Sep 20, 2019

Mike Nickolas was recently inducted into the South Dakota Cooperative Hall of Fame. Nickolas was the former General Manager of North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and most recently the Executive Vice President Chief Operation Officer (EVP COO) of Grain of Agtegra Cooperative. Nickolas is a native South Dakotan, born and raised near Bowdle and spent his entire career in the cooperative system.
The son of an elevator manager in Lebanon and Bowdle, he began his cooperative career working for South Dakota Wheat Growers (SDWG) while achieving his degree from Northern State University (NSU) in Aberdeen, S.D. Mike started at the ground level as general labor at a grain terminal and then advanced to grain marketing before becoming NCFE’s Grain Manager and General Manager. For over 38 years, Mike was a strong advocate for serving the cooperative’s member-owners.
As General Manager of NCFE and EVP COO Grain of Agtegra, he had the vision to always pursue the next step to maintain the relevance of the cooperative system in South Dakota, which was through his leadership in investment of the cooperative’s resources for its members. He understood the need and was an advocate for unification of NCFE with SDWG which created Agtegra Cooperative, a  locally owned cooperative for generations to come.
As General Manager, he expanded NCFE’s grain business to handle larger volumes in their grain shuttle terminals. He brought crop protection to new heights by expandinging aerial spraying within NCFE and opening several aerial facilities in South Dakota. Other achievements include adding and expanding several agronomy centers in north central South Dakota, taking the lead on ethanol industry investments which created more value for producers by working with local ethanol companies to supply corn and provide corn producers with access to more corn storage capacity. As Agtegra’s EVP COO Grain, he was a strong leader during a successful unification and provided invaluable leadership to Agtegra’s grain division which handled record grain volume in its first year and positioned Agtegra as a market leader to benefit its members.
Nickolas previously served as a director on the South Dakota Grain and Feed Association and on the board of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association. He was known for working closely with patrons in order to profitably market their grain and to help them establish good market plans for future years.
“It has been a great pleasure to work together with Mike to support the members of our farmer-owned cooperative,” quoted Rick Osterday, former NCFE Board President and now First Vice President of Agtegra Cooperative. “Mike has been a great leader, a focused visionary, a source of inspiration to many, and a true friend whose passion was serving the member-owners of the cooperative.”

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