IPSWICH and ABERDEEN, S.D – The member-owners of North Central Farmers Elevator and Wheat Growers have each voted to approve the unification of the two cooperatives.

The North Central Farmers Elevator members voted for the proposed unification 911-657. The Wheat Growers members also voted for the proposed unification, 1598-954. With this vote, the new cooperative is expected to begin operations effective Feb. 1, 2018. Until the effective date, each cooperative will continue to operate independently from the other.

“We listened to our members and it was based on their comments that we brought this to a vote of the membership,” says Rick Osterday, North Central Farmers Elevator Board President. “We’re pleased that they concluded that the unification of both cooperatives can bring additional value to members and ensure the long-term relevance and viability of a unified cooperative. We want to thank them for their support and participation in this important part of cooperative governance.”

“This is a merger of two financially strong, legacy-rich cooperatives,” said Wheat Growers Board President Hal Clemensen. “Our mission now is to seize this opportunity to build a new, even stronger cooperative better able to serve our member-owners. As we go forward, we will create new efficiencies, take advantage of new technologies and continue to build a strong employee team – all in order to create more value for our members.”

The member voting period began Aug. 29 and followed a series of member information meetings that were held throughout the region beginning Aug. 21. Members cast their ballots through Sept. 28. All ballots submitted were verified by Eide Bailly, the third-party audit firm administering the vote.

The focus of the two cooperatives now turns to planning integration efforts, including developing a name for the new cooperative.