Inventory Control for Farm Supply Cooperatives

Phil Kenkel

Bill Fitzwater Cooperative Chair, Oklahoma State University

Inventory investment represents over 50% of current assets and 25% of total assets for the typical farm supply cooperative. Many managers fail to appreciate fully the true costs of carrying inventory, which include not only direct costs of storage, insurance and taxes, but also the cost of money tied up in inventory. These cost total 10-30% of the inventory value for the typical farm supply cooperative.  Typical contributions to holding costs

What Should Be Included in A Community Supported Agriculture Agreement?

In a typical community supported agriculture (CSA), members pledge to help cover the anticipated costs of the farm’s production for part or all of the growing season. In return, the members receive a portion of the farm’s crops over the period of time specified in the CSA membership agreement, usually summer through early fall. The CSA model allows farmers to get needed capital at the start of the growing season while providing members with fresh locally produced fruits, herbs, meats,

Grain Handlers Guide to Aflatoxin

Phil Kenkel and  Kim Anderson

Aflatoxins, metabolites of the fungus aspergilus flavus, A.parasiticus and A.nomis are potent liver toxins and carcinogens in animals.  Aspergilus flavus is common in corn and cotton seed mill.  A.parasiticus is more common in peanuts.  Growing season conditions associated with drought and high temperature during grain fill are associated with aflatoxin contamination.  In order to detect aflatoxin, proper sampling and testing is essential.  Postharvest aflatoxin contamination can develop when grain in improperly managed or stored.


Causes of Fertilizer Price Volatility

Phil Kenkel

Bill Fitzwater Cooperative Chair, Oklahoma State University

Prices of nitrogen, phosphate, and potash fertilizers began increasing in 2002 and then increased sharply and reached historic highs in mid-2008. During the 12 month period between April 2007 and April 2008, nitrogen prices increased 32%, and the price of phosphate and potash nearly doubled. The USDA Index of Prices Paid by Farmers for Fertilizer, which reflects all types of fertilizer and has a base period of 1990-92, increased by 216

Non-Member Preferred Equity

As discussed in the “preferred stock” section, cooperatives can issue preferred stock to both members and non-members.  Preferred stock is typically non-voting and has proportional-to-capital dividends.  Preferred stock has a senior claim on assets in respect to common stock and liquidation and typically has a senior claim on dividends.  Approval rights or performance benchmarks may also be required before the cooperative can redeem common equity.  Preferred stock may or may not have a redemption date. 

Preferred shareholders may be given

Cooperative Grain Marketing Alliances


Post-harvest wheat fields outside Walla Walla, WA
Photo by: Daniel Parks

            Grain marketing cooperatives are an important part of the U.S. grain marketing system, accounting for over $22B in sales in 2001 (USDA, 2001).  The traditional role of these firms was to enable their farmer members to capture economies of scale and size in grain assembly, storage and cleaning.  In pursuit of further economies, a system of federated regional grain cooperatives also developed.  Under the federated system local cooperatives had the opportunity, but not the obligation, …

November/December Issue of Rural Cooperatives Magazine Released

USDA Rural Development has released the November/December 2013 issue of Rural Cooperatives magazine.

This issue of the magazine features the article, ‘Growing a Cleveland Renaissance,’ on Green City Growers (GCG) cooperative greenhouse. The urban greenhouse, which is owned and operated by its 25 workers, provides new jobs and local foods in a struggling neighborhood. With 3.25 acres of growing area, this large-scale greenhouse raises a number of varieties of high-quality lettuce and other leafy vegetables hydroponically.

The November/December 2013 …

Madeline Schultz, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Photo of Madeline Schultz

Madeline Schultz joined the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Value Added Agriculture Program in 2003. Extension provides practical education you can trust to help people, businesses and communities solve problems, develop skills, and build a better future. Madeline provides practical  Her agricultural business development activities include cooperative development, business planning, risk management, market analysis and group facilitation. She is Co-Director of the Annie’s National Network Initiative for Educational Success where she helps educators in 36 states offer Annie’s Project, …

Agricultural Cooperatives: Economics, Opportunities and Structure in a New Era of Food, Fiber and Fuel

Phil Kenkel
Bill Fitzwater Cooperative Chair, Oklahoma State University
Cooperative businesses are an important part of the U.S. economy and are particularly prevalent in the agricultural sector. Cooperatives operate under a business model that generates unique challenges in finance management, governance, strategy and communication. These unique challenges and the prevalence of cooperatives in U.S. agriculture have encouraged research and education efforts by agricultural economists since the early 1900’s. Cooperatives were included as a part of the mission of the Cooperative