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Two Pacific Northwest Grain Co-Ops Merge

The Northwest Grain Growers cooperative located in Walla Walla, Washington, and Columbia County Grain Growers located in Dayton, Washington, have voted to merge their operations effective May 1.

The newly formed company, which will operate under the name, Northwest Grain Growers and be headquartered in Walla Walla, will serve approximately 1,700 member-growers under the leadership of Northwest Grain Growers’ general manager, Chris Peha. The company is expected to handle a combined volume of 30-35 million bushels of grain per year across its 37 locations, and four barge loading terminals on the Columbia and Snake rivers, generating gross sales of $200 million annually.

The merging of the co-ops has been under discussion by board member of both companies since February 2015 after widespread consolidation within the industry via mergers and marketing agreements have changed the source of grain delivered to Portland export terminals.

“In short, the size of your marketing deck impacts the price quoted for your grain by Portland exporters,” the Union-Bulletin reports that officials said in December in an online statement regarding the merger.

The consolidation will not only strengthen the co-ops’ marketing position, but will improve the company’s ability to provide more in depth grain marketing information and will mitigate the effects of planned retirements from key positions within the next few years.

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Lynda Kiernan is Editor with HighQuest Group Media and of the Oilseed & Grain News. If you would like to submit a contribution for consideration, please contact Ms. Kiernan at lkiernan@highquestgroup.com.

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