North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) announced that they have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. The Boards of Directors of both cooperatives have unanimously approved the Letter of Intent, which enables the businesses to work closely together to finalize the agreement prior to a vote of the full membership of each cooperative.

North Central Farmers Elevator has 24 locations and fiscal year 2013/2014 sales were $733 million. Wheat Growers has 40 offices, and had fiscal year 2013/2014 sales of $1.5 billion.

The Letter of Intent is the product of careful consideration, analysis and evaluation conducted over a 10-month period. As noted by Wheat Growers Board President Hal Clemensen, “This is not a move that we have entered into lightly. We have been focused on ensuring a long-term pathway of success for our members and customers. This is the right decision at the right time for our stakeholders.”

“We are committed to generating member value,” added North Central Farmers Elevator Board President Richard Osterday, “and we believe this long-term strategic decision will strengthen and enhance the locally-owned cooperative system. We want to continue delivering quality products and services, innovation, growth and profitability for our members and customers.”

Looking at the increasingly global view of the competitive marketplace, North Central Farmers Elevator General Manager (GM) Mike Nickolas agrees that growth is vital to success and sustainability. “Our employees and members have built such a strong foundation. Both cooperatives are healthy, profitable and progressive. We now have an opportunity to leverage their hard work to create an even stronger, more sustainable business and marketplace footprint.”

Reinforcing the long-term vision, Wheat Growers CEO Dale Locken added, “This is all about smart growth, about moving forward, and about building a relevant locally-owned cooperative for the emerging needs of our membership. We want to ensure that our investments continue to create the resources needed for future generations of our cooperative members.”

Over the next several weeks, North Central Farmers Elevator and Wheat Growers will work to finalize the plan and communicate with members and other stakeholders. Several local member meetings are being planned in addition to other communications.

“Discussing the proposed agreement with our members is a top priority. We want to hear from our members and help ensure that they have the information they need,” noted NCFE GM Mike Nickolas.

Members of both cooperatives will vote on the proposal, currently planned for June.

“We look forward to visiting with our member-owners,” added WG CEO Dale Locken. “We have a strong vision for the future, and we are committed to discussing how this plan helps us get there.”