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  • Northern Country Coop & Viafield

    Combining Resources, Building Strength!

Members Approve Unification

The farmer members of Northern Country Cooperative and Viafield, effective September 12, 2023, have voted in favor of the proposed merger of the two highly successful, agriculture retail companies.

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About Northern Country Cooperative

Northern Country Cooperative is a full service cooperative serving farmers since 1908. Our primary business is buying and selling grain, grain storage and drying, sales and services of seed, fertilizer and chemicals, feed manufacturing, and lumber sales. NCC has 12 locations serving Northern Iowa and Southern Minnesota.

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About Viafield

Viafield is a full-service farmer owned and controlled cooperative with a rich tradition and heritage that dates back to the late 1800’s. Today that tradition is continued as we strive towards fulfilling our promise to provide innovative products and dependable service. As a cooperative, Viafield now serves over 3,000 farming operations in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota.

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Our current Footprint

Our team members are the heart and soul of both cooperatives. With a presence in over twenty-five communities, our organizations not only assist producers with their needs, but also build and strengthen our local schools, churches and neighborhoods.

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Legacy Coop Founded • Viafield

Both cooperatives have a lasting legacy reaching back more that 100 years.

Legacy Coop Founded • NCC

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few answers to the most commonly asked questions regarding the consolidation.

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The boards of directors of Northern Country Cooperative, Stacyville, Iowa and Viafield, Charles City, Iowa have unanimously approved to bring the point of consolidation of the two cooperatives to a member-vote.

The agriculture industry continues to change at a rapid pace driven by the demands of the global marketplace and the need to keep up with evolving producers. Your board of directors desires to continue the success of your cooperative by partnering with a cooperative that has our shared vision for the future. Together, our cooperatives can:

  • • Proactively build a future cooperative for the next generation.
  • • Strategically fund and place long-term assets (Examples: equipment, facilities, etc.).
  • • Advantageously leverage the economies of scale of a larger organization.
  • • Purposefully attract and retain talented employees focused on our member-owners.
  • • Deliberately improve and innovate new customer service offerings.

Collectively. we will be a stronger cooperative that can continue to provide you fast service, innovative technology, and the best talent. Your board of directors actively seeks and explores opportunities, like this consolidation, to keep your cooperative relevant in the future.

Many answers to common questions are listed on this website. Please read the explanations and contact your board member or the general manager of your cooperative if you have additional questions. They are eager to share with you the intent behind this member vote. Additionally, you can submit questions through the form at the bottom of this website.

We will host a number of meetings across our geography for your convenience. Dates for these meetings will be posted at all our locations, as well as being communicated through a mailed letter, on social media, and in the updates section of this website. Please prepare your questions, come to these meetings, and cooperatively discuss the vision the board of directors have for preserving the equity of your cooperative while building a cooperative for the future. Topics to be addressed at the member-information meetings include:

  • • Reasons behind choosing a partner and pursuing a merger.
  • • Benefits attributed to the consolidation
  • • Overview of all cooperative assets.
  • • Voting protocols.
  • • Question/answer discussion.

This proposed partnership is a merger by consolidation. Through the diligence conducted by the boards of directors and cooperative management, the boards have determined these two cooperatives will bring equal value to the new cooperative in balance sheet strength, asset viability, and market geography. In a merger by consolidation, no cash exchanges hands and the operations of the two cooperatives are combined into a new organization.

A new name will be chosen by the board of directors for the new cooperative. The board of directors will choose a name that best represents and positions the new cooperative for future success.

Currently, Stacyville and Charles City house the administrative functions for the two cooperatives. Both locations will continue to be utilized for general administrative purposes.

Jason Schwenneker, current CEO of Northern Country Cooperative, will assume the role as Chief Executive Officer. Derrick Davis, current CEO of Viafield, will assume the role as Chief Operations Officer.

Northern Country and Viafield currently employ approximately 130 and 140 full and part-time employees, respectively. All employees will have employment in the new cooperative. As it currently stands within the agricultural industry, talent is very hard to obtain. Our goal is to retain every current employee through this process. As it stands we have numerous positions available and will continue to require additional talent going forward.

The consolidation study identified potential savings and benefits that can be realized in the areas of efficiencies, transportation, volume purchases, administrative costs, and improved utilization of equipment and people. A deeper explanation of savings and benefits attributed to this consolidation will be covered at the scheduled information meetings during the month of August.

Today, more than ever, producers have various means of price discovery and access to many markets. Producers are much more mobile and willing to travel further distances to do business than in the past. Also, with the influx of multi-national competition purchasing companies across our trade territory, the competition is not necessarily our next-door neighbor. In the employee study portion of this consolidation process, no-less than 25 companies were identified as competitors for each business unit in the consolidated geography. Our goal is to strengthen and advance the cooperative system in our marketplace.

No operational changes are planned with his unification. There is little to no overlap in territory, and we will continue to operate as we currently do. In recent years, both companies have made progress building new facilities as well as consolidating outdated facilities. This is a natural part of change in business and how an organization evolves with the times. You will see the new cooperative continue to invest in the appropriate places to build for the future.

Each board will appoint six directors to serve on the new cooperative’s board of directors. The new board will have a total of twelve directors. These directors will serve an at-large territory.

Each dollar of equity you hold in your cooperative today will be honored dollar for dollar in the new cooperative. The board of directors of the new cooperative will determine the future equity structure and distributions for the new cooperative.

The unification will not guarantee your equity is retired any faster than previous years. However, as the consolidated organization will operate more efficiently, the merged cooperative would be in a stronger position to retire patronage.

In Iowa, cooperative law states that for a member-vote to pass on a merger, 50% of all Class-A members must vote, and of those votes, a super majority, or two-thirds must vote in favor of the merger for it to pass. In other words, 50% of all Class-A members from Northern Country Cooperative and 50% of all Class-A members from Viafield must vote. Of those votes, both sides must achieve 66.67% votes in favor of the merger for it to become effective. Each Class-A member is allowed one vote in determining the future affairs of the cooperative.