Three ag co-ops top national list


WASHINGTON – On the list of the nation’s 100 highest revenue-earning cooperatives, the top three are agricultural co-ops: CHS Inc.; Dairy Farmers of America and Land O’Lakes.
The National Cooperative Bank released its annual list Oct. 3.
The top agricultural cooperatives earned $62.2 billion in revenues during 2004, a $10 billion increase from 2003.
“Overall, the nation’s top 100 cooperatives increased revenues by almost $15 billion dollars in 2004, a 14 percent gain from the same period last year and the highest-ever yearly revenue,” said Charles E. Snyder, National Cooperative Bank president and CEO.
He said this double-digit growth is “rarely experienced in other business sectors.”
In 2004, agricultural cooperatives remained the strongest presence on the NCB Co-op 100, with 42 agribusinesses ranking in the top 100, and a 20 percent increase in revenues from the previous year.
At the top. For the third year in a row, CHS Inc., of Saint Paul, Minnesota ranked No. 1 on both the overall list and the agriculture sector.
The forerunner of CHS Inc, Cenex Harvest States, was formed in 1998 by a merger between two regional cooperatives, Cenex, Inc. and Harvest States Cooperatives.
The co-op recorded $221.3 million in earnings for fiscal 2004.
Dairy Farmers of America and Land O’Lakes, Inc. rounded out the overall list’s top three spots.
Dairy Farmers of America, at No. 2, had revenue in 2004 of $8.5 billion, a jump from 2003 revenue of $6.9 billion. Total assets in 2004 stood at $2.4 billion.
Land O’Lakes‘ revenue in 2004 was $7.6 billion, with total assets of $3.2 billion.
Rounding out top 25. Additional cooperatives in this sector’s top 25, in descending rank order, include:
Ag Processing Inc., California Dairies, Inc., GROWMARK, Inc., CF Industries, Foremost Farms USA Cooperative, Staplcotn, Inc., Associated Milk Producers, Inc., WestFarm Foods, Southern States Cooperative;
Prairie Farms Dairy Inc., Ocean Spray, American Crystal Sugar Co., Sunkist Growers, Inc., Dairylea Cooperative Inc., Riceland Foods, Inc., Plains Cotton Co-op Association, MFA Incorporated, Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative, United Dairymen of Arizona, Agri-Mark Inc., United Suppliers, Inc.
Unique features. Although similar to other business models, a cooperative has several unique features.
It is owned and controlled by its members who have joined together to use the cooperative’s goods, services and facilities. A board of directors, elected by the membership, sets both policies and procedures.
By pooling resources, members can leverage their power to buy, sell, market, or bargain as one group, achieving economics of scale and sharing in any profits generated.
Household names


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