Kettle Lakes, Country Visions plan merger


KETTLE LAKES COOPERATIVE, which operates a store in Sheboygan Falls, has announced plans to merge with Country Visions Cooperative, based in Reedsville. The two cooperatives recently broke ground on a new state-of-the-art agronomy facility in the Plymouth Industrial Park. The facility is expected to be completed in early 2018. Taking part in the groundbreaking were (left to right) Josh Schladweiler (Kettle Lakes Agronomy manager), Bill Parsons (Parsons Bros Construction), Mark Mentink (Kettle Lakes Cooperative general manager), Steve Zutz (Country Visions Cooperative CEO), Dennis Halbach (Country Visions Cooperative director of agronomy), Evan Nickodem (VIA Rail), Dan Tenpas and Mike Soerens (De Troye Electric) and Mike Brantmeier (Brantmeier Electric). — Submitted photo KETTLE LAKES COOPERATIVE, which operates a store in Sheboygan Falls, has announced plans to merge with Country Visions Cooperative, based in Reedsville. The two cooperatives recently broke ground on a new state-of-the-art agronomy facility in the Plymouth Industrial Park. The facility is expected to be completed in early 2018. Taking part in the groundbreaking were (left to right) Josh Schladweiler (Kettle Lakes Agronomy manager), Bill Parsons (Parsons Bros Construction), Mark Mentink (Kettle Lakes Cooperative general manager), Steve Zutz (Country Visions Cooperative CEO), Dennis Halbach (Country Visions Cooperative director of agronomy), Evan Nickodem (VIA Rail), Dan Tenpas and Mike Soerens (De Troye Electric) and Mike Brantmeier (Brantmeier Electric). — Submitted photo The Board of Directors at Country Visions Cooperative and Kettle Lakes Cooperative have formally signed letters of intent to pursue a merger of the cooperatives. Discussions started as an agreement between the two cooperatives and their agronomy divisions for a joint venture in a new facility, but developed into merger talks as the possible efficiencies were realized for all divisions within their operations.

Country Visions is a farm supply cooperative operating in eastern Wisconsin and in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. They have sales of $158 million from divisions including agronomy, grain, petroleum, propane and retail stores. Country Visions is also a 60 percent owner of CP Feeds which manufactures and sells over $146 million in feed to area farmers.

Kettle Lakes Cooperative is a farm supply in eastern Wisconsin currently operating just south of the Country Visions trade area. Kettle Lakes sales of $40 million come from divisions including agronomy, grain, feed and retail. Kettle Lakes is also a 50 percent owner of Co-Energy Alliance, which sells petroleum and propane to area customers.

Under terms of the merger agreement, the Kettle Lakes Cooperative voting membership will vote on June 30. According to Country Visions CEO Steve Zutz, if approved by the membership, the joint organization will begin business on Sept. 1.

“There will be membership informational meetings prior to the vote in June to discuss the specifics of the plan of merge,” said Zutz.

Both board members and management of the two successful cooperatives feel the merger will enhance the value of the cooperative to the membership. Better purchasing power and new joint operations will drive efficiencies for the business.

The two cooperatives have already announced the building of a new state-of-the-art agronomy facility in the industrial park in Plymouth. This plant will enable the cooperatives to continue to deliver the goods and services the customers have come to appreciate from their businesses.


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