Rural Cooperative Incomes Down

Sales couldn't match record pace set in 2008.

Published on: Oct 28, 2010

The Department of Agriculture reports that farmer, rancher and fishery cooperatives had $170 billion in sales in 2009, the second highest level on record, trailing only the $192 billion record set in the previous year. According to USDA, lower commodity and energy prices were the main reasons for the decline in sales from 2008. Net income of $4.4 billion was also the second best showing ever, down almost 9% from the record $4.8 billion in 2008. Previous to 2009 the nation's agricultural cooperatives had set a record for net income for four consecutive years.

Co-ops recorded sales increases in 2009 for farm supplies, crop protectants, seed and feed. Co-ops also saw increased marketing levels for rice, processed fruits and vegetables, sugar and tobacco. All other sales of supplies and crop/livestock marketing fell from the record levels of 2008. In the farm supplies sector, petroleum products sales declined by almost $7 billion, due to a combination of lower prices and demand.

Dairy products sales had the largest declines, down more than $9 billion from 2008, followed by declines of almost $3 billion for grain and oilseed; cotton sales by cooperatives declined by more than $1 billion. Dairy products and grain/oilseed sales by co-ops were lower due to price declines, while cotton experienced lower prices and a large decline in production.  The value of cooperative assets fell in 2009, mainly as a result of decreased inventories and receivables due to lower prices of products marketed and sold.