- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) - Two century-old agriculture cooperatives in the Dakotas with a combined membership of nearly 8,000 plan to merge this summer.

The South Dakota Wheat Growers and North Central Farmers Elevator plan to join and create a newly named co-op. Officials will work to finalize details of the deal in the coming weeks before a vote of each co-op’s members, likely in June. If approved, the merger could take effect as early as August.

“Our employees and members have built such a strong foundation. Both cooperatives are healthy, profitable and progressive,” North Central Farmers Elevator General Manager Mike Nickolas said in a statement. “We now have an opportunity to leverage their hard work to create an even stronger, more sustainable business and marketplace footprint.”

The Aberdeen-based Wheat Growers has more than 5,400 members in the eastern Dakotas. Ipswich-based North Central Farmers Elevator serves 2,500 members in north central South Dakota and south central North Dakota. Both have a history dating about 100 years.

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