Ontario ag retail co-ops propose merger


The boards of directors for Huron Bay Co-operative Inc. and North Wellington Co-operative Services have put a recommendation forward to its farmer-owners to “blend” the co-ops through amalgamation.

The two agriculture-based Ontario co-ops are working on a strategy on how best to merge business operations, governance, finances, assets, departments, and markets to “explore further opportunities that will strengthen their competitiveness and member-services,” according to a press release.

The two co-ops will be seeking member approval at special meetings in late March. Once approved, amalgamation would take place on September 1, 2020.

“As co-operatives, and as neighbours, we already share a number of common goals. We exist to serve our members; we’re owned and controlled by the people we serve, and we strive to provide the best agricultural and rural services in our market territories,” says Tim Summers, North Wellington Co-operative Services president.

Together the two co-ops have a combined membership of more than 8,500 farmers and rural residents, and more than 75 years of experience serving Huron, Bruce, Wellington and Grey Counties.

“In today’s competitive climate, we feel it is prudent to explore our options to maintain and enhance our services to members and opportunities for employees while making the most of our resources,” says Sam Luckhardt, Huron Bay Co-operative president.

Both co-operatives are shareholder-owners of Growmark, Inc. and market products and services under the FS retail brand.

Huron Bay Co-operative Inc. provides agricultural related products and services in Bruce, West Grey and North Huron counties. North Wellington Co-operative Services provides agronomy, feed, consumer and energy products and services in north Wellington and south Grey and Bruce Counties from locations in Harriston, Mount Forest, Durham, and Hanover.

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