Potential South Dakota Co-op Merger Would Produce Largest Ag Co-op in the U.S.
If approved by their combined 8,000 farmer-owners at this summer’s vote, the potential merging of South Dakota Wheat Growers (SDWG) and North Central Farmers Elevator into CentraGro Cooperative would result in the largest ag co-operative in the U.S.
Despite its name, SDWG produces mostly soybeans and corn, much like North Central, and after the completion of the merger, the new co-op would see annual sales slightly over $2 billion per year, according to Stephen Briggs, SDWG senior vice president of agronomy and corporate marketing.
SDWG has 24 grain elevators and 25 agronomy locations, which provide fertilizers, herbicides, management services and consulting to growers, while North Central has 14 grain elevators and agronomic sites. Under the proposed agreement all grain elevators currently operating will continue to do so. One of the biggest synergy benefits from the merger will be in the form of fuel cost savings. North Central sells fuel while SDWG, which uses about 2.5 million gallons per year to run its fleet, does not. The ability to source fuel at lower wholesale prices through North Central’s system, and being able to gain access to the retail sale of fuel will be a major benefit for SDWG.