Landmark Services Cooperative and Countryside Cooperative announce merger

Grace Connatser
Wisconsin State Farmer
Jim Dell is set to be the CEO of the new cooperative following the merge between Landmark Services and Countryside cooperatives.

Landmark Services Cooperative and Countryside Cooperative said they intend to merge into one group, taking effect next March.

The Countryside Cooperative board is expected to soon pass a vote to merge, while Landmark has already passed the vote. A press release said the merger will increase their "competitive advantage" in agricultural markets and create increased value for their members.

The boards unanimously chose Jim Dell, current CEO of Landmark Services Cooperative, to be the new CEO of the merged cooperative. He and Countryside CEO Frank Brenner will work alongside each other to ensure a smooth transition, the release said.

"Landmark and Countryside are committed to proactively facing the challenges in the marketplace and helping our members and employees thrive," Dell said.

The release said Landmark and Countryside have discussed a merger for the past year, which is expected to provide new jobs while also introducing consolidation. The new headquarters will be in Cottage Grove.

The merger will save $5 million through increased efficiency and lowered operational costs while protecting membership equities, the release said. It will also create organizational stability, increase sales, invest in employee training and improve productivity.

"Our aim in this merger is to safeguard equities and drive value for our members, while continuing the tradition of service that has been a hallmark of Countryside since its formation," said Countryside Cooperative Chairman John Creaser.

Countryside Cooperative was established in 1907 and has served more than 15,000 members and 500 employees in Wisconsin and Minnesota, while Landmark has operated for over 85 years with 11,000 members and 275 employees in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa.