Changes in store for Clinton Farmers Coop
The Clinton Farmers Coop Association and its Butler location will soon have new names, after a merger with Custer City Farmers Coop goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2019.
The Clinton and Butler coops, as well as Custer Coop’s two locations in Custer City and Putnam, will collectively become Farmer’s Cooperative of Western Oklahoma.
Custer Coop’s general manager Jet Tharp, who will oversee all four branches when the merger takes place, said the move is being made in an effort to keep both companies strong.
“Neither company needed the merger financially. We’re just doing this to stay strong for the long haul, for the next hundred years,” said Tharp. “But you’ve got to grow in order to stay competitive. And we’re keeping local ownership, and we’re not merging with anybody out of state.”
He said the merger won’t affect jobs at any of the branch locations, so it’s only by coincidence that Clinton manager Marty Pyron will be retiring just when the merger goes into effect.
“There’ve been some people thinking that I’m firing Marty, but I didn’t have anything to do with it,” Tharp said. “Marty’s been there 38 years, first at Butler and then at Clinton. He’d already said he was going to retire before we even started talking merger.”
Richard Metscher, currently an assistant branch manager in Clinton, will take over for Pyron when he steps down.
In another coincidence, Tharp learned last week that Butler office manager Pam Spencer, who’s been in her position nearly 40 years, has also announced she’ll retire soon.
But he emphasized that the planned retirements aren’t related to the merger.
“Even though we’ll be officially managing all four branches, as far as what most people see there won’t be much change at all. Except now you’ll be able to use your fuel card at any of the four locations, and we’ll have more buying power.”
He hopes that the added buying power will save members money on other supplies as well, such as fertilizer, chemicals and feed. Additional advantages will include being able to maintain an active stock retirement, and in January $300,000 of stock will be retired.
And in an effort to make sure that the interests of both companies are fairly represented, Tharp said that following the merger there will be a nine-member board consisting of five members from the Custer Coop and four from the Clinton Coop.