happen,” he added, citing the overlap of services cooperatives have provided to farmers and others in their respective geographic regions.
The newly merged cooperative will begin business Sept. 1. Its name will be determined by the Board of Directors. Six members from each of the current boards of Agri-Partners and Country Visions will govern the new cooperative. Districts will be established to ensure representation throughout the trade territory, which now will include all of northeast Wisconsin—from Door County to Sheboygan County and west of Ripon. Zutz said the cooperative even has a petroleum business in Marinette, Mich.
While serving the booming agriculture industry is still the biggest part of the cooperative’s business, the merger also expands the petroleum and convenience store reach of the expanded company. The new cooperative can service large petroleum accounts.
CTH E site expands
Agri-Partners’ facility at the intersection of CTH Eand STH 32/57 just north of Chilton is a beneficiary of the growth and modernization of the co-op. Zutz said Agri-Partners is in the process of closing the old and hard-to-access site in downtown Chilton and moving all those operations to the CTH E site. The co-op is in the finishing stages of constructing a large new office and shop building, and Zutz said the co-op’s feed business will be moved out there by July.
In addition, a 2 million gallon nitrogen tank at the CTH E site will manufacture all the 10-34-0 for the new cooperative. Also, a new 600,000-bushel grain bin is going in as well next to the convenient railroad access at the site.
The rapid changes and growth at Agri-Partners is in response to an agricultural industry which is growing worldwide. “We need to feed the world,” Zutz said. “Economies around the world are
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maturing. As economies mature, one of the first things people want to do is eat better. Our exports are supporting China, India and the Middle East. The U. S. grows corn better than anyone in the world. We’ve been pretty successful in increasing yields over the years through technology and inputs. We’re pretty bullish on the ag industry moving forward.”
As this new cooperative continues to serve area farmers and consumers, its corporate offices will move from Brillion to Reedsville. Bob Lowe, current Country Visions CEO, will serve as vice president of energy and retail until his retirement at the end of the year. Dennis Halbach will continue as the vice president of agriculture.
Equity in the new co-op will go in on a dollar for dollar basis. In other words, the amount of equity a person has in either Agri-Partners or Country Visions is the equity they will have in the new company. Anyone who has parked equity in both co-ops will be required to have $2,500 total parked in the new co-op. Equity in both co-ops will be paid up to 1999 and remain equal moving forward.
The new co-op also will combine its ownership in CP Feeds. CP Feeds is owned by both Agri-Partners and Country Visions as cooperative owners and the Loefer family. The new co-op will own 60.8 percent of the CP Feeds business.
The new cooperative will employ about 170 full-time and 150 part-time/ seasonal employees, and will have facilities of various types in about 20 communities.
Zutz said employees are excited about this next big step for the merging cooperatives. To the co-op’s members/customers, he said, “The board and employee group looks forward to remaining your preferred supplier of agronomy, energy, grain and retail products. Your co-op’s success depends on your success and together we can grow.”