Area cooperatives combine operations

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SALEM, Ohio – Member-owners of The Equity Exchange in Wooster; Medina Landmark; Town and Country Co-op, Grafton; and Agri Mark Farmers Co-op, Ashland; have voted to consolidate operations.

The conglomerate will operate under the name Town and Country Co-op beginning Jan. 1, 2003.

“Like a lot of things in agriculture today, our margins were squeezed. We found that the four operations had a lot in common as far as the same purposes and services,” said Al Holdren of Ashland, selected as CEO and president of the combined cooperative by the board of directors.

“We felt we would be more efficient all the way around in combination,” he said.

“By consolidating our cooperatives we expect our members, patrons and shareholders to benefit from the efficiencies of the combined operation,” Holdren said.

“This, in turn, will enable us to return profits in the future to our members through patronage refunds,” he said.

Affirmative vote. The proposal was approved by a composite affirmative vote of more than 70 percent of the cooperatives’ 2,000-plus members.

Others seated on the board of directors include David Conrad, Grafton, chair; David Eichelberger, Ashland, vice chair; Bobby Ternes, Elyria, secretary; Larry Alexander, Big Prairie; Rick Boreman, Burbank; Bill Boss, Burbank; Brian Cadnum, Hinckley; Jim Crocker, Valley City; Irvin Gresser, Sterling; and Earl Stitzlein, Loudonville.

In combination. When the cooperative begins combined operations, it will have a total work force of 180 employees in 15 locations. Combined sales are expected to be more than $70 million annually, with total assets of more than $32 million.

The new cooperative will continue to offer the products and services members and customers expect from the farm suppliers, including agronomy, feed, petroleum, farm machinery and 11 grain handling facilities.

In addition the cooperative has convenience stores in Elyria and Lodi, a full-service gas station in LaGrange, and three card-lock gas stations.

“At this point, there are no planned changes in the works. We’ll look at any changes that might need to be made as everything is put together and discovered at each of the facilities,” Holdren said.

The cooperative serves customers in Lorain, Medina, Wayne, Ashland, Richland, Holmes, Summit, Stark and Huron counties.

(You can contact Andrea Myers at 1-800-837-3419, ext. 22, or by e-mail at amyers@farmanddairy.com.)

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