Co-op 101: What is a cooperative?

National Co-op Month graphic

October is National Co-op Month and a time to celebrate the cooperative model and the strength it brings to local communities.  

“CHS is proud to be part of the cooperative system and we’re driven by our purpose to create connections to empower agriculture,” says Jay Debertin, CHS president and CEO. “Our values of inclusion, integrity, cooperative spirit and safety guide us as we work together for shared success and to strengthen our communities.” 

Do you know what a co-op is? Here we break it down.  

  • What is a cooperative? A cooperative is defined by USDA as a user-owned and controlled business from which benefits are derived and distributed equitably on the basis of use or as a business owned and controlled by the people who use its services.  
  • Who determines policy? The CHS Board is made up of 17 member-owners, elected by the members.  
  • How are profits distributed? The business is operated for a profit; it’s how the profit is divided that makes a co-op unique. Unlike most corporations where the profits are distributed to stockholders, co-ops distribute profits to member-owners on a patronage basis. Patronage is a method of sharing profits among the members. It is based on how much they purchase and the profitability of the co-op.  
  • What kind of co-op system is CHS? CHS is a blended federated and centralized cooperative system. CHS is unique in that along with the federated system of member cooperatives, we also have Country Operations, made up of centralized retail locations dedicated to serve member-owners in their respective geographies. Along with member cooperatives, those member-owners of Country Operations locations vote for board members at the CHS annual meeting or are represented by delegates from their business unit at the annual meeting.  

Help us celebrate National Co-op Month by joining the conversation on social media using #CoopMonth. 

CHS reports $273.6 million in fiscal 2021 third-quarter net income

Closeup of green soybean rows

Strongest third-quarter net earnings since 2014; $50 million of additional owner equity redemptions authorized in 2021

CHS Inc. released results for its fiscal third quarter ended May 31, 2021. The company reported net income of $273.6 million compared to $97.6 million in the third quarter of fiscal year 2020, an increase of 180.2%. Significant year-over-year earnings growth in all business segments — Energy, Ag and Nitrogen Production — and Corporate and Other businesses each contributed to the increase.

Reflecting strong company performance, the CHS Board of Directors has approved $50 million in additional equity redemptions to member cooperatives and individual owners since the December 2020 CHS Annual Meeting. The increase is incremental to $33 million in approved equity redemptions announced at the 2020 annual meeting, for a total of $83 million in planned owner equity redemptions in fiscal 2021. A distribution of $30 million in cash patronage was also made to owners in early calendar 2021, based on business transacted with CHS in fiscal 2020.

“Robust performance across CHS resulted in a very strong third quarter,” said Jay Debertin, president and CEO of CHS Inc. “Strong global demand in agricultural markets and the hard work we have been doing to gain efficiencies across our supply chain led to higher volumes in nearly every business area, significantly improving our Ag segment earnings compared to the prior year’s third quarter.

“We also are seeing increasing momentum in pandemic recovery as restrictions ease and vaccination efforts progress, which has had a favorable impact on our Energy segment results and overall performance.”

Fiscal 2021 third-quarter highlights

  • Revenues of $10.9 billion grew 50.9% from $7.2 billion in the third quarter of fiscal 2020.
  • Earnings were up by more than 40% across all business segments (and Corporate and Other businesses) compared to both the second quarter of fiscal 2021 and the third quarter of the previous fiscal year.

Energy segment results

  • Improved refined fuels margins resulted in fiscal 2021 third quarter margin gains, as did the absence of a $42.0 million noncash charge to reduce refined fuels inventories to their market value that impacted the prior year’s third quarter, but did not reoccur in the third quarter of fiscal 2021.
  • Improved margins in the company’s refined fuels business were partially offset by significantly higher prices of renewable energy credits that had a negative impact on margins of approximately $82.0 million, less favorable pricing on heavy Canadian crude oil and lower propane margins due to the reversal of hedging gains recognized during the prior year.
  • Overall, revenues increased by 24.2% and earnings increased by $59.6 million over the fiscal 2021 second quarter, reflecting volume and margin recovery from the effects of the pandemic.

