Northern Country Cooperative, Viafield pursue merger

Two Midwestern-based ag cooperatives have announced their intent to merge.

Jason Schwenneker, CEO of Northern Country Cooperative, says unification with Viafield would strengthen service and resources for farmer-owners.

“We started working together more than two years ago,” he said, “as far as the companies trying to outline and figure out where we have efficiencies together. A lot of this started around access to people and talent.”

According to a press release, the combined cooperative would serve over 4,700 farmer members across counties in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa, and Schwenneker tells Brownfield, “Farmers today worry about competition and say it can reduce a competitor,” he said. “I argue with every farmer I have about this that we are not each other’s competition. Our neighbor cooperatives are not our competitors. I argue the big A-B-C’s or big multi-nationals are our competition.”

He says the future unified cooperative would establish a new name with no significant changes to operations or employees. Member voting ballots and informational packets will be mailed at a later date with a final vote count expected in the fall.

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