Local Decisions. Local Values. Local Return.

Nov 24, 2023

With yesterday’s event over and the dishes done (or, possibly still soaking), the holidays are officially upon us. We’re incredibly grateful for our members and customers who made the decision to partner with Co-Alliance in 2023. It has been a remarkable year, together.

As a reflection of the profitable year our cooperative business had, Co-Alliance will be paying $57 million in patronage to eligible farmer-members who did business with the cooperative in 2023. Fifty million will be paid back in cash, while the remaining seven million will be returned in equity.

Fifty-three percent of our 2023 net income will be paid back in patronage, which will arrive to our members in January 2024. The remaining profit will be reinvested into our assets to ensure Co-Alliance is prepared to service today’s member owners and the next generation of farm families. It is projected that $80 million will be reinvested in capital improvements to better service the membership – that’s you.

For a second year in a row, Co-Alliance leads the industry with this type of patronage return. In January 2023, we paid back $45 million dollars to farmer-members, which was fifty-one percent of Co-Alliance’s 2022 net income. We are committed to being competitive in the marketplace in price and quality of service, and the return of this profit to its membership is part of that commitment.

Membership in Co-Alliance is comprised of those who run an active farm operation and complete a membership application. Because of your loyal business with Co-Alliance, the cooperative has delivered continued profitability, expertise, resources, and overall experience for our customers.

Ninety-five percent of the profit derived directly from Co-Alliance’s membership business is being returned directly to those members. The amount of patronage paid back to each member is based upon the volume of business members completed with the cooperative in the fiscal year. Approximately 6.7% of the members’ business is being paid back this year, as compared to 5.5% in 2022.

“This record amount paid back in cash to our membership is truly a testament to the partnership we have with our farmer-owners. When the local cooperative makes a profit, we ensure a large portion of it goes directly back to those farm families who have made the decision to do business with the cooperative. The model is simple yet compelling: local decisions, local value, and local return,” said Kevin Still, Co-Alliance President and CEO. “Everything we do in our business is done with our local membership in mind. The $80 million that will be reinvested in facility improvements – not sent to out-of-state businesses or owners - is proof of that commitment. As Co-Alliance invests in these facilities, the gains felt in operational efficiencies helps drive our capabilities and our overall return to our owners.”

The $57 million back in members’ hands truly demonstrates the local value of the farmer-owned cooperative. This direct payment back to members allows them to reinvest in their communities and small businesses that are the backbone of America. Those in rural America have a heart for service and without question a beneficiary of these dollars will be the local communities Co-Alliance members call home.

These are certainly some big numbers we're talking through. ​Joining us on Cultivated this month are two Co-Alliance Board members, Tom Tucker and Kim Ames, who talk through this patronage return with us to better understand these Local decisions, Local values and Local return. We invite you to listen:


“This record patronage amount being paid back is all about our members. This would not have been possible without their decision to choose the cooperative for the services and products they need to run the farm. This cooperative system was created to serve the membership and for 100 years we’ve been doing that. This record patronage payback serves as a great thank you for keeping your service and business local.” said Tim Burke, Chairman of Co-Alliance’s Board of Directors.

Local Decisions: A cooperative business varies greatly from a privately owned company. The cooperative is locally owned by farmers and locally focused on making decisions and implementing strategies to improve the experience and sustainability of farmer-owners.

Local Values: A cooperative is also locally led by an elected board of directors. These directors guide Co-Alliance’s leadership and principles with a clear line of sight to the value the cooperative must bring to farmers and customers.

Local Return: In the 2023 fiscal year, Co-Alliance donated more than $500,000 back to local communities through support of agriculture education and leadership, food security, and farm and energy safety training. A focus was given to food security in 2023, and through the cooperative’s Planting the Seeds for Food Security initiative, $46,440 was donated directly back to food pantries and food banks in our rural communities.


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