The nation's 100 largest agriculture cooperatives reported near-record revenue of $118 billion in 2010, U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager announced last week. This was an increase of 4 percent over 2009 figures. Net income for the 100 top agriculture co-ops was also up more than 10 percent in 2010, reaching $2.39 billion, up from $2.16 billion in 2009. Leading the revenue increase were dairy cooperatives, which saw 2010 revenue climb more than 14.5 percent from the previous year, to $29.45 billion. Dairy cooperatives accounted for more than half of the revenue increase recorded by the top 100 ag coops in 2010.
Of the top 10 ranking co-ops, five were in the dairy industry:
- Land O' Lakes ranked second with revenue of $11.1 billion in 2010 revenue
- Dairy Farmers of America was No. 3 with $9.8 billion
- California Dairies, Inc., ranked sixth with $2.9 billion
- Associated Milk Producers, Inc., was No. 7 with $1.7 billion
- Northwest Dairy Association ranked No. 10 with $1.6 billion
Click here for a complete list of the top 100 cooperatives.
"Farmer and rancher-owned cooperatives are a mainstay in the American economy, not only helping members market and process their crops, milk and livestock and creating jobs, but also helping producers keep more of the earnings derived from their products at home, in rural counties and communities," Tonsager said.
"The end result is a huge net benefit for producers, their communities and the overall rural economy. Farmer co-ops also account for significant numbers of jobs and economic activity in many cities."
USDA's top 100 ag co-op list shows that 23 co-ops had 2010 revenue of more than $1 billion. Another 47 co-ops had revenue between $506 million and $1 billion. The 100th ranked co-op had sales of $276 million.
Nearly half of the top 100 cooperatives (47 percent) had lower revenue in 2010 compared to the prior year.
Gross margins, as a percent of total sales, were up slightly, from 9 percent to 9.2 percent. The increase in gross margins partially covered higher expenses. Gross margins plus service revenue climbed to $684 million.
Total expenses for the top 100 ag co-ops were up $575 million in 2010. The largest cost increase was for labor, where expenses climbed by 7 percent, to $4.6 billion. On the other hand, lower interest rates and less debt caused interest expense to drop 11 percent.
Click here for a more detailed look at the top 100 Ag Co-ops, published in the March-April issue of USDA's Rural Cooperatives magazine. PD
—From U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development news release