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As agriculture moves through cycles, it’s important that farmers have partners that are committed to their success. Particularly in times like now – when lower commodity prices, higher input costs and volatile land prices bring uncertainty – reliable, trusted credit and financial services expertise and resources are critical.

The Farm Credit System is a cooperative system established 100 years ago to do just that. Regardless of economic cycle, Farm Credit has stood beside rural communities and agriculture for the past century, helping to weather the storms they have faced. As a long-time member of Farm Credit through Badgerland Financial, I appreciate this commitment and expertise. As a farmer, I know they understand my business and are with me for the long-haul.

Just as I look for ways to improve yields and decrease input costs on my farm, three Farm Credit associations have evaluated an opportunity that has the potential to position their organizations to better serve their members today and in the future.

As cooperatives owned by their stockholders, the Boards of Directors of 1st Farm Credit Services, AgStar Financial Services and Badgerland Financial have collaboratively discussed and unanimously recommended a merger to their stockholders.

So what does that mean for farmers around here?

I wholeheartedly believe a merger of 1st Farm Credit Services, AgStar Financial Services and Badgerland Financial is about providing the very best products and services to farmers across the three states.

Because the three associations are all currently part of the Farm Credit System and partners in what they do today, the merger provides an opportunity to combine their values and commitment to rural communities and agriculture. Each association has a distinct chartered territory so farmers will have the same lending competition even after a merger. Together, the merged association would offer even more options and expertise, and have the opportunity to develop and leverage technology for farmers – to a degree much greater than any of the single associations can do individually. In the true spirit of collaboration, it’s the old adage that together we’re better. I’m excited about the approach Badgerland Financial is taking and I believe there is opportunity for my farm, and yours, through this collaboration.

Stockholders have received a disclosure packet with the specific information about the proposed merger. I encourage stockholders to review the disclosure closely and get answers to any questions before voting. Pick up the phone and call your board representative to discuss your thoughts.

The bottom line is that Farm Credit is committed to the success of agriculture, rural communities and most importantly, us – the farmers. This is a partnership. I think about this in terms of my relationship today with my loan officer. When we meet, he offers insights and guidance to help me reach the goals of my family’s farm. I believe the proposed merger matches the strides of all of us – constantly evolving and growing together to better our cooperative.

Mark Cade is the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Badgerland Financial

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