Almost 200 growers met at the Alliance Country Club Jan. 9 in Torrington, WY, to discuss the Rocky Mountain Sugarbeet Growers Cooperative's proposal to purchase Western Sugar Company. The meeting was one of the last in a series of 15 that have taken place throughout Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana.
Randon Wilson, the co-op's attorney, explained to the group how the buyout would proceed and financing.
The co-op has asked growers to pay about $28 million toward the $78 million purchase price. He said the cooperative will finance the remaining $50 million. It has secured around $50 million at an interest rate of 9 percent.
He explained the co-op has asked growers to pay a one-time fee of $100 to join and $185 per acre. A $35-per-acre down payment is due by the end of January. The rest is due by the end of February. The price increases from $185 to $300 per acre after the end of January.
However, he said other sources of funding exist and the co-op has already received extra money to assist in the purchase. So far, the co-op has secured a $25,000 federal grant with the help of the Wyoming Business Council. The cities of Lovell, Powell and Cody have each contributed $4,500 as well. Local banks pitched in another $7,000.
According to Wilson, growers have signed up over 177,000 acres. The co-op will close when it reaches 185,000 acres, the maximum capacity of the six factories.