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Farmers find a friend in Fortune 500 firm

by 5m Editor
1 March 2005, at 12:00am

US - A Fortune 500 company that&#39;s almost invisible may be a key to boosting Illinois farm exports, and cushioning the effect of weakened grain prices. The company, with a Fortune rank of 211, is CHS Inc. Based at the equally invisible Inver Grove Heights, Minn., it&#39;s the world&#39;s largest cooperative enterprise of any kind. What it has done is band together 360,000 farmer-owners, operating 1,100 ag cooperatives, into a mammoth collective force with net income of $221 million on volume of $11.2 billion in the fiscal year ended last August. &quot;Japan currently imports about 500,000 bushels of food-grade soybeans per year, primarily for tofu production,&quot; he says. &quot;And the very best soybeans suitable for tofu are the clear white variety grown mainly in Illinois. The demand is clearly there.&quot; Johnson sees another market expansion opportunity for the 49 CHS co-op organizations throughout Illinois by speeding shipments of feedgrain to Southeastern poultry producers who are facing a new demand from Pacific Rim nations. <i>Chicago Sun Times</i>

5m Editor