Net income for the nation’s agricultural cooperatives soared by 14 percent last year, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In its annual report on national cooperative business sales, USDA reported that the country’s farmer, rancher and fishery cooperatives posted record net income of $7 billion in 2015.
“The cooperative business model continues to perform strongly,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “While the model has long been one of the hallmarks of rural economies, its reach has greatly expanded to include almost every aspect of U.S. commerce. The latest data show that cooperatives are a key to building stronger and more vital communities, particularly in rural areas.”
Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator Sam Rikkers announced the Top 100 ag cooperatives on Vilsack’s behalf at an Interagency Working Group on Cooperative Development meeting at the Department of Commerce. The group, which is led by USDA, was established to foster cooperative development and ensure coordination between federal agencies and national and local organizations.
USDA indicated that total business volume fell for the Top 100 cooperatives, from $177 billion in 2014 to $149 billion in 2015. However, net income rose from $4.3 billion to $4.9 billion in 2015, an increase of 14 percent.
The release of the co-op Top 100 report comes as USDA celebrates National Cooperative Month throughout October. This year’s theme is “Cooperatives Build.”