Equity Elevator and Trading Company of Wood Lake and Farmward Cooperative of Morgan to merge, effective Sept. 1.

Following a special meeting to count ballots for the proposed merger of Equity Elevator and Trading Company of Wood Lake and Farmward Cooperative of Morgan, the board of directors of Equity Elevator announced the merger was approved by their voting members. The merger will take effect Sept. 1.

In accordance with the Plan of Merger approved by the boards, a reverse triangular merger structure is being used. As part of that structure, only Equity Elevator members were required to vote. In order to approve the merger, Equity Elevator had to achieve a two-thirds supermajority vote in favor, as required by the state of Minnesota. They met that requirement with 86% of the votes in favor.

“The focus of Equity Elevator has always been to serve our farmer patrons with products and services that allow them to be profitable and successful,” said Les Sander, Equity Elevator Board Chairman. “The merger with Farmward allows us to continue providing that commitment into the future.”

As cited in the letter to members on June 14 benefits of the merger include economies of scale to improve operating efficiencies, expanded product offerings, improved access to capital, and opportunities for growth and advancement for employees.

“We are so pleased that Equity Elevator members have voted to unify the two cooperatives. Both Boards feel strongly that this merger will bring additional value to our members,” said Calvin Aarons, Farmward Board Chairman. “Farmward Cooperative has a proud history on which the foundation has been laid for building a promising future for generations to come.”

The name of the merged cooperative will be Farmward Cooperative and will be led by current CEO, Dave Stuk. Equity Elevator CEO, Rod Winter, will retire as previously planned.