Iowa leads USDA’s list of top 100 ag co-ops
DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa is home to more top 100 agricultural cooperatives than any other state, according to recently released USDA data. The number of top 100 co-ops in Iowa, 16, is up from 11 a decade ago.
“These statistics underscore what most Iowans already know – the state is extremely important to the nation’s agricultural economy,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. Farmer-owned co-ops play a major role in making it an agricultural powerhouse
USDA’s annual list of the nation’s top 100 agricultural cooperatives, by business volume, indicates Minnesota ranks second among the states, with 13. It is followed by Nebraska with nine, Illinois and Wisconsin with five each, then California, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri and Ohio, which are all tied with four.
Looking at business volume where a cooperative has its headquarters, Minnesota ranks first among the states, with $68.8 billion. Missouri is second at $16.2 billion and Illinois is third at $13.2 billion.
Like the nation’s ag co-op sector as a whole, the top 100 cooperatives also enjoyed a third consecutive year of record sales. They reported revenue of $174 billion in 2013, an increase of almost 9 percent over the $166 billion reported in 2012.
Net income (after taxes) remained virtually unchanged from 2012, at $3.5 billion. The previous records for sales and net income were set in 2012.
CHS Inc., Saint Paul, Minn. – an energy, farm supply, grain and food co-op – has been the nation’s largest ag co-op during the past decade. It held onto the No. 1 spot in 2013, with $44 billion in revenue. It was followed by Land O’ Lakes Inc., Saint Paul, Minn., with sales of $14 billion, and Dairy Farmers of America, Kansas City, Mo., with almost $13 billion in revenue.
Wheaton-Dumont Cooperative Elevator, a grain co-op based in Wheaton, Minn., made the biggest climb up the Top 100. In 2012, it was not even on the list, ranking 150th. The co-op rose 58 spots, to 92nd place, in 2013.
The Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative, Wahpeton, N.D., a sugarbeet co-op, was the next biggest “gainer,” moving from 131st place in 2012 to 98th in 2013.
Twenty-three cooperatives improved their ranking by double-digits. Six of these are mixed co-ops (co-ops that handle grain and farm supply sales). Dairy and grain each had two co-ops make double-digit gains, while cotton, rice and sugar each had one co-op jump by at least 10 places.
Grain cooperatives have experienced the largest increase in top 100 representation during the past decade. There were 19 grain cooperatives in the top 100 in 2004. That number rose to 41 in 2013. Dairy cooperative representation in the top 100 fell from 28 to 21 during the same period, while farm supply cooperatives increased from 13 to 16.
The Sept.-Oct. issue of USDA’s “Rural Cooperatives” magazine includes the top 100 list and an article that examines some of the financial trends it reveals.