As export markets for Iowa ag products become increasingly important for local rural communities, an approved unifcation between Mid-Iowa Cooperative, Conrad, IA, and East Central Iowa Cooperative (ECIC), La Porte City, IA, will create new opportunities to help area farmers thrive in today’s global economy.
“Every new growing season creates new beginnings, and that’s especially true this year,” says Mike Kinley, CEO of Mid-Iowa Cooperative. “This merger will help us maximize new opportunities to become the local partner in modern global markets.”
ECIC approached Mid-Iowa in early 2019 about a potential merger. On April 3, more than 90% of members of ECIC approved the proposed merger with Mid-Iowa Cooperative. Nearly 60% of eligible ECIC members voted.
“It was time to partner with a company that has a vision for the future and builds long-term relationships based on trust,” says Mike Reiter, ECIC board president. “We found a like-minded partner in Mid-Iowa Cooperative.”
With locations in Cedar Falls, Hudson, La Porte City and Jesup, ECIC has access to one Class 1 mainline railroad (Canadian National) via its rail-loading facility at Cedar Falls. It has rail access on the Iowa Northern Railroad via its La Porte City facilities, which can also load grain and unload liquid propane.
“Mid-Iowa currently has no rail-loading facilities, so being able to ship grain by rail and receive liquid propane is a big beneft,” says Bob Hogle, Mid-Iowa board president. “These assets can open up Mid-Iowa’s grain marketing options and enhance our growing energy business. ECIC’s successful feed business represents another opportunity to add value to the grain Mid-Iowa originates from its members.”
Now that the merger has been approved, the new company will retain the Mid-Iowa Cooperative name and will be headquartered in Conrad. Advantages of the unified cooperative, which also includes locations Beaman, Haverhill, Gladbrook, Green Mountain, Liscomb, Whitten and Holland, Iowa, include:
- Combined cash flows that will allow for larger investments in modern facilities and equipment
- Ability to attract and retain top talent to serve members throughout our trade territory
- Ownership that will continue to belong to local farmers
Although agriculture has experienced a sustained economic downturn in the last few years, standing still is not a viable risk-management strategy, Kinley says.
“We want to remain relevant and position Mid-Iowa for the future," he says. "Unifying with ECIC offers a way to strengthen both companies while focusing on our core values of staying connected to our local area, helping farmers and rural communities thrive, and building lifelong relationships through understanding and trust—one day at a time.”