University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives

U.S. Agricultural Cooperatives - 1996 statistics

Source: USDA report, 1997

Farmer-owned cooperatives in the United States have set new business volume and net income records for the second consecutive year. According to Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development, Jill Long Thompson, the nation's 3,884 farmer cooperatives reported record net business volume of $106 billion for 1996, a 13 per cent increase from the previous record of $94 billion set in 1995. Cooperatives also enjoyed recorded net income of $2.37 billion, up from $2.33 billion in 1995.

Primarily the record business volume year for the nation's farmer cooperatives was due to increased prices for grains and oilseeds and farm supplies. Cooperative sales of grains and oilseeds increased $7.8 billion, or more than 39 percent, from 1995. Farm supply sales increased $2.4 billion, or more than 11 percent.

Total 1996 marketing sales by cooperatives climbed more than 14 percent, to $79 billion. Cooperative net business volume was up for all commodity groups except rice and cotton. Rice revenues were stable, while cotton revenues dropped more than six percent. Income from services provided by cooperatives and other miscellaneous income was down $192 million, or nearly six percent.

Cooperatives sold farm supplies worth nearly $24 billion in 1996. Increases in petroleum (nearly 21 percent) and fertilizer (nearly 11 percent) sales were primarily responsible for the augment in farm supply sales.

While net income for all cooperatives changed only slightly from 1995, the change was dramatic among some types of cooperatives. Net income for farm supply cooperatives -- those that primarily obtain fertilizer, crop protectants and other inputs for their members -- increased nearly 17 percent, from $808.2 million in 1995 to $942.7 million in 1996.

Marketing cooperatives -- those that primarily sell, bargain and/or process crops, livestock and livestock products for their members -- saw net income dip 5.6 percent. Sugar cooperatives' net income increased significantly, due to decreased losses in 1996. Fruit and vegetable cooperatives' net income decreased from $175.9 million in 1995 to $58 million in 1996, a drop of 67 percent. Depressed prices of certain vegetables was the major reason for the lower net income in this sector.

Combined assets of $42.6 billion were up $2.3 billion or nearly six percent. Total liabilities of $25.2 billion increased more than six percent. Net worth of $27.4 billion was nearly five percent.

There were 3,884 U.S. farmer cooperatives in 1996, 122 fewer than in 1995. Two of every five cooperatives removed from USDA's list of U.S. farmer cooperatives were due to mergers/consolidations. About the same ratio was removed because of discontinued operations. Twelve cooperatives were added to the list.

Memberships in farmer cooperatives totaled 3.6 million in 1996, down more than three percent. The number of memberships was larger than the number of farms because many farmers belong to and use the services of more than one cooperative.


Net business volume 2 - Commodity or function - Million dollars
Products Marketed: 1996 1995
Cotton 2,621 2,799
Dairy 22,924 21,784
Fruits and vegetables 9,395 9,272
Grains and Oil Seeds 3
27,631 19,864
Livestock and poultry 8,477 8,065
Rice 900 900
Sugar 1,933 1,869
Other Products 4 5,448 4,796
Total 79,330 69,349
Supplies Purchased:

Crop Protectants 2,829 2,628
Feed 5,386 5,017
Fertilizer 5,201 4,692
Petroleum 6,292 5,211
Seed 658 583
Other Supplies 5 3,281 3,083
Total Farm Supplies 23,647 21,213
Services and Other Income 6 3,092 3,284
Total 106,069 93,847
1 Preliminary. Totals may not add due to rounding.
2 Excludes intercooperative business. Volume includes value of products associated with cooperatives that operate on a commission basis and bargain for members' products.
3 Excludes cottonseed.
4 Includes dry edible beans and peas, fish, nuts, tobacco, wool, and other miscellaneous products.
5 Includes building materials, containers, hardware, tires-batteries-accessories (TBA), farm machinery and equipment, and other supplies.
6 Includes trucking, ginning, storage, artificial insemination, rice drying, and other.


Total Net Income 2 - Million dollars
Cooperative Type: 1996 19953

Cotton 84.1 83.5
Dairy 375.1 345.3
Fruits and vegetables 58.0 175.9
Grains and Oil Seeds
377.1 384.9
Livestock and poultry 228.9 231.9
Rice 12.3 11.6
Sugar 9.1 1.2
Other Products 4 159.9 147.2
Total 1,304.7 1,381.5
Farm Supply: 942.7 808.2
Related Service:5 125.0 135.9
Total 2,372.4 2,325.6
1 Preliminary. Totals may not add due to rounding.
2 Net income less losses.
3 Revised.
4 Includes bean and pea (dry edible), nut, tobacco, wool, fish, and miscellaneous marketing cooperatives.
5 Includes trucking, cotton gins, storage, artificial insemination, rice driers, and other service cooperatives.


Cooperative Type: Cooperatives2 Memberships

Cotton 3 16 42,561
Dairy 237 113,920
Fruits and vegetables 267 46,621
Grains and Oil Seeds
1,066 783,427
Livestock and poultry 105 287,146
Rice 19 14,831
Sugar 49 11,800
Other Products 4 253 360,470
Total 2,012 1,660,776
Farm Supply: 1,403 1,794,671
Related Service: 469 186,505
Total 3,884 3,641,952
1 Preliminary.
2 Operations of many cooperatives are multiproduct and multifunctional. They are classified in most cases according to predominant commodity or function as indicated by business volume.
3 Cooperative cotton gins included with related-service cooperatives.
4 Includes bean and pea (dry edible), nut, tobacco, wool, fish, and miscellaneous marketing cooperatives.

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