CHS, Land O’Lakes Are Top-Grossing U.S. Co-ops

Eleven of Minnesota's agricultural cooperatives ranked among the 100 top-grossing in the nation based on 2010 revenue, and four made the top 10.

The country's two largest-grossing agricultural cooperatives in 2010 are both headquartered in Minnesota, according to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report.

Inver Grove Heights-based CHS-a farm supply, grain, and foods cooperative-topped a USDA list of the nation's 100 largest co-ops with $25.3 billion in 2010 revenue.

Meanwhile, Arden Hills-based Land O'Lakes ranked second, with revenue of $11.1 billion in 2010, the latest year for which the USDA has released figures.

Two other Minnesota cooperatives made the top 10 on the list, and 11 of the state's cooperatives were among the top-grossing 100, based on 2010 revenue.

Aside from CHS and Land O'Lakes, the nine others that made the list-along with the ranking, headquarters, and 2010 revenue of each-are:

7: Associated Milk Producers (New Ulm), $1.71 billion
8: United Sugars Corporation (Bloomington), $1.7 billion
17: American Crystal Sugar Company (Moorhead), $1.19 billion
61: Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative (Renville), $440 million
67: First District Association (Litchfield), $391 million
68: Watonwan Farm Service Company (Truman), $388 million
71: Meadowland Farmers Cooperative (Lamberton), $357 million
77: Western Consolidated Cooperatives (Holloway), $343 million
87: Universal Cooperatives, Inc. (Eagan), $293 million

CHS' 2011 revenue totaled $36.9 billion, representing a 45.8 percent jump from 2010. It's owned by farmers, ranchers, and other co-ops across the country-and it supplies energy, crop nutrients, livestock feed, food, and food ingredients. It also offers various business services like insurance and financial management.

“Right now agriculture is riding a great cycle of prosperity, and it starts with our farmers,” Lynden Johnson, executive vice president for business solutions at CHS, told the Star Tribune following the release of the USDA list. He added that a top revenue ranking among co-ops “gives you some notice, but we're still a quarter of the size of Cargill.”

Land O'Lakes, meanwhile, reported $12.8 billion in 2011 revenue, up 15.3 percent from 2010. It is a member-owned cooperative that's perhaps best known as a marketer of dairy-based food products for consumers. But it also offers local cooperatives and agricultural producers across the nation various agricultural supplies, along with production and business services.