We are extremely excited to announce that the Countryside Cooperative membership has voted in favor of the plan of merger between Landmark Services Cooperative and Countryside Cooperative. This merger will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. CST on March 1, 2021.
Some of the ways that this merger will benefit members of both coops include greater financial stability and strength to safeguard members’ equities, identification up to $5M in savings through combined efficiencies and procurement opportunities, and the ability to make ongoing investments in strategic growth initiatives. In addition, we will improve our ability to attract and retain talented employees and strengthen our technology leadership to streamline operations and improve the experiences of our members.
The new cooperative will serve more than 26,000 members, employ over 800 people (includes full-time, part-time and seasonal), and generate annual sales in excess of $600M. The combined organization will be headquartered in Cottage Grove, WI, and the cooperatives will continue to maintain operations and staff at multiple locations.
Going forward, this merger will help us secure a positive long-term future amid rapidly changing market dynamics, and carry out our mission to advance our customers through innovative and responsible solutions.
For additional details on the merger, please review the questions and answers below. The FAQ is broken up into multiple categories, including:
- Equity and Patronage
- Products and Services
- Leadership (CEO and Board of Directors)
- Locations and People
- Policies, Corporate Bylaws and Voting
- General Questions
If you do not see your question listed, please do not hesitate to use the ‘Submit a Question‘ feature on this website.
Last Updated 7/27/2020
Q: Is this a merger or acquisition by either cooperative?
This is a merger between Countryside Cooperative and Landmark Services Cooperative. Both organizations are viable and are strong cooperatives and have equity in the new organization.Both Landmark and Countryside agreed to slow the pace of the merger exploration to focus on maintaining operations and business continuity. As an essential business, it is important that we remain open and continue to support our members and customers by providing them with the products and services essential to their success. For more information on the impacts of COVID-19 and the ‘Safer at Home’ order, we encourage you to read the joint statement regarding the impact,
Q: Why are the two cooperatives merging?
We owe it to our members and employees to strengthen their local co-op and safeguard equities. Our merger will increase our competitive advantage in ever-changing local and global agriculture markets and drive increased value to our members and employees.
Q: Why did you choose each other as merging cooperatives? Why not a different cooperative instead?
Both Countryside Cooperative and Landmark Services Cooperative share many similarities and merging into a single cooperative was a natural fit. Our cooperatives share the same mission, vision and values, have very similar cultures, care about our members’ success, and are tightly aligned with our core businesses.
Q: When will the merger take effect?
When approved, the merger will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. March 1, 2021
Q: Will the coop have a new name? If so, what will the new name be?
Immediately upon a successful vote, we’ll begin the process to establish a new trademark, name and brand for the new cooperative. The intention is to have the name finalized within the first six months after the effective merger date.
Q: Why should I vote “Yes?”
Members of the Countryside and Landmark Board of Directors strongly believe that combining the resources of our two storied cooperatives will bolster our competitive advantage in the local markets, secure a long-term future amid rapidly changing market dynamics, and protect our members equities. For these reasons Countryside’s Board of Directors and Landmark’s Board of Directors strongly recommend that our Countryside members vote ‘YES’ and confirm this merger and for Landmark members to fully support the unification.
Q: How will this merger benefit me?
- Increased size and scale results in considerable procurement savings through increased purchase volumes. It also provides negotiation opportunities with our product partners and vendors with the opportunity to pass cost savings back to our members.
- Provides increased grain marketing opportunities.
- Able to offer our members expanded input financing options.
- Allows us to retain and attract the best employees.
- Increasing the value provided to our members by maximizing and utilizing our combined talents across all geographies while we continue to refine our solution offerings and service delivery capabilities.
- Allows us to leverage both cooperatives’ strong asset bases, focus on upgrades and improvements, and retire the aging and most costly and underperforming assets.
- Improved logistics to reduce product delivery issues (including agronomy, energy, grain, and animal nutrition) and minimize potential inventory shocks. Increases our opportunities to leverage river (Illinois, Mississippi), rail (CP, CN, UP) and truck transports for all divisions.
- Provides the opportunity to consolidate, fully utilize, and deploy new technologies that create greater efficiencies, optimize decision making, and improve our members’ experience and how they wish to do business with us.
- Offers our members a better “seat at the table” to be included in more national meetings and discussions as they’re positioned as a member-owner of a top cooperative group.
- Lowering operational and product costs, and introducing efficiencies, will result in a more stable and profitable cooperative, which translates directly to member patronage and the safeguarding and retirement of equities.
Q: How will you communicate the voting results to members?
When the merger is approved, we will send out a communication to our members and customers advising them of the results of the vote. In addition, the voting results will be posted on this website as well as the websites for Countryside Cooperative (www.countrysidecoop.com) and Landmark Services Cooperative (www.landmark.coop).
Q: Why did it take so long between the initial exploration and the announcement of the merger?
The board of director’s for both cooperatives wanted to make sure the exploration process was as thorough and complete as possible and that we completed all of the necessary due-diligence in analyzing all aspects of the merger. In addition, both Landmark and Countryside agreed to slow the pace of the merger exploration to focus on servicing our customers during busy agronomic times and to maintain operations and business continuity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q: Where and when will the annual meeting be? Will there be more than one?
This has not been decided, but likely there would be two meetings.
Q: Why aren’t Landmark members required to vote?
It was determined that a reverse triangular merger was best for both organizations as it simplifies the merger process and reduces overall costs for the unification. In a reverse triangular, only one member base of the two cooperatives is required to vote.