CHS looking to change its definition of membership

Dave Bielenberg

The largest farmer-owned cooperative in the nation is proposing changes to its bylaws that include how it defines membership.

CHS Board chairman Dave Bielenberg of Oregon says the Minnesota-based company is taking into account how some of its member co-ops now do business.

“Specifically being patronage to non-members and allowing non-members to participate in the governance of the cooperative.  Our (current) bylaws specifically say that all folks that participate in the governance of a local cooperative have to be farmer-producer members.”

He tells Brownfield the proposed membership changes have been misinterpreted by some.

“This really is all about the local cooperative (and) not about CHS.  We’re not changing our membership requirements for our board members…we’re not about to go public.”

CHS is also looking to remove outdated verbiage from its bylaws and remove the reference to the Capper-Volstead Act, but Bielenberg says that doesn’t mean the company is against the Act.

“We support the continuance of the Capper-Volstead Act for those companies that need that protection.  A lot of fruit and vegetable packing houses and marketing cooperatives and other grain cooperatives need that Capper-Volstead protection to do what they need to do, but CHS doesn’t.”

The Capper-Volstead Act was adopted by Congress in the 1920’s as a way to give associations of agricultural producers certain antitrust law exemptions.

CHS members will vote on the proposed bylaw changes December fourth at the company’s annual meeting in Minneapolis.







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