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Co-ops announce merger plans

Co-ops announce merger plans

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DURAND – Countryside Cooperative and Landmark Services Cooperative have agreed to move forward with a merger. Contingent upon a successful vote by the members of Countryside Cooperative, the merger is expected to take effect on March 1, 2021.

Members of both boards have determined that joining the resources of two long-standing, successful cooperatives will increase their competitive advantage in ever-changing local and global agriculture markets and drive increased value to members and employees.

During the last year, Landmark and Countryside have been engaged in detailed and focused discussions around the possibility and advantages of such a merger for members and employees. “As we focus on the benefits a merger could bring, we look forward to the potential of growing stronger together,” said Landmark Chairman Jim Lange.

The new cooperative’s headquarters will be located in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin. There will be an ongoing evaluation of positions that will likely result in new jobs as well as some consolidations.

Key impact areas of the merger:

  • Identification of up to $5 million in savings through combined efficiency and procurement opportunities, while safeguarding membership equities through capital asset management and rationalization, increased sales and lower operational costs.
  • Organizational stability and strength through financial improvements, gained efficiencies, increased sales, and investments in strategic growth initiatives.
  • Increased investment in employee development, training and growth to attract and retain talented employees.
  • Ongoing technology leadership to streamline operations, enhance efficiencies, increase productivity, offer members new ways to do business with the coop, and drive increased value back to members and their own operations.

“Our aim in this merger is to safeguard equities and drive value for our members, while continuing the tradition of service that has been a hallmark of Countryside since its formation,” said Countryside Chairman John Creaser.

The boards have unanimously selected Landmark CEO Jim Dell as the CEO of the new cooperative and are confident in his ability to lead the new organization to success.

Dell’s appointment will also help ensure continuity and stability in leadership throughout ongoing challenges in the agriculture markets and the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

Dell and Countryside CEO Frank Brenner will continue to work together after the vote to ensure that the unification of both cooperatives is a success.

For both cooperatives, this is another chapter in the long and storied histories of mergers and growth—one that is focused on making both cooperatives better for their membership. “Landmark and Countryside are committed to proactively facing the challenges in the marketplace and helping our members and employees thrive,” Dell said.

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