Opposition to proposed bylaw changes atCHS, Inc., is spreading.
The North Dakota Cooperative Managers Association is the latest to issue a statement opposing the changes in the bylaws, which would let government entities, non-farmer organizations and consumer cooperatives earn patronage and have voting rights.
"Our cooperatives, farmers and ranchers are the ones that have supported CHS and grown its success," says Paul Schlichting, president of the North Dakota Cooperative Managers'
By bylaw changes "has the potential to drive business away from locally-owned cooperatives that are now supplying products and services to those groups," Schlichting continues. "It could negatively impact our bottom lines locally and the overall patronage dividends we receive from CHS profits at the end of the year, because there will be more member-owners and less of the pie to go around."
While NDCMA agrees with some proposed bylaw changes, Schlichting says, "It's an up or down vote – all or nothing – with all the changes lumped together. We are uncomfortable with that process."
The proposed changes were announced in early September and will be voted on Dec. 3 at the CHS annual meeting in Minneapolis.
"For us, it's a tight timeline before the vote," Schlichting says. "There is no real opportunity to give feedback or table the discussion until co-ops have had a chance to digest the proposed changes and impact to their cooperative. We do feel blindsided."
The North Dakota Farmers Union and South Dakota Farmers Union have gone on record opposing the bylaw changes.