A new report from CoBank that was recently released shows that co-op consolidation has been increasing over the past decade, following the trend of consolidation in the overall agricultural industry. Details from the report show that between 2007 and 2017 an average of 70 co-ops were consolidated each year. The pace for co-op consolidation has also hastened with the ag economy downturn, averaging four percent annually in 2016 and 2017.
The report found that Co‑ops have continued to consolidate even as the number of farms and farmers has stabilized. Beginning in 2004 there has been a shift from ‘defensive’ consolidation to ‘offensive’ consolidation as a means of adapting to new market demands and offering greater scale and services. Despite industry challenges, co-ops appear to be maintaining stronger balance sheets on average, employing more people and continuing to show significant value for farmers as a source for cash through patronage distribution.
Listen to the report below.