Seventy-eight percent of commercial farmers were either members or nonmember patrons of marketing/farm supply cooperatives in 1986 compared with more than 76 percent in 1980. From 1980 to 1986, the percentage of commercial farmers who were members of cooperatives increased from 65 to 66 percent. Nonmember patrons held steady at 12 percent. The biggest change was an increase in percent of members among commercial farmers with sales of $500,000 and over. Members among this group increased from 56 percent in 1980 to 69 percent in 1986. The percentage of commercial farmers with multiple memberships increased and the percentage of farmers with inactive memberships decreased. The percentage using cooperatives for marketing and for purchasing increased. Forty-nine percent used a cooperative for marketing, and 71 percent used a cooperative to purchase farm supplies in 1986. Data for the study were obtained from surveys by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (formerly Statistical Reporting Service), U.S. Department of Agriculture.


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