Preliminary regulatory approval ok'd for credit merger

Wisconsin State Farmer
Badgerland Financial is one of three member-owned credit services looking to merge this year.

PRAIRIE DU SAC - 1st Farm Credit Services, AgStar Financial Services and Badgerland Financial have received preliminary approval from the Farm Credit Administration for their proposed merger.

This preliminary approval allows the organizations to move forward with the merger process. As member-owned cooperatives, the next step for the three organizations is a stockholder vote on the proposed merger.

Stockholders can expect to receive a disclosure packet with the specific information about the proposed merger in the near future, and each organization plans to have informational meetings to answer questions in March. All three cooperatives remain committed to keeping members, clients and stockholders informed of the process leading up to, and following a stockholder vote.

The merger proposal must be approved by each organization’s voting stockholders. For this purpose, each organization has called a special meeting of stockholders to be held in early April. If the stockholders of the three cooperatives vote in favor of the proposed merger, the planned effective date of the merger will be July 1, 2017.

Rod Hebrink, the President and CEO for AgStar Financial Services since 2014, will lead the proposed merged organization. Before that, Hebrink served as AgStar’s Chief Financial Officer for nearly 30 years, providing broad organization leadership to numerous functions during his tenure.

No offices to close

The headquarters of the proposed merged organization will be in Sun Prairie, WI. While geographically fairly central for the new organization, the proposed merged organization is committed to a decentralized operating structure. No local offices will close as a result of the merger.

The Board of Directors for the proposed merged organization will be comprised of 14 member elected directors and three outside appointed directors. If stockholders vote in favor of the merger, the new board will have equitable representation of board members in approximate proportion to the number of stockholders from each of the three areas.

As with all Farm Credit merger requests, the agency’s preliminary approval is subject to certain conditions, which will be described in detail for stockholders in the disclosure.

1st Farm Credit Services serves 42 counties in the northern half of Illinois, through its 16 local offices, with agricultural loans, risk management products and various services such as crop insurance, loan and lease options, as well as agricultural real estate appraisals.

AgStar Financial Services, ACA, headquartered in Mankato, MN, employs more than 550 full-time team members. The company is part of the national Farm Credit System and has a public mission to serve 69 counties in Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.

Badgerland Financial, headquartered in Prairie du Sac, WI., is a customer-owned financial cooperative that serves member-owners through offices in 33 southern Wisconsin counties.