Lamont Grain Growers Merges with Ritzville Warehouse
Based in Lamont, WA, company offers 1M bushels/year
Lamont Grain Growers, Lamont, WA, will officially become part of Ritzville Warehouse Co., Ritzville, WA, on July 1 according to a report at The Lewiston Tribune. The merger follows approximately five years of consideration.
"We were one of the smallest grain companies left in the state," said Jim Fuhrman, general manager since 2001.
Members of Lamont Grain Growers returned a vote of 93% in favor of the merger in early February.
Lamont once had 30 producers, but is now down to 18. They have 130 members, including landowners who are spread all over the nation and the world.
As farms have grown bigger, membership in the company has declined. Although small, Lamont Grain Growers remained profitable.
"It's not like we had to merge," Fuhrman said.
Fuhrman said it is a good way to get into a bigger company that will provide better marketing opportunities for the farmers. In return, Ritzville Warehouse gets a solid, financially sound company with facilities in good condition and 1 million bushels per year.
According to Fuhrman, there should not be much change as the employees will remain. He plans to remain manager until he retires in a few years.
Ritzville Warehouse will create a Lamont district board position.
Lamont Grain Growers has facilities at Lamont and Revere. It was founded Jan. 4, 1930, with E.A. Shields as the first manager, earning $75 a month.
The facility at Revere originally was purchased in 1932, jointly with Sprague Grain Growers. In 1947, Lamont bought out Sprague's half-interest.
Ritzville Warehouse Co. was formed in 1893, making it one of the oldest farmer-owned grain cooperatives in Washington. It has merged with Benge Elevator Co., Washtucna Grain Growers, LaCrosse Grain Growers and Odessa Trading Co., the last two in 2000.
It also bought a number of grain facilities from United Grain Growers. Its current grain operations include 22 operating facilities in five counties.