INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana-based agriculture and energy cooperative Co-Alliance Cooperative, Inc. is welcoming a new year by paying $45 million in patronage to eligible farmer-members who did business with the cooperative in 2022. This amount represents an unprecedented cash return as a member owned business and is reflective of the profitable year the cooperative business saw.
Fifty-one percent of Co-Alliance’s 2022 net income will be paid back in patronage. The remaining profit will be reinvested into the cooperative’s assets to ensure Co-Alliance is prepared to service today’s member owners and the next generation of farm families.
Co-Alliance leads the industry with this type of patronage payment amounts.
Farmers become members of the cooperative by completing a membership application and running an active farm operation. The amount of patronage paid back to each member is based upon the volume of business they completed with the cooperative in the fiscal year. Approximately 5.5% of the members’ business is being paid back this year.
“Our cooperative has seen a record year in business because of the partnership we have with our farmer-members. When the cooperative profits, we ensure a percentage of those dollars go back to our farmer-members. This year more than half of our profits were returned to our local farm families. That is a very clear benefit of doing business with the cooperative,” said Kevin Still, Co-Alliance President and CEO. “Co-Alliance ensures that we are delivering our profits to Main Street, not Wall Street.”
The $45 million back in members’ hands will revitalize rural landscapes as members spend money in their communities and invest in local organizations. 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.
“The local communities we serve benefit greatly from this record patronage amount being paid back. When we pay back our farmer-members, they invest in local businesses and ventures. The cooperative spirit is exemplified through this patronage pay out,” remarked Tim Burke, Co-Alliance Chairman of the Board. “It is advantageous to pay attention to what businesses are investing in local communities and which ones are draining them. There is no question Co-Alliance is working to improve our communities.”
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.
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.
Finally, a cooperative makes a tremendous investment in local communities. In the 2022 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.
“The patronage system is one of the great strengths of the co-op business model. It shows that when the cooperative is prosperous, farmers are successful,” said Chuck Conner, President and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. “Co-ops are uniquely positioned to make sure that these benefits are reinvested throughout their local communities. With such a strong patronage announcement this year, Co-Alliance demonstrates the advantage of co-op principles and how they help advance the economic sustainability of their members.”
Co-Alliance will have its annual meeting on Jan. 10 at its Indianapolis office at 11 a.m. EST. Company update meetings will also take place on Jan. 11 in Laporte, Ind., at 11 a.m. CST and Jan. 13 in Richmond, Ind., at 11 a.m. EST.
Co-Alliance Cooperative, Inc. is a member-owned supply and marketing operation delivering innovative solutions for farmermembers and customers across Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan specializing in agronomy, propane, fuels, grain, seed, hog production and feed. The customer-focused company strives to deliver on its collective mission to lead with people and technology, grow profitably, give back locally, and remember its cooperative roots.
— Co-Alliance Cooperative, Inc.