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Recent News

  • CoBank Donates $227,000 to the ConnectWell Telemedicine Pilot Program

    Posted 1/22/2018

    CoBank, EveryoneOn, Navicent Health and Robin Health, today announced the launch of the ConnectWell pilot program in Macon, Ga. The program, which is funded by CoBank, will provide 100 diabetic patients in rural southwest Georgia an Internet-ready tablet to enable them to manage and monitor their diabetes from home through an application, and a direct connection to physicians at Family Health Center, Navicent Health, a member of Navicent Health Physician Group, in Macon.

    CoBank, a cooperative bank serving agribusinesses, rural infrastructure providers and Farm Credit associations throughout the United States, is funding the project to highlight the efficiency of universal high-speed Internet in rural areas to assist in driving down healthcare costs.

    “More than 70 percent of communities in the US with a shortage to primary care doctors are in rural areas,” said Tom Halverson, president and CEO of CoBank. “Coupled with a staggering lack of access to high-speed Internet, the health of rural America is disadvantaged in comparison to their urban counterparts. This project is an important step forward as a larger proof of concept and we are proud to back it.”

  • CoBank 2018 Year Ahead Report: Forces That Will Shape the Rural Economy

    Posted 1/18/2018

    Expect an expanding global economy, strong U.S. consumer confidence and persistent economic recovery in many rural areas, but temper that optimism with another year of on-farm belt tightening due to lingering financial stress from low commodity prices, says a wide-ranging 2018 outlook report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division.

    “The rural economy is uniquely impacted by what happens in Washington, the broader U.S. economy and around the world,” says Dan Kowalski, vice president of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division. “In the coming year, rural America will rise with the broader economic tide, but it will also contend with persistent barriers to prosperity.”

  • Cage-Free Egg Pledges Yielding to Market Reality

    Posted 12/15/2017

    Food company commitments recently pushed cage-free egg production to new heights, but U.S. egg markets are returning to more normal production growth, producer profitability and specialty egg premiums, according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division.

    “The avian flu outbreak in 2015 caused egg prices to climb and incentivized egg producers to boost output. Coincidentally, 229 major food companies pledged to use cage-free eggs by 2025 just as egg prices went into freefall,” said Trevor Amen, CoBank animal protein economist. “Since then, cage-free production has surged amidst a surplus of inexpensive, conventionally produced eggs.”

    This oversupply has depressed demand for higher priced cage-free eggs, a condition that’s expected to last for the next several months as the conventional supply draws down.

  • Rural Electric Cooperatives to Benefit from Late Adoption of Electric Vehicles

    Posted 12/14/2017

    Urban centers across the country are experiencing strong growth in electric vehicles, driven by high customer satisfaction and financial subsidies. However, the same level of interest has not translated to rural America, where range anxiety is a valid concern according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division.

    Until electric vehicles can travel a minimum of 200 miles on a single charge and are priced similar to internal combustion engine vehicles, adoption in rural communities will likely remain muted.

    “By 2025, penetration of EVs in rural America is expected to remain below one percent, but by the time it reaches three percent of new car sales in rural America, technology will be much better than it is today,” said Taylor Gunn, lead economist with CoBank. “Some rural electric cooperatives will have customers on the edge of urban and suburban America and may want to consider building public infrastructure. But for now – most rural electric cooperatives are unlikely to realize material growth in EVs, limiting any near-term EV-related growth in electricity sales.”

  • CoBank Announces 2018 Board Officers

    Posted 12/14/2017

    CoBank today announced  board officers for 2018.  The CoBank board elects its officers to serve a one-year term commencing January 1 and expiring December 31 each year.

    Kevin Riel will serve as board chair, succeeding longtime board chair Everett Dobrinski. A director since 2014 and first vice chair in 2017, Riel is the president and chief executive officer of Double ‘R’ Hop Ranches, Inc., a diversified farming operation primarily growing hops, together with apples, grapes and row crops, and of Tri-Gen Enterprises, Inc., an agricultural marketing operation, and managing partner of WLJ Investments, LLC, a land holding and management company, all located in Harrah, Washington. He is a former director of Northwest Farm Credit Services, one of CoBank’s affiliated Farm Credit associations, where he served as vice chair and chair, and is board president of the Hop Growers of America, a non-profit association promoting the interests of U.S. growers. 

