On Monday, Growmark, Inc. and Southern States Cooperative publicized news that they will soon consummate a deal that “aligns the organizations operationally to yield increased innovation, growth, and returns for the farmer-owners of both cooperative systems,” according to Growmark’s press release. The transaction is set to close on September 1.
Growmark, an Illinois-based agricultural cooperative, provides “agronomy, energy products and services, as well as grain marketing and a variety of support services throughout North America.” It had annual sales of $8.7 billion in 2019. Southern States is a Virginia-based cooperative that “serv[es] retail and wholesale outlets across 21 states, providing a wide range of farm inputs including fertilizer, seed, livestock feed, pet food, animal health supplies, petroleum products, and various other items for the farm and home.”
In the proposed transaction, Growmark will acquire Southern States’ wholesale agronomy and fuels and propane assets, in addition to several retail locations in the mid-Atlantic states. For Growmark’s part, it will “provide crop inputs, fuels, propane, and a variety of customer support and marketing services to Southern States and its member cooperatives,” according to the company’s website. Southern States will continue to meet the need for customs solutions accessing Growmark’s suite of products and distribution capabilities.
Growmark’s CEO Jim Spradlin praised the acquisition in a statement. He said, “Growmark’s vision is to be the best agricultural cooperative system in North America, and this partnership enables our organizations to further that goal together.” Spradlin also remarked that the deal will benefit the companies’ customers, stating that “this combination of efforts is great news for farmers invested in our cooperative organizations.”
President and CEO of Southern States, Jeff Stroburg, mimicked the positive sentiments, commenting in a statement, “[w]e at Southern States are proud to partner with Growmark to extend our combined services to our members. Growmark is recognized as one of the premier cooperatives in the nation and Southern States is excited to partner with them in strengthening our capabilities to serve our customer-owners and our member cooperatives.”
According to CropLife.com, both companies are among the top ten largest agricultural retailers with Growmark ranking third, and Southern States eighth.