Agricultural Cooperative Council of Oregon

Washington State Council of Farmer Cooperatives

 

Frequently Asked Questions on Proposal to Merge Associations

  • Why are ACCO and WSCFC Boards proposing merger?

Potential merger between the state councils has been an intermittent conversation for more than 15 years.  As co-op mergers and acquisitions reduce the number of agricultural cooperatives, those consolidations create a more concentrated base of potential members.  To continue to improve the manner in which the councils serve the members, it makes sense to consider one organization to serve the needs of members in two states, because there is a high level of overlap of membership in the state organizations.  The result of merger will be a higher level of cooperative education services, better coordination across state lines, and overall a more consistent delivery of programs and services.

  • Initially, Idaho Cooperative Council was involved in the conversation. What happened?

Yes, the Idaho Cooperative Council was involved in earlier conversations about a merger, including this one.  During a meeting of a committee of representatives from Idaho, Oregon and Washington in March, Idaho decided to back away from the conversation.  Its reasons were that the Oregon and Washington co-op council organizations, state politics and diversity of co-ops were more similar than Idaho, making merger between the two states a potentially smoother process.  Idaho, and perhaps other states in the region, may be interested in considering merger in the future. To facilitate that, Oregon and Washington are hoping to form a combined organization that can easily include others in the future, if they wish to join.

  • What is the proposed name of the new organization?

The proposed name of the new organization is: Northwest Agricultural Cooperative Council (NACC).

 

  • What is the financial health of ACCO and WSCFC? Is this a cost-savings effort?

Yes, both organizations are financially strong at the moment, with combined reserves of approximately $370,000 (ACCO-$167,000 and WSCFC-$202,000).  Over time, as mergers and acquisitions of co-ops continue, there will be a point in the future when the combined membership base of the two organizations will decline.  More than a cost savings effort today, merging ACCO and WSCFC is more about preparing for the future.

  • In which state would the surviving entity be organized?  

The surviving entity is suggested by counsel to be the Washington nonprofit corporation.  Administrative and other costs would be similar for either state, but Oregon income tax could apply to the executive director under contract or as an employee, regardless if they resided in Oregon, if the nonprofit was organized in Oregon.  If the new entity is a Washington non-profit then a future Washington resident executive director may not be subject to Oregon income tax. 

  • How are my dues going to change?

Dues for the new organization will be different than either ACCO or WSCFC.  ACCO members’ dues will generally increase and WSCFC member dues will generally decrease, in order that all members would pay on an equitable basis.

Here is the committee preliminary dues structure:

Annual Sales Dues
< than $7.5 million $1,000
$7.5-$15 million $2,000
$15-25 million $3,000
$25-$50 million $4,000
> $50 million $5,000
Regionals $8,000
Regionals with local affiliates in OR & WA $12,000
Associates $500
Individuals $300

 

Because ACCO member dues will increase, it is recommended that a transitional dues structure of 80% for year one, 90% for year two, and 100% for year three and thereafter be adopted for Oregon-based cooperatives.  Regional member dues will be set at 100% from year one forward.

  • What happens to the money each council currently has in savings?

The combination of ACCO and WSCFC is a true merger, which would result in combining of bylaws, operations and bank accounts.  ACCO and WSCFC’s reserves would become the reserves of NACC, the surviving entity.

 

  • Will the current activities supported by each council change?

Essentially, the core functions of ACCO and WSCFC will remain the same, that is to provide cooperative education and public affairs support for co-ops.  However, ACCO has a more robust co-op education thrust that includes FFA and collegiate programs.  It is envisioned that these programs would be extended to cover Washington, as well.

 

  • Will we continue with the joint annual meeting (including Idaho) in November?

Yes.  The Northwest Regional Cooperative Institute, the meeting currently coordinated by ACCO, ICC and WSCFC would continue.

 

  • Will there be an equal number of board members from each state?

The NACC Board will consist of a minimum of nine and a maximum of 11 members.

A minimum of three members will represent each state of Oregon and Washington.

  • How will each industry be represented on the board?

Following is the proposed NACC Board breakdown:

 

  • Five members representing:
    • Dairy/Livestock,
    • Farm Supply,
    • Grain/Feed/Seed,
    • Fruit/Food Processing, and
    • Service/Insurance.
  • Up to four members representing:
    • Regional co-ops,
  • Two to six At Large members.

 

  • How will the administrative, education and program functions of NACC be managed?

As ACCO and WSCFC currently operate, an administrator will be retained on a contract basis to operate the business affairs of NACC, including administrative, education and program management.

 

  • Will each state retain their own lobbyist?

Yes, each state, by decision of that state’s Board members, will retain a lobbyist in that state.

Agricultural Cooperative Council of Oregon, 6745 SW Hampton St, Suite 101, Portland, OR 97223 * 503-924-1181

Washington State Council of Farmer Cooperatives, 625 Delphi Rd NW, Olympia, WA 98502 * 360-951-5262