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Stock owners and delegates have voted in favor of merging East Central/Select Sires and NorthStar Cooperative cooperatives together.

The development comes two months after the board of directors for East Central/Select Sires, based in Waupun, Wis., and NorthStar Cooperative, Lansing, Mich., announced reaching a unanimous decision to work toward unifying the two business entities under the name CentralStar Cooperative Inc.

“We appreciate our members’ votes of confidence in this merger,” said Paul Trierwieler, NorthStar Cooperative board president in a news release. “As CentralStar Cooperative, we have more than 150 years of combined experience serving the dairy and beef industries in the Midwest. Joining two organizations which are financially strong, customer-focused cooperatives better positions CentralStar to establish the next generation of integrated services that are necessary in today’s market for farm profitability.”

East Central/Select Sires Board of Directors President Steve Abel said the next step is for employees and management staff to iron out logistics in preparation for the May 1, 2019, merger date.

"Inventory organization, delivery, accounting, communication, customer care, and employee benefits are just a few of the areas in discussion," Abel said. "This process is difficult, but will be very rewarding, so please have patience with our team during this transition.”

Currently, NorthStar Cooperative serves dairy and beef producers in northern Wisconsin, Michigan, and north of U.S. Highway 50 in Indiana. East Central/Select Sires serves dairy and beef producers in southern Wisconsin. There is no overlapping territory between the two cooperatives, so once the merger is final, service will continue as usual for patron members.

Cooperative officials say combining cooperatives will create even greater value for members and customers. This includes taking advantage of economies of scale where it makes sense; expanding resources and services available to customers, such as Dairy Herd Information (DHI) services and diagnostic testing; and removing the current business line along State Road 21 in Wisconsin.

CentralStar will focus on enhancing producer profitability through integrated services, providing Accelerated Genetics, GenerVations, and Select Sires genetics; extensive artificial-insemination (A.I.) technician service; genetic consultation; reproduction services; DHI services; diagnostic testing; herd-management products; research and development; and more. All current business locations will remain open for the foreseeable future.

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