Ag segment results

  • Strong global demand drove commodity prices higher, and improved trade relations between the United States and foreign trade partners led to continued higher volumes for grain and oilseed, which significantly improved Ag segment earnings compared to the prior year’s third quarter.
  • Higher overall margins were partially offset by mark-to-market losses for certain processing and food ingredients products, which the company expects to reverse over time.
  • Lower volumes of feed and farm supplies were partially offset by increased volumes for agronomy products, stemming from stronger demand due to favorable weather conditions, compared with the previous year’s third quarter.

Other focus areas

  • Nitrogen Production segment earnings increased in the quarter due to higher income attributed to increased sale prices of urea and urea ammonium nitrate.
  • Favorable market conditions for edible oils and a recovery in sales volumes compared to earlier in the pandemic drove significantly increased income through the company’s investment in Ventura Foods, LLC.
  • Focused cost-reduction initiatives, launched in fiscal 2021, continued to gain traction in reducing year-to-date marketing, general and administrative expenses.
  • The company began to bring employees back to its global offices in full or hybrid capacities as pandemic restrictions lifted. The costs of these activities are not expected to be material.

For the nine months ended May 31, 2021, CHS reported net income of $305.0 million versus $401.0 million for the same period in fiscal 2020.

“We are encouraged by overall improvements in the global economy and the positive traction we’re gaining at CHS with initiatives focused on working more efficiently and effectively throughout the enterprise,” said Debertin. “We are optimistic conditions will continue to improve over the next 12 months. The resilience of our employees and their commitment to our owners and customers has been inspiring and we look forward to the future and continued shared success.”

FY2021 Quarter 3 CHS Inc. earnings statement by segment
*Earnings is defined as income (loss) before income taxes

This document and other CHS Inc. publicly available documents contain, and CHS officers and representatives may from time to time make, “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “goal,” “seek,” “believe,” “project,” “estimate,” “expect,” “strategy,” “future,” “likely,” “may,” “should,” “will” and similar references to future periods. Forward-looking statements are neither historical facts nor assurances of future performance. Instead, they are based only on CHS current beliefs, expectations and assumptions regarding the future of its businesses, financial condition and results of operations, future plans and strategies, projections, anticipated events and trends, the economy and other future conditions. Because forward-looking statements relate to the future, they are subject to inherent uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict and many of which are outside of CHS control. CHS actual results and financial condition may differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. Therefore, you should not place undue reliance on any of these forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause CHS actual results and financial condition to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements are discussed or identified in CHS filings made with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the “Risk Factors” discussion in Item 1A of CHS Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2020, and Item 1A of Part II of CHS Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarterly period ended May 31, 2021. These factors may include: changes in commodity prices; the impact of government policies, mandates, regulations and trade agreements; global and regional political, economic, legal and other risks of doing business globally; the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak or other similar outbreaks; the impact of market acceptance of alternatives to refined petroleum products; consolidation among our suppliers and customers; nonperformance by contractual counterparties; changes in federal income tax laws or our tax status; the impact of compliance or noncompliance with applicable laws and regulations; the impact of any governmental investigations; the impact of environmental liabilities; actual or perceived quality, safety or health risks associated with our products; the impact of seasonality; the effectiveness of our risk management strategies; business interruptions and casualty losses; the impact of workforce factors; our funding needs and financing sources; changes in the method of determining, or the replacement of, LIBOR; technological improvements that decrease the demand for our agronomy and energy products; our ability to complete, integrate and benefit from acquisitions, strategic alliances, joint ventures, divestitures and other nonordinary course-of-business events; security breaches or other disruptions to our information technology systems or assets; the impact of our environmental, social and governance practices; the impairment of long-lived assets; and other factors affecting our businesses generally. Any forward-looking statements made by CHS in this document are based only on information currently available to CHS and speak only as of the date on which the statement is made. CHS undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise except as required by applicable law.

Keep your rural road safe

June is National Safety Month. CHS and Nationwide are proud to share a partnership focused on safety. The following information is provided by Nationwide, the #1 farm and ranch writer in the U.S.*

Nationwide logo

Safely navigating large agricultural equipment over rural roads to and from the fields is a challenge for even the best drivers. Nationwide reminds farmers to consider the following rules on the safe operation of equipment to help reduce the risk of motor vehicle collisions.

