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Total business volume fell for Top 100 cooperatives; however, net income rose 14%.

Jacqui Fatka, Policy editor

November 4, 2016

2 Min Read

Net income for the nation's agricultural cooperatives soared by 14% last year, according to data released by USDA. In its annual report on national cooperative business sales, USDA reported that the country's farmer, rancher and fishery cooperatives posted record net income of $7 billion in 2015.

"The cooperative business model continues to perform strongly," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says. "While the model has long been one of the hallmarks of rural economies, its reach has greatly expanded to include almost every aspect of U.S. commerce. The latest data show that cooperatives are a key to building stronger and more vital communities, particularly in rural areas."

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Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator Sam Rikkers announced the Top 100 ag cooperatives on Vilsack's behalf at an Interagency Working Group on Cooperative Development meeting at the Department of Commerce. The group, which is led by USDA, was established to foster cooperative development and ensure coordination between federal agencies and national and local organizations.

Iowa tops other states

Again, this year's list shows that Iowa is home to more Top 100 co-ops than any other state, with 15. It is followed by Minnesota with 11 and Nebraska with nine. California and Illinois each have six, while Wisconsin has five. Minnesota and California each gained a new co-op in the Top 100 in 2015.

USDA indicated that total business volume fell for the Top 100 cooperatives, from $177 billion in 2014 to $149 billion in 2015. However, net income rose from $4.3 billion to $4.9 billion in 2015, an increase of 14%.

CHS Inc., a fuel, grain and food cooperative based in Inver Grove Heights, Minn., remains the nation's largest cooperative in the United States, with $34.7 billion in total business volume for 2015. Dairy Farmers of America, a milk marketing cooperative based in Kansas City, Mo., came in second place, with $13.9 billion in total revenue. Land O'Lakes, a dairy foods and farm supply co-op, based in Saint Paul, Minn., was third, with $13.1 billion in sales.

The biggest 'gainer' on the list from 2014 was Producers Livestock Marketing Association, based in North Salt Lake, Utah. It rose from 90th place in 2014 to 58th place.

The release of the co-op Top 100 report came as USDA celebrated National Cooperative Month throughout October. This year's theme is "Cooperatives Build." Secretary Vilsack kicked off the month-long celebration with an official proclamation.

About the Author(s)

Jacqui Fatka

Policy editor, Farm Futures

Jacqui Fatka grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm in southwest Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications, with a minor in agriculture education, in 2003. She’s been writing for agricultural audiences ever since. In college, she interned with Wallaces Farmer and cultivated her love of ag policy during an internship with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, working in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Capitol Hill press office. In 2003, she started full time for Farm Progress companies’ state and regional publications as the e-content editor, and became Farm Futures’ policy editor in 2004. A few years later, she began covering grain and biofuels markets for the weekly newspaper Feedstuffs. As the current policy editor for Farm Progress, she covers the ongoing developments in ag policy, trade, regulations and court rulings. Fatka also serves as the interim executive secretary-treasurer for the North American Agricultural Journalists. She lives on a small acreage in central Ohio with her husband and three children.

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