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Daily News Editorial – Great Lakes Co-op, Green Plains merger a good deal

By Staff | Feb 6, 2008

Call it a merger, buyout, takeover, what have you, the agreement reached Monday by more than 80 percent of Great Lakes Cooperative members was great news for the entire membership.

What members approved was a vote of confidence in the future. The direction of agriculture is clearly becoming more and more related to energy. In fact, as far as a lot of people are concerned, agriculture is energy.

The nod of confidence that Great Lakes Cooperative members gave the merger though was far more than that. It was a way of embracing a more sophisticated technology that has become the hallmark of Iowa agriculture.

Contrary to rumor, business will continue as usual for the elevator side of the business. What Green Plains Renewable Energy is primarily interested in is the same thing that farmers are interested in — a reliable market for their corn. Similarly, farmers will have a reliable buyer. But the elevator side is a well-run business, and as the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Members will continue to have the convenience of a full-service cooperative. They will lose nothing. But they will gain a steady buyer for their corn.

The benefits go beyond that. Green Plains has indicated that it will make wet distillers grains available to area cattle producers. That will benefit beef and dairy operators who need the grains as a lower-cost feed alternative.

Understandably, some members are reluctant to change their way of doing business. It does take a leap of faith to change the way you’ve run your operation for decades.

But Great Lakes Cooperative members did exactly that. Assisted by some pretty well-educated planning, they took a leap of faith in future.

As a result, that future will be brighter for everyone.