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Ceres Solutions and Co-Alliance memberships approve merger

The merger, effective March 1, aims to change the agricultural and energy sectors across Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Illinois.

Keystone Coop Logo

In a landmark decision, the memberships of Indiana-based agriculture and energy cooperatives, Ceres Solutions Cooperative, Inc. and Co-Alliance Cooperative, Inc., have overwhelmingly voted in favor of a merger. The merger, effective from March 1, 2024, will result in the formation of a new farmer-owned cooperative called Keystone Cooperative, Inc. This merger aims to provide an unmatched customer experience and equip farmer-owners with the necessary resources to thrive in the future. Spanning across Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois, Keystone Cooperative will operate in four core divisions: Energy, Agronomy, Grain, and Swine & Animal Nutrition. With a workforce of over 1,700 dedicated team members and an estimated annual revenue of $3 billion, Keystone Cooperative is poised to make a significant impact in the industry.

A cooperative built for the future

The boards of Ceres Solutions and Co-Alliance have carefully selected experienced leaders to guide Keystone Cooperative. Kevin Still,  president & CEO of Co-Alliance, will assume the role of President & CEO of Keystone Cooperative. Jeff Troike, CEO of Ceres Solutions, will become the Executive Vice President, working alongside Scott Logue, the current Executive Vice President of Co-Alliance. Together, they will lead Keystone Cooperative towards a prosperous future.

"Keystone Cooperative brings together two financially strong, legacy-rich, and highly successful cooperatives," notes Kevin Still. "This historic merger creates a cooperative that is equipped to navigate the ever-changing markets of today's agriculture and energy industries. We are committed to maximizing efficiencies, capitalizing on technology, and enhancing the customer experience while preparing for the needs of our future stakeholders."

Jeff Troike adds, "Our membership has recognized the value of this combination, and we are looking forward to fulfilling our promise of a cooperative that is focused on the success of our members, the vitality of our rural communities, and providing an unparalleled return for our farmer-owners."

Expanding geographical reach and divisions

Keystone Cooperative's operations will extend across Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois, strengthening its position in the agricultural and energy sectors. The cooperative will be organized into four core divisions:

  • Energy division: Keystone Cooperative will provide a comprehensive range of energy solutions to meet the diverse needs of its farmer-owners and customers. This division will focus on delivering reliable, efficient, and sustainable energy products and services.
  • Agronomy division: With a deep understanding of the local agricultural landscape, Keystone Cooperative's Agronomy Division will assist farmer-owners in optimizing their crop production. From soil health management to cutting-edge precision farming techniques, this division will offer tailored agronomic solutions.
  • Grain division: Keystone Cooperative recognizes the importance of grain handling and marketing for its farmer-owners. The Grain Division will provide efficient and reliable grain marketing, storage, and transportation services to maximize profitability and minimize risk.
  • Swine & animal nutrition division: Keystone Cooperative acknowledges the significance of animal nutrition in modern farming practices. The Swine & Animal Nutrition Division will offer a comprehensive range of high-quality feed and nutritional products to support the health and productivity of livestock.

Leadership and collaborative synergies

The decision to merge Ceres Solutions and Co-Alliance was preceded by a thorough due diligence process and a successful joint venture named Endeavor Ag & Energy. This collaborative effort serves Central Michigan in the areas of agronomy, propane, and feed. The positive outcomes of this partnership have underscored the collaborative capacity of both cooperatives and paved the way for a successful merger.

Rick Brubaker, Chairman of Ceres Board of Directors, emphasizes the value of the merger and the potential for synergies. "Our partnership with the Endeavor business in Michigan showcased the collaborative strength of our organizations. We are excited to witness this team unlock even more synergies with our broader businesses."

Tim Burke, Chairman of Co-Alliance Board of Directors, affirms the merger opportunity, stating, "This merger is a testament to our shared vision and unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional value to our customers. Together, we will create a stronger, more resilient cooperative that will continue to thrive for future generations."

Headquarters and member benefits

Keystone Cooperative will establish its headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana, strategically positioned to serve its member-owners and customers across the four states. The cooperative's primary focus will be on providing outstanding customer service, efficient operations, and innovative solutions to meet evolving market demands.

As a farmer-owned cooperative, Keystone Cooperative will offer numerous benefits to its members. These benefits include access to cutting-edge technology, expert advice, agronomic support, competitive pricing, and a strong network of like-minded farmers. By leveraging the collective strength of its membership, Keystone Cooperative aims to empower farmer-owners and contribute to the long-term success of rural communities.

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