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Expanded opportunities

The Midwest’s largest livestock marketing cooperative and Tennessee Livestock Producers form alliance to provide competitive markets and additional se
Story by Allison Farley Photos by Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation 2/17/2021


Tennessee Livestock Producers, Inc. was established as a service company of Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation in the early 1960s and has played a major role in helping to provide competitive livestock markets in the state.
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The marketing options for Tennessee livestock producers have recently expanded in a big way.

On Oct. 1, 2020, the Midwest’s largest livestock marketing cooperative, United Producers, Inc. (UPI), assumed and expanded the business activities of the Tennessee Livestock Producers, Inc. (TLP), marketing company of the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation (TFBF).

Following unanimous votes of approval by the governing bodies of both organizations, UPI began operating and managing the weekly auctions at the TLP Columbia and Fayetteville locations, monthly video sales, Tennessee Beef Alliance sales, and other direct marketing activities. The agreement also provides Tennessee producers with access to the cooperative’s risk management and credit/financing programs.

“This transition is a natural fit for both of our organizations and the farmers we serve,” says UPI President & CEO Mike Bumgarner, “UPI and TLP share many of the same values, and TLP customers can expect outstanding member service from UPI, including added benefits and services as members of a cooperative. Both are governed by a farmer-member board of directors.”

TLP has been a service company of Tennessee Farm Bureau since the early 1960s and has played a major role in helping to provide livestock producers with competitive markets, explains TFBF President Jeff Aiken.

“I am excited for the great potential

of this agreement, and I encourage all Tennessee livestock producers to give serious consideration to the opportunities that now exist through the presence of United Producers in Tennessee,” he says. “As the oldest service company of the Farm Bureau, the goal and mission of Tennessee Livestock Producers has always been

to provide trustworthy and reliable

livestock marketing options for producers in our state.

“Our board of directors and staff, after much evaluation and study, believe the arrangement with United Producers Inc. offers a great opportunity to ensure future successes for this segment of Tennessee agriculture, broadening the base of buyers for our livestock, as well as adding risk management and financing options.”

Richard Brown, manager of TLP, sees the merger as a smart business move and

a great opportunity for Tennessee farmers to benefit.

“It takes constant vision and strategic leadership to remain competitive and provide exceptional service,” says Brown. “Livestock producers will continue to receive the same service and commitment from the TLP staff, who will become a part of the UPI team. The program will benefit from UPI’s respect in the industry. This is a win-win for livestock producers in Tennessee.”

UPI took shape in 1999 through the consolidation in operations of Producers Livestock Association (Ohio/Indiana) and MFA Livestock (Missouri). Over the next two years, UPI brought Interstate Producers Livestock Association (Illinois) and the Michigan Livestock Exchange (Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky) into its operations. Through their original identities, UPI has provided needed livestock services to farmer members for more than 70 years.

Today, UPI serves 35,000 members in Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, and now Tennessee, handling more than three million head of livestock per year. UPI also offers risk management services including marketing agreements and brokerage services. The cooperative also provides competitive credit services for agricultural, farm machinery, and livestock financing.

“We couldn’t be more excited for livestock producers in Tennessee,” says Aiken. “UPI offers a valuable and expanded footprint to livestock marketing opportunities with a broader audience of buyers. Our membership has consistently supported exploring new alliances, cooperatives, and other marketing initiatives to increase the farmer’s net income from his/her efforts, and this is the perfect fit. We believe UPI offers the integrity, honesty, and marketing ability farmers need in the marketplace for years to come.”

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