    Jon Marthedal will serve as first vice chair. Marthedal is the owner and operator of Marthedal Farms in Fresno, California, a grape, raisin and blueberry farming operation. He is also president of Marthedal Enterprises, Inc., a provider of farm management and custom agriculture services, and owner and operator of Keystone Blue Farms, a blueberry farming operation. He serves on the board of The Farm Credit Council.  Marthedal is a director of Sun-Maid Growers of California and of the California Blueberry Commission.  He also serves as president of the California Blueberry Association Board and vice chair of the California Raisin Marketing Board and the Raisin Administrative Committee. Marthedal has served on the CoBank board since 2013, and served as second vice chair in 2017 and as Governance Committee chair in 2016.

    Kevin Still will serve as second vice chair. Still is president and chief executive officer of Co-Alliance, LLP, a partnership of five cooperatives supplying energy, agronomy and animal nutrition, producing swine and marketing grain in Avon, Indiana.  Still is also chief executive officer and treasurer of Midland Co-op, Inc., IMPACT Co-op, Inc., LaPorte County Co-op, Inc., Frontier Co‑op, Inc., and Excel Co-op, Inc., and president of Michiana Agra, LLC, which are agricultural retail cooperatives. He is chair of Local Harvest Food, a food broker, vice president and director of Connexities, LLC, a technology provider, and an advisory board member of Wholestone Farms, a food company.  Still is also an officer of Agronomy Services, LLP, and president of Northwind Pork, LLC, a pork producing operation.  He is the owner and president of Still Farms, LLC, a grain farm. Still has served on the CoBank board since 2002; he has served as the Risk Committee chair since 2008 and served as second vice chair in 2015 and 2016.

  • Growing Global Dairy Demand Sets Stage for US, EU, Oceania Competition

    Posted 12/8/2017

    A growing global demand for milk, coupled with increased production in the U.S., the EU and Oceania, will create aggressive competition for new markets in the future, according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division.

    The regions of the world with the most demand growth are also regions where the conditions are unfavorable or challenging for milk production.

    “As global demand for dairy products grows, the established dairy exporters will rely on and fiercely compete for new markets,” said Ben Laine, senior economist with CoBank. “While all exporters will benefit from global demand growth, the EU stands to extend its reach furthest into these markets barring any major shifts by the U.S. to a global market focus.”

  • Meatless Meat Unlikely to Have Significant Impact on Protein Market in the Near-Term

    Posted 12/6/2017

    Protein products derived from plant sources, insects and cultured meats will be among the top food trends to watch in the coming years. The effect of these efforts on livestock and poultry demand is not expected to be significant in the foreseeable future, according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division.

    Cultured meat developers are in a race to match price and quality to traditional meat offerings. Products currently in development are prohibitively expensive and years away from widespread commercial viability.

    “The future success of alternative meat lies squarely with rising global demand for protein rather than a battle for the existing market share of animal protein food products,” said Trevor Amen, an economist with CoBank. “The road to commercial viability and consumer acceptance of cultured meat is long and this type of product is unlikely to have a marked effect on traditional animal protein demand through at least the next decade.”

  • Grain Elevators Weigh Opportunities for Improved Margins

    Posted 11/29/2017

    The coming year is likely to offer opportunities for grain elevators to secure positive margins, according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division. Significant carry, a weak harvest basis and low transportation rates point to improved margins for 2018. Additionally, a wet fall in the Eastern Corn Belt and Northern Plains will likely improve drying revenue in those areas.

    “A large carryover and another huge crop have created an attractive carry in futures markets, particularly for wheat,” said Will Secor, an economist with CoBank. “Current market conditions will provide elevators with better returns year-over-year if they are able to purchase the grain.”

    U.S. ending stocks for corn and soybeans in 2018 are currently estimated to be the largest since 1987/88 and 2006/07 respectively, but stocks-to-use ratios remain manageable. However, the supply situation for wheat remains more burdensome, with large stocks expected to continue to weigh on the market in the coming year.

  • CoBank Contributes $250,000 to the National Rural Water Association

    Posted 11/21/2017

    CoBank announced today that it is partnering with the National Rural Water Association to underwrite a program that will target and train the next generation of technical workers needed to ensure the future operation of critical water and wastewater systems in rural communities.

    The $250,000 grant from CoBank will assist the NRWA with the creation of the WaterPro Apprenticeship Program designed to address the looming shortage of experienced personnel at water systems throughout rural America. CoBank's support will be in the form of apprentice scholarships and assistance to the NRWA and state rural water associations to launch and market the program.