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CHS Reports Fiscal 2021 Second-Quarter Results

CHS Inc., the nation’s leading agribusiness cooperative, today released results for its fiscal second quarter ended Feb. 28, 2021. The company reported a net loss of $38.2 million versus net income of $125.4 million in the same quarter in fiscal 2020. Significant year-over-year earnings increases in Ag and Nitrogen Production segments and Corporate and Other businesses were offset primarily by ongoing COVID-19 pandemic-related impacts in Energy.

“Improved trade relations between the United States and foreign trade partners combined with our operating efficiency initiatives led to record grain and oilseed volume increases and continued price gains, significantly improving our Ag segment earnings over the prior year,” said Jay Debertin, president and CEO of CHS Inc. “Additionally, favorable growing conditions and overall strength in agriculture, helped drive demand for crop inputs, including crop nutrients and crop protection products and services.

“Our Energy segment, while showing improvement over the previous quarter, continues to experience unfavorable refined fuels market conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and exceptionally higher costs for renewable energy credits. These factors resulted in volume and margin declines that significantly reduced earnings compared to the prior year.”

Fiscal 2021 second-quarter results reflect: 

  • Revenues of $8.3 billion versus $6.6 billion in fiscal 2020 second quarter, a 26.1% increase. 
  • Energy segment impacts that include:  
    • Continued low refining margins stemming from COVID-19-impacts on global energy demand.
    • Exceptionally high costs of renewable energy credits, which decreased margins.
    • Decreased propane margins and volumes due to warm winter weather conditions across the CHS trade territory during most of the fiscal 2021 second quarter.
    • Modest improvements over fiscal 2021 first quarter as volumes and margins began to rebound. 
  • Ag segment impacts that include:  
    • Favorable weather conditions and improved relations between the U.S. and foreign trade partners, including China, that increased volumes of grain and oilseed commodities as well as feed and farm supplies.
    • Higher margins for certain agricultural products, including processing and food ingredients, which improved because of soybean crush strength.
  • Enterprisewide initiatives that include:  
    • Focused cost-reduction initiatives launched in fiscal 2021 that helped reduce marketing, general and administrative costs.
    • COVID-19-related working arrangements and increased hygiene and infection-control processes to mitigate risk and support business continuity – all CHS operations were deemed to be essential infrastructure industries by federal and state governments.

For the six-month period ending Feb. 28, 2021, CHS reported net income of $31.4 million versus $303.3 million for the same period in fiscal 2020. Revenues for the first six months of fiscal 2021 rose to $17.0 billion, a $2.8 billion, or 19.8%, increase from $14.2 billion in the same period the previous year.

“I am encouraged by the resilience of our employees and their commitment to owners in what continues to be a challenging operating environment,” said Debertin. “We are cautiously optimistic about the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and other progress being made in response to the pandemic in the U.S. and around the world and the potential impact on our domestic and global businesses.

“As we look ahead to the second half of fiscal 2021, we remain committed to protecting the financial health of CHS, adding efficiency throughout our enterprise to benefit owners and customers, and caring for those who depend on us as we continue creating connections to empower agriculture.”

CHS income chart

This document and other CHS Inc. publicly available documents contain, and CHS officers and representatives may from time to time make, “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Report Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “goal,” “seek,” “believe,” “project,” “estimate,” “expect,” “strategy,” “future,” “likely,” “may,” “should,” “will” and similar references to future periods. Forward-looking statements are neither historical facts nor assurances of future performance. Instead, they are based only on CHS current beliefs, expectations and assumptions regarding the future of its businesses, future plans and strategies, projections, anticipated events and trends, the economy and other future conditions. Because forward-looking statements relate to the future, they are subject to inherent uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict and many of which are outside of CHS control. CHS actual results and financial condition may differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. Therefore, you should not place undue reliance on any of these forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause CHS actual results and financial condition to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements are discussed or identified in CHS filings made with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the “Risk Factors” discussion in Item 1A of CHS Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2020. Any forward-looking statements made by CHS in this document are based only on information currently available to CHS and speak only as of the date on which the statement is made. CHS undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise except as required by applicable law.

