Merge agreement reached for farmer owned farm service cooperatives

Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 8:18 AM CDT
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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) - Two of the largest farmer owned farm service cooperatives in the state have agreed to merge. Yesterday the boards of Countryside Cooperative, headquartered in Durand, and Landmark Services Cooperative of Cottage Grove, near Madison, announced that decision. If approved by members of both co-ops, the merger is planned to take effect on March 1st, 2021 with the co-op's headquarters in Cottage Grove. The boards have also selected Landmark CEO Jim Dell to head the new organization. Countryside has more than 15,000 members in Wisconsin and Minnesota while Landmark has more than 11,000 members in Wisconsin as well as in Illinois and Iowa. The co-ops have not yet announced when meetings will be held to explain the merger to members or when a vote on the move will happen.

If the U.S. Senate’s latest proposed Coronavirus Relief package goes through, it will give Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue about $20 billion to help farmers as he sees fit. The $1 trillion proposal would make that $20 billion available for farmers but the plan doesn’t give the secretary any direction on how to spend the money. The House has already passed a new aid package but if any new legislation is going to pass both Houses of Congress and be signed by the president, it has to happen soon since the House is about ready to leave Washington for its annual August recess.

A new report called Wisconsin Farm Related Fatalities has just been released by the National Farm Medicine Center and the University of Wisconsin Extension Service. It’s the first such report in about a decade as the shortage of funds meant the Extension Service had to drop what was an annual report. In this new study, the numbers show that 41 people died in farm accidents in 2017-7 more than in 2018. Almost 30% of those deaths happened on public roads involving farm machinery. Our 2017 fatalities were almost 10% of the national death toll of 417.

The 2020 Eau Claire County Summer Showcase, which in normal times is called the county fair, continues today for mostly exhibitors and parents only. Judging today is for the poultry show at 9. Tomorrow they will judge beef, sheep and goats. Hog judging will be Saturday morning and dairy will be on Sunday.

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