Major Indiana Co-op Returns Record Patronage

Major Indiana Co-op Returns Record Patronage

This co-op prides itself on returning money to members.

Not many co-ops anywhere can say they've returned $18 million in patronage money to farmers over the past three years. Co-Alliance, based in Danville, recently released this year's patronage money, bringing the three-year total to the $18 million figure.

Co-Alliance is a partnership of other co-ops, including Midland Co-op, IMPACT Cooperative, LaPorte County Co-op, Frontier Co-op and Excel Co-op. They cover a large number of counties in Indiana and extend into Michigan. While their main business is fertilizer sales, their enterprises also include hogs through the LaPorte County partner. Other members of the Co-Alliance family extend service into Ohio counties. They are also an important part of the overall make-up of the Co-Alliance business, officials note. 

Kevin Still, long-time CEO for CO-Alliance, reported total sales for Co-Alliance LLP at $734 million for the 2010 year ending Aug. 31, with a net profit of nearly $20 million.

Patronage returned this year reached $9 million, a record amount for each of the partnering co-ops. Of the $9 million, $7 million was paid out in checks directly to farmer members. And the co-ops returned $1 million in equity redemption to their oldest, most loyal members who have done business with one or more of these partnering co-ops for many years. Over the same three year period that has seen $18 million returned in patronage, CO-Alliance has redeemed equity worth a total of $3.6 million

Still says you can look for more innovative projects form the co-op in the future. He says the strength of the partners working together makes the difference, and makes the business very efficient. The co-op has created a seed hub in the past, and is pursuing a new centralized fertilizer hub in the near future.

Midland Co-op is based at the headquarters of what was once the Hendricks County Co-op. It is a strong co-op in its own right, including outlets in many counties. As the partnership has expanded, the opportunity to serve farmers more efficiently has also expanded, Still notes.

Some co-ops in the partnership offer grain services, others are stronger in animal health products, and still others concentrate on power fuel, propane and home heating fuel. Many sell a variety of products, from seed to herbicides.

To learn more about this innovative business based in Indiana, visit: www.co-alliance.com.

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