Danger within: Know the risks of grain bin entry

Since 2014, Nationwide and partners including CHS, have provided 150 rescue tubes and grain bin safety training to local fire departments across 29 states to help keep farmers safe.

The interior of a grain bin is one of the most hazardous places on a farm, so the best way to resolve situations with stored grain is safely outside. If you must enter a bin, be sure to know what you might find and plan accordingly.

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CHS to host February-March educational grain webinar series

CHS is kicking off the new year with a series of educational grain marketing webinars.

Tune in to hear from grain experts across CHS as they dive into all aspects of grain marketing, from futures to basis and all things in between. They will also be discussing grain marketing contracts and the benefits and strategies behind each type. All of this is designed to help you get the most out of every bushel.

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CHS reports $69.7 million in first quarter fiscal 2021 net income

Farm equipment in field during harvest

On Jan., 6, 2021, CHS Inc., reported net income of $69.7 million for the first quarter of fiscal year 2021 that ended Nov. 30, 2020. This compares to net income of $177.9 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020.

The results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2021 reflect:

  • Revenues of $8.7 billion compared to revenues of $7.6 billion for the first quarter of fiscal year 2020.
  • Impacts in the CHS Energy segment that included:
    • Exceptionally low crack spreads and other unfavorable market conditions in our refined fuels business, driven primarily by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulted in volume and price declines that significantly reduced earnings in our Energy segment compared to the same period of the prior year.
    • Decreased propane demand that resulted from warmer and drier fall weather during the first quarter of fiscal 2021 compared to the same period of the prior year.
  • Impacts in the CHS Ag segment that included:
    • Improved relations between the United States and foreign trading partners that drove increased volumes and margins for grain and oilseed.
    • Favorable weather conditions during fall harvest compared to the prior year that drove increased volumes and margins across much of our Ag segment.

“Our employees’ commitment throughout the first quarter allowed us to consistently deliver products and services to our owners and customers around the world,” said Jay Debertin, president and CEO of CHS Inc. “A good growing season led to a good harvest season, and we saw commodity price rallies from spring and summer carry into fall. Those good weather conditions led to the highest volume fall fertilizer season we’ve seen since 2013 despite volatility in the nitrogen and phosphate markets.

“Improved trade opportunities with China and improved trade activity in Europe and Africa helped drive first quarter improvement in our global grain business. Our animal nutrition volumes also saw growth in the first quarter of fiscal year 2021,” Debertin said. “We saw year-over-year increases in premium diesel sales with rural America continuing to rely on us for their energy needs. However, our overall Energy segment experienced ongoing challenges on refined fuels margins as the pandemic continues to challenge the energy industry. Throughout the remainder of our fiscal year, we will remain focused on our key priorities including protecting the financial health of CHS, caring for those who depend on us and bringing efficiencies to how we run our businesses and deliver products.”

CHS Inc. FY2021 Q1 Earnings by Segment balance sheet

This document and other CHS Inc. publicly available documents contain, and CHS officers and representatives may from time to time make, “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Report Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “goal,” “seek,” “believe,” “project,” “estimate,” “expect,” “strategy,” “future,” “likely,” “may,” “should,” “will” and similar references to future periods. Forward-looking statements are neither historical facts nor assurances of future performance. Instead, they are based only on CHS current beliefs, expectations and assumptions regarding the future of its businesses, future plans and strategies, projections, anticipated events and trends, the economy and other future conditions. Because forward-looking statements relate to the future, they are subject to inherent uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict and many of which are outside of CHS control. CHS actual results and financial condition may differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. Therefore, you should not place undue reliance on any of these forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause CHS actual results and financial condition to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements are discussed or identified in CHS filings made with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the “Risk Factors” discussion in Item 1A of CHS Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2020. Any forward-looking statements made by CHS in this document are based only on information currently available to CHS and speak only as of the date on which the statement is made. CHS undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise except as required by applicable law.

CHS Inc. owners elect seven board members during CHS Annual Meeting

Officers of board also elected by board peers following annual meeting

CHS Inc. owners elected seven board members to three-year terms during the cooperative’s 2020 annual meeting held virtually Dec. 3 in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. CHS Inc. is the nation’s largest cooperative and a leading global agribusiness company owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the United States.

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