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Nebraska co-ops to merge.

The boards of Central Valley Ag Cooperative (CVA) and United Farmers Cooperative (UFC) met July 1 to ratify votes cast by their respective member-owners, approving the merger of the two co-ops, effective Sept. 1, 2014. In a joint announcement, the two co-ops said the vote was "overwhelmingly in favor" of the merger. Nebraska law requires two-thirds of the votes to be cast in favor of such a proposal in order to be ratified.

The unified cooperative will retain the Central Valley Ag name and will be headquartered in York, Neb., with Carl B. Dickinson serving as CEO. CVA had sales of $687 million in fiscal year 2013 with a local net profit of $13.5 million. UFC had sales of $709 million in fiscal 2013, with a local net profit of $9.8 million. The combined co-op would have ranked as the 21st largest ag co-op in the nation in 2013.

The new CVA will consist of 66 locations across eastern Nebraska and northern Kansas with more than 800 employees. The cooperative offers a wide range of products, services, information and innovation through its agronomy, energy, feed and grain divisions.

"I am very pleased that the patrons of both cooperatives entrusted the vision and due diligence of their board members and leadership teams to approve their recommendation to merge two strong cooperatives focused on creating value for our customers," says Dickinson. "The new CVA will provide the opportunity for expanded services and facilities, increased savings and accelerated equity redemptions for the benefit of our member-owners. We also expect to be able to attract and retain the best employees."

Initial merger discussions between the co-ops began in early 2013, with the respective boards meeting in March 2014 to unanimously approve the merger plan that was later put to a vote by the members.

Doug Derscheid, current CEO of CVA, says that in his 44 years of cooperative employment, including 38 in CEO positions, he has witnessed many mergers and acquisitions. "But this one is undoubtedly the very best, in every measurement. Very exciting times are in our future."

CVA was formed in 2003 by the combination of Agland Co-op of Oakland, Central Farmers Cooperative of O'Neill, and Tri Valley Cooperative of St. Edward. CVA merged with Northeast Cooperative in 2005, adding nine locations, and later that year purchased the assets of Precision Agronomy LLC and continued business through their seven locations.

UFC was created in 2001 from the merger of United Co-op Inc. of Hampton, Farmers Cooperative Association of York, and Farmers Co-op Business Association of Shelby. In 2005, UFC acquired the Greenleaf, Haddam, Linn, and Washington locations in Kansas, with a number of other acquisitions being made prior to the current merger.

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Title Annotation:Newsline: Co-op developments, coast to coast
Publication:Rural Cooperatives
Geographic Code:1U4NE
Date:Jul 1, 2014
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