Co-ops agree to merger

Two agricultural cooperatives that serve areas of southern and central Indiana are merging.

The agreement between Jackson-Jennings Co-op and Premier Cos., also known as Premier Ag, creates a cooperative that spans much of southeastern Indiana and parts of Ohio and Kentucky, and a company of about $250 million, said Harold Cooper, chief executive officer and general manager of Premier Cos. Both cooperatives were formed by farmers in the 1920s.

Members, customers and the 200 employees are not expected to see significant changes, Cooper said. The headquarters of the two co-ops likely will be combined, he said.

The merger is an attempt to be more responsive to farmers’ needs, and gives the combined co-op a bigger footprint in southeastern Indiana, Cooper said.

“As they grow larger, they get more demanding. We need to follow suit,” he said. “They change. We need to change with them.”

Both co-ops have energy, feed, grain, crops and retail divisions, and little overlap of services, said Ron Sibert, chief executive officer and general manager of Jackson-Jennings Co-op. Jackson-Jennings has branches in Seymour, Brownstown, Cortland, Corydon, North Vernon and Salem, along with convenience stores, a fuel station, farm and pet store and grain elevators. Premier Ag serves customers in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky with branches in Franklin, Greensburg, Hope, St. Paul, Trafalgar and two fuel stations.

The next Premier Cos. board will be elected in March, with six directors from each company, Cooper said.

The merger will take effect Sept. 1.

Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at or 812-523-7051.