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Shrinking Farm Incomes Prompt Consolidation

Associated Press - April 4, 2016 8:50 am

Shrinking farm incomes are putting pressure on Kansas farm co-ops to merge as a way to help producers cut their costs.

The Farmers Cooperative Elevator in Garden Plain will vote in about six weeks on whether to merge with co-ops in Anthony and Kiowa. Andale Farmers Co-Op voted in December to merge with Kanza Co-op in the Pratt County town of Iuka.

Kansas State University professor Brian Briggeman says the number of co-ops in Kansas has fallen from about 350 in 1950, to about 80 today.

Kanza Co-op CEO Bruce Krehbiel says the latest round of mergers won’t be the last because bigger co-ops can increase efficiencies and lower costs.

Krehbiel says there are limits to the economies of scale, but those haven’t been reached.

Associated Press information from: The Wichita  Eagle