PHILOTHEA — Cooper Farms finalized its asset acquisition of Hemmelgarn & Sons Inc. today, helping to further grow the egg portion of its business.
The purchase includes an offline egg grading and packaging plant, located in Philothea; a feed mill, located in Union City; 1.6 million hens, cared for by 12 contract farmers; as well as a trucking fleet and nearly 300 acres of land.
“Hemmelgarn & Sons has had a successful presence in the shell egg business and we are looking forward to opportunities to continue to grow in that market,” said Jeff Cutler, Cooper Farms egg division manager. “With their packing plant and feed mill in such close proximity to our operations, and our similar business models, we knew this would be a good marriage.”
The 89-year-old company has roots much like those of Cooper Farms, being privately held and operated by the Hemmelgarn family, their close friends and coworkers. Started in 1930 by Ed Hemmelgarn, who was later joined by his sons, Floyd and Jerry, the company grew to be a top provider of shell eggs in the Midwest.
“You can’t say enough about how the Hemmelgarn family cared for their employees and all that they did,” said Tad Gross, Hemmelgarn & Sons president. “They were just a top notch family. I see a lot of that in the Cooper family. I’m hoping that what the Hemmelgarn family did, the Cooper family will help me continue.”
Gross, along with the other managers and team members of the company are now members of the Cooper Farms team. The contract farmers have also transferred any contracts to Cooper Farms.
“We are pleased to have them on board,” said Jim Cooper of Cooper Farms. “The leadership and experience of this group will help us to continue their operations with very little change as we transition.”
Cooper Farms held a banquet for all of the Hemmelgarn & Sons team members and growers on March 11 to welcome them and answer any questions they might have had.
Cooper Farms previously had one egg grader and four feed mills. This acquisition will add two egg graders in a separate packing location and an additional feed mill. The mill will continue feeding the 12 contract farms to maintain continuity for the time being.