Greenway Cooperative, a diversified ag retailer based in Rochester, and CHS Inc., a national farmer-owned cooperative, have signed a letter of understanding to initiate preliminary study of a formal business merger.

If approved, the outcome would include significant investment into agronomy operations in southeastern Minnesota. The Country Operations unit of CHS currently operates a service center in the Ostrander-Grand Meadow area.

"Our number one priority is to protect our members' equity," said Gary Hoffman, board chairman, Greenway Cooperative. "As we look to continue expanding for our members and being able to take care of the co-op's employees, CHS brings a lot to the table."

"As the needs of our customers grow we must find ways to provide the products and services that they require," said Rick Jahn, board chairman of the CHS Ostrander-Grand Meadow business. "Partnering with CHS has allowed us to invest in the infrastructure and equipment that our customers demand, as well as hire and retain the quality people that our patrons depend on."

"CHS actively looks for initiatives that help our farmer-owners grow their businesses," explained John McEnroe, executive vice president, CHS Country Operations. "Our owners would be well-served with a business opportunity that allows us to expand our resources within our core territory."

Any proposed business agreement would be voted upon by Greenway's 900 voting members.

In business since 1929, Greenway Cooperative fulfills its promise of personalized solutions and service from some 34 locations across 13 communities in southern Minnesota. It is a full-service agribusiness offering agronomy, energy, ag retail and grain products and services.

CHS Inc. is a global agribusiness owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the United States. Diversified in energy, grains and foods, CHS, a Fortune 100 company, supplies energy, crop nutrients, grain marketing services, animal feed, food and food ingredients, along with business solutions including insurance, financial and risk management services. The company operates petroleum refineries/pipelines and manufactures, markets and distributes Cenex brand refined fuels, lubricants, propane and renewable energy products.