    Though still in the early stages of development, the program will create a consistent, nationally recognized standard of training for water and wastewater professionals registered with the Department of Labor. DOL registration means greater value for program participants by ensuring the credentials are transferable to and recognized by rural water systems in the U.S. Development and roll-out of the program is expected to occur over the next two years.

    "More than 80 percent of the nation's approximately 50,000 water systems serve populations of less than 10,000 people," said Tom Halverson, CoBank's president and chief executive officer. "These systems deliver a vital service to rural communities, and yet are having an increasingly difficult time finding the next generation of workers with the knowledge and expertise needed to fill technical roles. We are delighted to be partnering with the NRWA on the forefront of this initiative, and look forward to the benefits it will provide rural America."

  • CoBank to Renew No Barriers Program for Rural Veterans

    Posted 11/8/2017

    CoBank today announced that it is renewing its "No Barriers" program for rural veterans with disabilities in 2018.

    The bank is once again inviting customers to nominate disabled veterans from rural communities to take part in the program, which is offered through a partnership between CoBank and the nonprofit organization No Barriers USA. Participating veterans go on wilderness expeditions in Colorado that challenge them physically and mentally and help them overcome the obstacles they face in their daily lives. CoBank will cover the full cost of participation for up to 50 veterans, including travel expenses, and No Barriers Warriors will oversee the expeditions. 

    "In celebration of Veterans Day, CoBank is delighted to announce the extension of this program and proud to continue partnering with our customers for the benefit of rural veterans," said Tom Halverson, president and chief executive officer at CoBank. "America's rural communities are home to millions of men and women who have sacrificed for their country through military service, many of whom are facing some sort of disability. The No Barriers program provides these veterans with an opportunity to challenge their own limitations - both real and perceived - and to create a network of support that can last a lifetime."

  • Cautious Optimism for Next Three Years in Grains, Ethanol Market

    Posted 11/8/2017

    Rising incomes worldwide will underpin global demand and create opportunities for U.S. exports in grains, oilseeds and ethanol according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division. Meanwhile, global commodity surpluses, trade agreement renegotiations, and relative strength of key currencies will set the scope of growth over the next three years.

    “In the absence of major weather disruptions, global grain surpluses are expected to persist over the next three years. Acreage expansions and improvements to yields in competing export hubs will be headwinds for U.S. exports,” said Tanner Ehmke, manager of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division. “The bright spot will be the continual growth in demand. As the global middle class grows, so will the opportunities for U.S. exports.”

    Overall, U.S. grains, oilseeds and ethanol will face mounting competition in export markets, but there are specific considerations for each commodity.

  • CoBank Reports Third Quarter Financial Results

    Posted 11/6/2017

    CoBank today announced financial results for the third quarter and first nine months of 2017.

    Net income for the third quarter was $211.6 million, compared to $231.7 million for the same period last year. The 9 percent decrease resulted primarily from balance sheet positioning activities by the bank, including an increase of $22.8 million in losses on early extinguishments of debt net of prepayment income. For the first nine months of the year, net income increased 2 percent to $734.2 million, primarily due to higher net interest income as well as lower provisions for loan losses and income taxes.

    Net interest income for the quarter rose by 1 percent to $338.5 million, primarily driven by higher average loan volume offset by slightly lower margins in the bank's loan portfolio. For the first nine months of the year, net interest income increased 2 percent to $1,041.8 million. In addition to lower margins, a decrease in fair value accretion income related to CoBank's 2012 merger with U.S. AgBank also negatively impacted net interest income in both the quarter and year-to-date periods.

  • Faye Tate Named CoBanks Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion

    Posted 10/20/2017

    CoBank announced that Faye Tate has been appointed as the bank’s vice president of diversity and inclusion.

    Tate is well-known in the field of diversity and inclusion, having a proven track record in successfully developing and implementing strategic diversity and inclusion plans for multiple organizations. Tate most recently served as the director for global diversity and inclusion with CH2M, a global Fortune 500 company based in Denver. Before she joined CH2M in 2001, she spent six years at Kaiser Hill Company, where she managed diversity and inclusion, and began her career with Colorado National Bank in 1983.

    Tate has received many honors for her work to include being named one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Denver by the Colorado Women’s Chamber and a Woman of Distinction by the Girls Scouts of America (Colorado). She is a graduate of Leadership Denver and has received the Distinguished Warrior Award from The Urban League of Metropolitan Denver, the Ally Award from One Colorado and The Paul R. Hunter Award from the Colorado Human Rights Campaign.

