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Alceco, Cherokee coop pursuing merger
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Alceco, Cherokee coop pursuing merger

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Alceco - First Cooperative Association merger

An Ag Partners grain elevator and hub plant in Hartley, Iowa is shown. Ag Partners is a brand name of Albert City-based Alceco, which is pursuing a merger with First Cooperative Association of Cherokee. 

CHEROKEE, Iowa -- First Cooperative Association, a Cherokee-based cooperative grain elevator firm and Albert City, Iowa-based Alceco have decided to proceed with a combination. 

Alceco is best known by the name of its solely owned subsidiary, Ag Partners. 

The boards of directors of both firms voted unanimously in a joint meeting  Wednesday to move forward to the next phase of a proposed merger. Back in December, the boards voted to undertake a study to see if a merger would be beneficial for the firms, according to a joint press release. 

A final decision on the merger is expected by the end of June. Members will receive information describing the voting process via mail. 

The boards also named Troy Upah, the current CEO of Alceco, to be the CEO of the combined operation. Merle Lyons, the general manager of FCA, has been named COO of the merged organization. 

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Headquarters of the new firm are expected to be in Cherokee, with home offices maintained in Albert City. 

Charles Specketer, president of the FCA board, described the combination as a "merger of equals" in a statement. 

"By joining together, we will become the leading cooperative in Northwest Iowa, which provides significant advantages to our members. This merger will also enable enhanced benefits for employees, expand employee growth and development, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest team right here in our area," Specketer said in the statement. 

First Cooperative Association (FCA) is purportedly the oldest active cooperative elevator in the country, dating to 1887 when it was incorporated as Farmers Cooperative Elevator in Marcus, Iowa. FCA has 20 locations throughout Northwest Iowa. 

Alceco, which dates to 1905, operates 17 retail and wholesale agronomy outlets, grain/petroleum facilities and feed mills throughout the state. Alceco acquired full ownership of Ag Partners last year. Prior to that, Ag Partners had been a joint venture between Alceco and Cargill since its formation in 1997. 

Hear what Steve Nelson had to say ahead of his retirement as Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

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