2011 a Strong Year for Cooperatives

U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says farmer, rancher and fishery cooperatives posted record sales and income in 2011. They surpassed the previous record sales year of 2008 by 10-billion dollars and topped the old income record by 500-million dollars. The announcement was made by USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager to kick-off National Cooperative Month. Tonsager also said co-op employment levels remained strong. Cooperatives employed 184-thousand full-time, part-time and seasonal workers - up slightly from 2010. According to Tonsager - the new cooperative sales and income records underscore the strength and productivity of the nation's farmer and rancher-owned cooperatives and the vital role they play in the nation's economy.

USDA says net income before taxes for all agricultural co-ops was 5.4-billion dollars - that was a jump of more than 25-percent - or one-billion dollars - from 2010. The more than 22-hundred cooperatives surveyed had sales of 213-billion dollars - exceeding 2010 sales by more than

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