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Two well-known upper Midwest agricultural cooperatives may soon come together under a new name.

East Central/Select Sires based in Waupun, Wis. and NorthStar Cooperative, Lansing, Mich., have signed an intent to merge. The artificial insemination cooperatives' board of directors reached a unanimous decision to work toward unifying the two business entities under the name CentralStar Cooperative Inc. 

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. Cooperative officials confirmed that once the merger is confirmed, service will continue as usual for patron members.

The goal in combining the cooperatives is to create even greater value for the membership and customers, according to the news release. This includes taking advantage of economies of scale where it makes sense; expanding resources and services available to customers, such as Dairy Herd Improvement (DHI) services and diagnostic testing; and removing the current business line in Wisconsin.

“The board is really excited about this potential merger,” said Paul Trierweiler, President of the NorthStar Cooperative board of directors. “Collaborating in strategic alliances is one element of NorthStar’s vision, which guides us into discussions like this one. The dairy and beef industries are changing rapidly, and the board believes becoming one cooperative creates a lot of opportunities to better serve all members and customers.”

Steve Abel, President of the East Central/Select Sires board of directors said employees will see advantages we well.

“By combining employee numbers from both cooperatives, we can use economies of scale in areas such as benefits, insurance, and technology," he said. "There will be more opportunity for career development, and with expanded services, employees will benefit from providing more value to customers.”

NorthStar Cooperative and East Central/Select Sires will follow their governing documents and conduct a vote of the common stockowners (NorthStar Cooperative) and delegates (East Central/Select Sires), to approve the merger. Voting will occur in early 2019.

Upon a positive vote, merging business operations will begin May 1.

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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