to the editor
To the editor:
As an ag producer and one of the larger patrons of Cooperative Grain and Supply, I want to share a few personal thoughts on CGS merging with MKC. It has been a long hard struggle to come to this point, but I am very confident in supporting unification.
CGS is shrinking. We are losing a lot of grain to the Canton terminal, and our Canton location is taking in half of what it used to.
CGS is landlocked, and cannot grow. It has only two locations, Marion and Hillsboro, worth expanding.
We can’t replace Lyman Adams, who is retiring, at the same cost. It would take a lot more money to attract a new CEO, making the coop top heavy in administration costs.
I learned that 74 percent of MKC producers farm less than 900 acres, so they have to give good service to small and mid-sized farms.
CGS and MKC together likely will expand agronomy services, such as spraying and fertilizing, throughout the merged area.
Lack of competition will never be a problem. With Agri Trails to the north, Ag Service in the heart of our territory, and CPS on the western edge, there is more than enough competition.
With this vote, members have the opportunity to own part of the terminal at Canton and the new one being built in Sumner County instead of trying to compete with it and lose. We as CGS members can join a larger organization that has real political clout at both the state and federal level to keep our voice in agriculture strong.
We can unify with a coop on the cutting edge of technology that offers many programs and benefits that CGS cannot offer due to size.
There is a reason why MKC is a preferred partner of Cenex Harvest States and Land O Lakes. It would be highly disappointing to have the negative vote (that I am hearing) of the “coffee crowd” that has lowering equity in the business handicap the growth and equity security of the younger generation of farmers in the area.
Change is hard. Our fathers and grandfathers that unified the Lehigh, Hillsboro, and Marion coops had the vision and foresight to look beyond the length of their own arms and unify to create a progressive coop called CGS. After 50-plus years, it is time to do it again.
Matthew D. Voth