Happy National Co-op Month!

Cindy Zimmerman

2016-coop-monthNational Co-op Month has been celebrated annually in October across the United States for more than half a century and this year’s theme is “Cooperatives Build.”

“The cooperative business model continues to perform strongly,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “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.”

USDA this week released the latest data on net income for the nation’s agricultural cooperatives, which increased 14 percent last year to $7 billion, and announced the Top 100 ag cooperatives.

The top five remained the same as last year with CHS Inc. in the number one spot with $34.7 billion in total business volume for 2015, followed by Dairy Farmers of America, Land O’Lakes, GROWMARK, and Ag Processing Inc. Rounding out the top 10 are California Dairies Inc., United Suppliers of Iowa, Northwest Dairy Association, Southern States Cooperative – which moved up to 9th from 11th, and Prairie Farms Dairy of Illinois which rose from 13th place to 10th. 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.

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.

Cooperatives, GROWMARK, USDA