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Badgerland Financial's merger with Illinois and Minnesota institutions created the third-largest Farm Credit organization.

Badgerland Financial, of Prairie du Sac, has finalized its merger with two other financial institutions focused on agriculture, creating one of the largest Farm Credit organizations in the country.

The new organization, Compeer Financial, is based in Sun Prairie and combines Badgerland Financial with AgStar Financial Services, of Mankato, Minnesota, and 1st Farm Credit Services, of Normal, Illinois.

The merger, proposed last September, was finalized on July 1 after 18 months of discussion and voting by the new organization’s 43,000-plus member-owners, of whom about 16,000 are in Wisconsin.

“Our name, Compeer Financial, means ‘together with equals’ and speaks to the way we’re moving forward — as a unified cooperative that’s committed to the success of our clients, team members and rural America,” president and CEO Rob Hebrink said in a statement.

Compeer Financial serves farmers through 47 offices in western and southern Wisconsin, southern and eastern Minnesota and northern Illinois.

Its “bread and butter service” is lending, though Compeer also provides crop insurance, appraisals, and tax and accounting services in Wisconsin, company spokeswoman Rochelle Schnadt said.

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It’s part of Farm Credit, a nationwide network of agriculture lenders formed 100 years ago. Farm Credit comprises more than 70 customer-owned institutions that support farmers with loans.

The combined total assets for the three merged organizations was $19 billion at the end of 2016, according to data from the annual information statement by Farm Credit, which makes Compeer the third-largest lender in the network. Only Farm Credit Services of America, of Omaha, with $26 billion in assets and Farm Credit Mid-America, of Louisville, with $23 billion in assets are larger.

The merger of the three organizations creates a more diverse portfolio for the company, combining a strong dairy portfolio in Wisconsin, swine business in Minnesota, and traditional crop commodity markets throughout the region.

“We’re hoping that with more diversity, it will balance any risks in the economic cycles we’re experiencing in agriculture,” Schnadt said.

Compeer Financial announced it will also donate 1 percent of its net earnings each year to FFA and 4-H programs, scholarships, community support and other efforts that support rural areas and farmers.

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