  • Consolidation of Rural Water Systems Prompts Industry Dialogue

    Posted 10/19/2017

    As an increasing number of rural water utilities wrestle with regulatory compliance issues and costly infrastructure needs, debate surrounding the relative benefits and risks of consolidating services with neighboring communities is intensifying.

    Advocates of rural water utility consolidation, also referred to as regionalization, point to the advantages of shared resources and economies of scale. Opponents are quick to raise concerns about the loss of autonomy and control that can result from consolidating water utilities and reference cautionary tales from costly or strained partnerships.

    A new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division examines the key issues and considerations surrounding consolidation of rural water systems. The report includes insights and perspectives from several industry leaders, which will likely prove helpful to any rural utility contemplating a similar partnership.

  • US Packing Capacity Well Prepared for Expanding Beef Production

    Posted 9/26/2017

    As the U.S. beef cattle herd expands over the next two years, beef production is projected to keep pace and increase another three to five percent in 2018 and 2019, according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division. Strong profitability and years of excellent pasture conditions provided the strong footing that has spurred the expansion.

    “The beef herd expansion we’ve seen from 2014 to 2017 has been the most aggressive three-year start to any expansion on record,” said Trevor Amen, animal protein economist at CoBank. “Recent slaughter numbers and the cattle on feed mix indicate the expansion rate is slowing, but barring any significant export market disruptions or weather events, expansion will continue through the end of the decade.”

  • Electric Cooperatives Stepping in to Fill the Rural Broadband Gap

    Posted 9/21/2017

    Broadband telecommunications and internet access have become essential infrastructure for any community’s future prosperity. However, today, people living in rural communities are four times more likely to lack access to broadband than those in urban communities.

    While many remain without access to broadband today, rural electric cooperatives, some of which were formed nearly 80 years ago to bring electricity to rural America, are increasingly making the move into broadband to fill the supply gap.

    A comprehensive 57-page report from CoBank outlines keys to success and lessons learned from six co-ops bringing broadband to their rural customers.  Also, industry experts provide their insights, which will likely prove helpful to other co-ops considering the move.

  • CoBank Announces 2017 Board Election Results

    Posted 9/21/2017

    CoBank today announced results of stockholder elections for the bank’s 2018 Board of Directors.

    A total of five board seats were on the ballot.

  • CoBank Named One Of The World’s Safest Banks By Global Finance Magazine

    Posted 9/19/2017

    CoBank, a leading cooperative bank serving agribusinesses, rural infrastructure providers and Farm Credit associations throughout the United States, has been named to Global Finance magazine's list of the world's safest banks for 2017.

    Global Finance, which covers the financial services industry, publishes its "World's 50 Safest Banks" list annually. Banks are ranked using a methodology that includes total assets and an evaluation of long-term ratings from major rating agencies. CoBank was first named to the list in 2011 and has been included every year since.

    "CoBank's financial strength and stability is important to our customers and critical to our ability to fulfill our mission over the long term," said Tom Halverson, CoBank's president and chief executive officer. "We appreciate receiving this recognition, which reflects our membership in the Farm Credit System as well as the strong financial discipline we use in managing our business operations."

  • Dairy Processors Stretched by Milk Production Gains

    Posted 9/12/2017

    Every year, U.S. dairy farmers produce 3 billion more pounds of milk than the year before. For the past few years, production growth has outpaced processing capacity growth and dairy processors are struggling to keep pace, according to a new report from CoBank's Knowledge Exchange Division.

    As a result, "Dairy processors are faced with the challenge of handling an ever-growing milk supply, while anticipating the right product mix to meet consumer demand," said Ben Laine, senior dairy economist at CoBank. "An additional 27 billion pounds of U.S. milk processing capacity will be needed over the next 10 years if current trends persist."

    Numerous new plants and plant expansion projects are underway or recently completed, but available capacity remains a challenge at times-especially in the Northeast and Mideast areas-and has strained the ability of dairy cooperatives to fill the role of market balancers. Since these co-ops largely bear the brunt of the near-term oversupply of milk, they are increasingly looking for ways to discourage producers from expanding production.

  • CoBank Commits More Than $350,000 to Hurricane Harvey And Hurricane Irma Relief Efforts

    Posted 9/12/2017

    CoBank today announced it has committed more than $350,000 to support relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida and the Southeast. CoBank’s contributions are being made in partnership with customers, CoBank employees and other Farm Credit institutions and will support a number of organizations involved in the humanitarian response to the hurricanes.

