University of Wisconsin Center for Wisconsin
Rural Cooperatives, September/October 1996, pp. 7-8.
Published by the Rural Business and Cooperative Development Service 

California Cooperatives Again Lead Nation in Business Volume

Charles A. Kraenzle
Director STSS
USDA/RBS Cooperative Services



Editor's Note: Information for this article was collected by members of the Statistics and Technical Services Staff of USDA/RBS Cooperative Services: Celestine C. Adams, Katherine C. DeVille, Jacqueline E. Penn, and Ralph M.Richardson

With $8.9 billion in total business volume, California cooperatives once again led all states in 1995, but second place Iowa appears to be closing the gap. Iowa finished 1995 with $8 billion in business volume, up from $6.5 billion in 1993. Iowa was the nation's leading farm co-op state from 1979 to 1985. Otherwise, California co-ops have led the nation since USDA began compiling state-by-state co-op data in 1951.

Minnesota's $7.4 billion in business volume in 1995 helped it move up from fourth to third place among the states. It was followed by Wisconsin with $6.8 billion and Illinois with $5 billion in business volume (table 1 and fig. 1).

Cooperatives in these five leading states accounted for a combined $36.1 billion (38.5 percent) of the $93.8 billion in total net business volume handled by the nation's 4,006 agricultural cooperatives in 1995. This compares with $31.8 billion (38.3 percent) of the $82.9 billion generated by the nation's cooperatives in 1993. They also accounted for 28.7 percent of total co-op memberships and 31.8 percent of all cooperatives in 1995.

Marketing sales (derived from sale of crops and livestock) accounted for 77.5 percent of the business volume handled by cooperatives in these five states in 1995. Marketing sales ranged from nearly 92 percent of the total business volume in California to more than 68 percent in Illinois. Minnesota, North Dakota, Texas, Iowa and Wisconsin were the leading states in

number of cooperatives (as determined by co-op headquarters locations). These five states were home to 1,447 (36.1 percent) of the nation's cooperatives in 1995 (fig.2). Texas had the largest proportion of service cooperatives (mainly cotton ginning) and Wisconsin the largest proportion of farm supply cooperatives.

New York (61), Minnesota (48) and Wisconsin (35) led al1 states in number of dairy cooperatives. California (75) and Florida (33) accounted for 38.4 percent of all fruit and vegetable cooperatives. Grain cooperatives were most numerous in Iowa (152), North Dakota (142), Kansas (129), Illinois (125) and Minnesota (111). These states accounted for 60.5 percent of all grain cooperatives.

Co-ops' Total Net Business Volume, Leading States, 1995 (left graph) and Number of Co-ops by Type of Cooperative, Leading States, 1995 (right graph)

Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Kentucky led all states in number of cooperative memberships, with 1,223,408, or 32.5 percent of the 3,767,295 total cooperative memberships in 1995 (fig. 3). Among these states, Iowa had the largest percentage of memberships in marketing cooperatives. Wisconsin had the largest percentage of memberships in farm supply and service cooperatives. Overall, nearly one-half of the memberships in the five states were in marketing cooperatives.

Iowa led all states in volume of farm supplies sold, followed by Minnesota and Illinois. Cooperative supply sales in Iowa totaled nearly $2.3 billion, Minnesota $1.8 billion and Illinois $1.4 billion. Leading states in marketing volume were California, Iowa and Wisconsin, with sales ranging from $8.1 billion to $5.51 billion. Iowa was the leading state in cooperative sales of feed, crop protectants and fertilizer. Minnesota led all states in petroleum and seed sales. Wisconsin led all states in sales of other types of supply sales.

Information on farmer cooperative activity in individual states is collected every other year through USDA's annual survey of farmer cooperatives. The survey gauges number of memberships, origin of farm products marketed and destination of supplies and equipment. These data are tabulated to show memberships and commodity business volumes at the state level. Cooperatives that operate in more than one state are asked to report for each state in which they operate.

Table 1 - Farmer cooperative numbers,(1) memberships, and business volume by State, 1995(2)
State Co-ops headquartered in state Memberships in state(3) Business volume(4)

---------------------------------------Number------------------------------------------
Mil. dol.
Alabama
64
55,938
1,380.4
Alaska
13
6,246
41.8
Arizona
10
10,017
1,732.6
Arkansas
64
63,032
1,732.6
California
192
59,551
8,866.7
Colorado
55
33,865
929.3
Connecticut
4
3,310
126.7
Deleware
3
29,072
86.1
Florida
53
28,382
2,498.7
Georgia
25
40,156
1,282.0
Hawaii
40
14,928
118.7
Idaho
43
26,441
1,042.8
Illinois
210
235,239
5,021.4
Indiana
61
111,952
2,492.0
Iowa
257
241,348
8,004.7
Kansas
159
151,532
3,607.5
Kentucky
45
203,061
1,125.8
Louisiana
55
15,086
623.3
Maine
22
9,527
226.5
Maryland
20
53,464
396.5
Massachusetts
15
5,343
997.2
Michigan
87
70,521
2,583.3
Minnesota
389
329,241
7,422.4
Mississippi
89
112,303
1,156.2
Missouri
74
180,235
3,091.7
Montana
83
35,107
721.6
Nebraska
139
121,266
4,355.2
New Jersey
19
8,220
373.1
New Mexico
9
3,330
778.1
New York
95
61.930
2,253.2
North Carolina
28
113,082
760.5
North Dakota
294
143,844
3,195.6
Ohio
99
90,447
2,674.4
Oklahoma
108
77,651
1,185.1
Oregon
41
30,877
1,493.3
Pennsylvania
63
62,073
1,769.5
South Carolina
7
19,612
270.9
South Dakota
151
116,128
2,274.8
Tennessee
79
148,933
926.9
Texas
282
130,729
3,507.7
Utah
22
13,268
579.4
Vermont
7
7,454
487.7
Virginia
67
167,890
684.1
Washington
92
36,681
2,884.1
West Virginia
28
63,748
135.0
Wisconsin
225
214,519
6,800.5
Wyoming
14
4,619
147.2
Other states
5
2,937
110.8
Foreign
-
3,160
502.8
United States
4,006
3,767,295
93,846.6
(1) Includes independent local cooperatives, federations, centralized regional cooperatives, interregional, and cooperatives with mixed organizational structures.
(2) Data covering operations of cooperatives for calendary year 1995. Data for States with fewer than three cooperatives or where disclosure is a problem are included with other States. Totals may not add due to rounding.
(3) Includes farmer cooperatives (those entitled to vote for directors) but not non-voting patrons. Duplication in these membership numbers occurs because many farmers belong to more than one cooperative.
(4) Excludes intercooperative business.

Total net business volume (excluding business done between cooperatives) in 1995 was a record $93.8 billion. This includes marketing (the value of products sold, bargained for or handled on a commission basis), farm supplies (sales of fertilizer, crop protectants, petroleum, feed, and other supplies to members and patrons) and receipts from services, such as trucking, storage, ginning, drying and artificial insemination and other income.

Co-op Membership by Type of Cooperative, Leading States, 1995

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