Area farm cooperative members set to vote on amalgamation recommendation

HARRISTON – A merger between two local farm co-operatives is being recommended to members by the board of directors of both companies.

The boards for Huron Bay Co-operative Inc. and North Wellington Co-operative Services have decided to  recommend to the farmer-owners of the two organizations a blending of the two co-ops through amalgamation.

The merger “will better serve the co-operatives’ combined counties and regions,” states a March 17 press release announcing the decision.

The two agriculture-based 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. 

“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 North Wellington Co-operative Services board president Tim Summers.

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,” stated Ron De Visser, Huron Bay Co-operative board president. 

“As we work toward developing a recommendation on how best to merge business operations, it is also clearly understood that final decisions are controlled and governed by the member-owners of the co-ops. We look forward to communicating the great potential of this strategic direction at our members meeting.”

Special meeting April 7

A special meeting of members to present and vote upon the amalgamation proposal is set for April 7 at 7:30pm at the Mildmay-Carrick Recreation Centre. All members of both co-operatives are encouraged to attend and participate in the vote. 

Huron Bay Co-op provides agricultural related products and services to its 2,500 members and to rural residents in the counties of Bruce, West Grey and North Huron. 

North Wellington Co-operative Services provides agronomy, feed, consumer and energy products and services to more than 6,000 member customers and rural residents in north Wellington and south Grey and Bruce Counties from locations in Harriston, Mount Forest, Durham and Hanover.