Alden elevator to merge with northern Iowa co-op

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 12, 2002

The Alden Cooperative Elevator Company is no longer going it alone.

Tuesday, March 12, 2002

The Alden Cooperative Elevator Company is no longer going it alone. At their annual meeting on Saturday, March 9, co-op members voted by a wide margin – 123 in favor to 30 against – to merge with Northern Country Cooperative (NCC).

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The vote came after a series of informational meetings were held the end of February in Alden, Conger and Emmons, communities where the co-op operates elevators.

According to Dave Huper, board president for the Alden Co-op, the merger is not the result of any current problems or a lack of profitability at the elevator. But the board was wary that the agriculture and elevator market may tighten in the future. The hope is that with the merger, both companies will see increased profits and better chances for long-term survival, he said.

&uot;With this merger we become a little more competitive. We look at this as an opportunity,&uot; Huper said.

&uot;We plan on servicing our customers as we always have, only maybe we can provide them with a little bit more now,&uot; he added.

Becoming part of a larger company will benefit the local operations by decreasing costs related to management and bulk purchasing. The Alden Co-op will also avoid having to overhaul its feed processing facilities, since they will be able to take advantage of NCC’s more modern feed mills, said co-op officials. Both co-ops anticipate benefiting from the larger geographical area served.

Changes to operations at the local elevators in Alden, Conger and Emmons run by the Alden Co-op are uncertain at this point.

&uot;We don’t anticipate any cutbacks in employees, although there may be some shifting,&uot; Huper said. The shifting of personnel would result from the closing of the feed mill operations.

Huper also doesn’t foresee the closure of any facilities, although hours may be reduced temporarily as the merger takes place.

&uot;These changes will be something we evolve into. Everything should happen gradually,&uot; said Huper.

As part of the merger, the NCC board will expand from eight to ten members, with two members, Dave Huper and Jack Korman, appointed from the Alden Co-op. Members of the Alden Co-op won’t be losing any of the equity they have with the co-op now, but will receive a partial refund on equity they’ve earned, in order to equalize shares across the expanded NCC.

NCC operates out of its headquarters in Staceyville, Iowa. It has an Iowa branch in Toeterville, and in Minnesota, along with its new branches in Alden, Conger and Emmons, it also has branches in Adams, Brownsdale, Lansing, Lyle, Oakland, and Rose Creek.

The target date for finalizing the merger is July 31, 2002.