Minnesota is home to two of the county’s largest agricultural cooperatives, CHS Inc. and Land O’Lakes.

About 170 other agricultural cooperatives are also based here, more than in any other state, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

There are 317 cooperatives in the United States that have annual sales greater than $100 million, according to 2017 USDA statistics, the latest data available.

Eleven of the 100 largest agriculture cooperatives are based in Minnesota, and those are all larger than the 50th-ranked public company on the Star Tribune’s list, IntriCon Corp., which had 2018 revenue of $116.5 million.

Cooperatives aren’t immune from consolidation. Data from the USDA show the total number of cooperatives declining each year from 2008 to 2017.

There were 2,475 cooperatives in 2008 compared to 1,871 in 2017. But total full-time employment in the sector has risen the last three years to a high of 140,700 employees.

Private companies

Minnesota is also home to several multibillion-dollar private companies. That includes the nation’s largest private firm, Wayzata-based Cargill Inc., whose annual revenue of $114.7 billion is second only to UnitedHealth Group in Minnesota. 

Forbes magazine publishes a list of the largest private companies in the U.S., and Cargill has been at the top for 28 of the past 30 years.

The Forbes 2018 list includes 225 companies with annual revenue of $2 billion or more.

Five other Minnesota companies made the Forbes list (Mortenson, No. 106; Rosen’s Diversified, No. 144; Schwan Food, No. 145 (Schwan’s was acquired by CJ Foods in February); Andersen, No. 171; and Taylor Corp., No. 212).

Some of the private companies like Cargill make their financial information public, but Forbes uses estimated revenue for a number of companies on its list.

USDA rank, co-op, city, 2017 revenue (millions)

1. CHS Inc., Inver Grove, $32,163

3. Land O’Lakes, Arden Hills, $13,787

12. Associated Milk Producers Inc., New Ulm, $1,693

15. American Crystal Sugar Co., Moorhead, $1,421

48. Bongards Creameries, Chanhassen, $611

55. Central Farm Service, Owatonna, $574

63. West Central Ag Services, Ulen, $471

73. S. Minn. Beet Sugar Co-op, Renville, $419

81. New Vision Cooperative, Worthington, $378

89. Meadowland Farmers Co-op, Lamberton, $341

94. United Farmers Cooperative, Winthrop, $319