Retail farm-supply and grain-marketing cooperative GROWMARK can mark its growth by the grain. A member-owed agricultural co-op, GROWMARK serves farmers in the midwestern US and Ontario, Canada. Founded in 1980, it has more than 100,000 members. Under the FAST STOP name, the co-op runs more than 250 fuel stations and convenience stores in the Midwest. Its Seedway subsidiary sells commercial vegetable seed and farm seed for turf, and grains including alfalfa, corn, wheat, and soybeans. GROWMARK also offers fertilizer, seeds, ethanol, biodiesel, and farm financing. Its MID-CO COMMODITIES subsidiary trades grain and offers advice regarding futures and options.
Cooperation is important within and among agricultural cooperatives. A strong believer in the latter part of this principle, GROWMARK has marketing agreements and alliances with, among others, fertilizer maker and distributor CF Industries, pet-food producer PRO-PET, agribusiness company Syngenta, and rural financial services provider, CoBank. GROWMARK has a joint venture with the Illinois Farm Bureau, called AgriVisor, that offers free grain and livestock marketing analysis, along with brokerage services, new generation cash grain contracts, and premium management practices. Taking cooperation a step further, in early 2011 GROWMARK acquired three fertilizer storage terminals in Illinois and Missouri from CF Industries (CFI). A GROWMARK subsidiary bought a fourth terminal from CFI. Concurrently, GROWMARK acquired another terminal in Illinois. – less