By Amy BickelKansas Agland

By Amy Bickel

Kansas Agland Mid-Kansas Cooperative and Frontier Ag have called off merger plans indefinitely. 

In a press release issued Tuesday night, representatives from both organizations confirmed directors have not been able to agree on all of the terms required to develop a merger document at this time. Any plans to resume discussions have been left open indefinitely. 

Dave Christiansen, MKC president and chief executive officer, said nothing specific sto the discussions. 

"Putting together merger agreements are challenging enough and then you add to that we are companies the same size. It adds an entirely different level of complexity. It's always more challenging when you have two successful companies."

He added that not only did both cooperatives need to construct an agreement they agreed on, but one that could be passed by both memberships by a two-thirds majority. Originally, officials expected the memberships to vote on the merger this spring.

The cooperatives announced last September plans to merge, saying the time was right and such a merger would increase relevance in the industry. 

"Enhancing our ability to attract, develop, offer career paths and retain good people; increasing our relevance in our industry and renewing our assets will continue to challenge both companies and our entire industry," Christiansen said. "I believe we will still have discussions to better prepare all of us to face these challenges and continue to asses the value that mergers deliver to our members. Whether or not discussions lead to mergers is unknown."

Frontier Ag, based in Oakley, has annual sales of $490 million. It is a full-service cooperative, offering grain, feed, agronomy, energy, and transportation products and services to about 5,700 members in eleven counties throughout northwest Kansas.

MKC, based in Moundridge, has annual sales are $450 million. It also is a full-service cooperative offering grain, feed, agronomy and energy products and services to more than 6,400 members in eleven counties throughout central Kansas, including Reno, McPherson, Harvey and Rice counties.

Meanwhile, MKC is currently expanding its operation Rice County with a new grain facility that includes three grain bins and a grain bunker. 

Also, Christiansen said that after a two-year study, the board of directors at Farmers Cooperative Association, Manhattan, selected MKC as their potential partner. The directors at this cooperative approved a merger agreement and their membership will vote on it March 6. 

MKC members do not need to vote on this merger. Christiansen said the Manhattan-based cooperative interviewed a number of successful cooperatives and selected MKC with which to merge.

Christiansen said the Farmers Co-Op board determined joining MKC would strengthen their company and deliver more value to their members.

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