Agricultural co-operatives are thriving in the US

25 Oct 2013

As the United States celebrates ‘Co-op Month’, the country’s National Cooperative Bank (NCB) has revealed that the top 100 co-operatives produced revenues in excess of USD $226 billion last year.

The largest sector is agriculture, which in total accounted for USD $139bn, and the largest co-operative is global agri-business CHS Inc that reported USD $40bn last year. CHS is owned by farmers, ranchers and co-operatives from all over the US and operates across energy, grains and foods.

Each year in October, the US movement raises awareness of the sector in a month-long schedule of activities, co-ordinated through the National Cooperative Business Association

The NCB’s analysis found that grocery and food distribution was ranked the second largest sector (USD $36bn), followed by energy/communications (USD $20bn); finance (USD $12bn); hardware (USD $8bn); healthcare (USD $ 7.6bn); recreation (USD $1.9bn); and pharmaceutical distribution (USD $689m).

Land O' Lakes, which links agricultural producers, reported USD $14.1bn in revenues and took a number two ranking this year. Dairy Farmers of America was ranked in third position with a turnover of USD $12.1bn.

Charles E. Snyder, President and CEO of NCB, said: "As co-operatives, we know that our model of business is successful and sustainable. Our challenge is to tell more people in decision-making positions and in the media, about the scope, size and scale of the co-operative model, its impact on the economy, its sustainability, and the work it does to build communities across the world.”

He added: “As we continue to see improvements in the market, there is an increase in the formation of new co-operatives in urban, suburban and rural setting—offering competitive goods and services to meet the needs of these communities. As a socially responsible financial institution, created to address the needs of our nation's co-operatives, we are proud of our role in supporting the growth of these organisations, while also giving back to the communities they serve."

Across the entire US, co-operatives provide over two million jobs and create more than USD $75bn in annual wages with revenue of nearly USD $650bn. 

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