-controlled business that distributes benefits on the basis of use. Member users, or patrons, own and democratically elect the board of directors, which provides oversight of the co-op. Net earnings are distributed on the basis of proportional use, or patronage, rather than on investment.

Cooperative associations have been organized throughout history to carry out many different activities, often in response to economic and social stress. Cooperative organizations in the United States first appeared in the late 1700's and today co-ops can be found in all sectors of the U.S. economy. Consumer, purchasing and farm supply cooperatives are all organized to provide the specialized goods or services that their member patrons want to buy.

By combining member demand, a co-op can provide better availability, selection, pricing, or delivery of products or services to individual consumers, businesses or farmers. Farm supply co-ops cost-effectively supply input, fuel and agronomy services to farm business owners.