    “It is difficult to grasp the full scope of damage caused by these two devastating hurricanes,” said Tom Halverson, CoBank’s president and chief executive officer. “The impact of these disasters will be felt for a long time, but CoBank is committed to supporting our customers, our colleagues and our Farm Credit partners as they begin the process of recovery. CoBank stands with people in impacted communities and is proud to provide a helping hand at this difficult time.”

  • CoBank Announces Changes To Capital Plans And Patronage Programs For Customer Owners

    Posted 8/28/2017

    CoBank announced changes to its capital plans and patronage programs for eligible customer-owners.

    The changes, which take effect in 2018 for patronage distributed in 2019, include reductions in targeted patronage levels and the creation of a separate capital plan for rural electric and water customers. The changes are designed to strengthen CoBank’s long-term capacity to serve customers’ borrowing needs, enhance the bank’s ability to capitalize future customer growth, and ensure equitability among different customer segments.

    "Our board has been working with executive management for close to a year to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the capital plans and patronage programs currently in place at CoBank," said Everett Dobrinski, chairman of the board of directors. "We believe strongly that patronage is a key component of the value proposition we offer our customers, and that these changes strike an appropriate balance between delivering strong patronage returns to our member-owners and maintaining financial strength to serve our customers for the long term."

  • Increase in Ethanol Production Likely to Outpace Near Term Demand

    Posted 8/17/2017

    According to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division, the ethanol market will soon face worsening slim-to-negative profit margins, which could potentially push the industry toward consolidation. However, producers that are well-capitalized with strong balance sheets and cash reserves will be in the best position to weather the softening market. 

    The report, “Ethanol’s Growth Path: Output and Export Uncertainties Both Rising,” outlines how an ethanol market fueled by corn prices at multi-year lows coupled with reinvestment into production capacity will push supply past demand growth.

    “Forecasts indicate that total ethanol production by 2020 will have increased by approximately 850 – 900 million gallons, compared to 2017 levels,” said Tanner Ehmke, CoBank senior economist. “Without a substantial increase in domestic demand or exports to clear excess supplies, ethanol producers are facing a downturn over the medium term. Those who have access to multiple transportation markets and have invested in new technology will be leaner and more cost efficient enabling greater flexibility to endure prolonged periods of low prices.”

  • CoBank Reports Second Quarter Financial Results

    Posted 8/7/2017

    CoBank today announced financial results for the second quarter and first six months of 2017. The bank experienced loan volume growth in all three of its operating segments, and credit quality and earnings remained strong.

    Net income for the second quarter increased 7 percent to $259.8 million, compared to $243.3 million in the second quarter of 2016. For the first six months of 2017, net income was $522.6 million, a 7 percent increase from $486.6 million in the same period of 2016. The bank benefited during the quarter and year-to-date periods from a lower provision for loan losses. No provision was taken during the second quarter of 2017, compared to a $20 million provision in the same period last year. Provisions for loan losses in the first six months of 2017 totaled $15 million, compared to $28 million in the prior-year period.

    Net interest income for the second quarter was $347.2 million, an increase of 0.4 percent from $345.9 million in the same period last year. For the first six months of the year, net interest income increased 3 percent to $703.3 million, compared to $682.8 million for the first six months of 2016. Higher average loan volume was a key driver of the increase for both the quarter and year-to-date periods, partially offset by decreases in fair value accretion income related to CoBank's merger with U.S. AgBank in 2012.

  • CoBank Announces Redemption of $500 million in Subordinated Notes

    Posted 6/19/2017

    CoBank today announced that is has redeemed $500 million of subordinated notes originally issued in 2007 with a 10-year call date.

    “Recent changes to capital regulations provide less favorable capital treatment for subordinated debt instruments. Coupled with the bank’s strong capital ratios and capacity, and as part of our long-term capital strategy, it is prudent for the bank to redeem these notes now,” said CoBank Chief Financial Officer David P. Burlage. “We will continue to evaluate a range of capital market strategies in order to ensure our capacity to serve customers and optimize the cost and effectiveness of our capital.”

    On April 17, 2017, the bank announced the intention to redeem the notes after receiving approval from its regulator, the Farm Credit Administration, on April 13, 2017. The notes have been redeemed at par, together with accrued and unpaid interest to, but excluding, the redemption date (less any applicable tax withholding as require by law). The redemption and paying agent for the redemption is The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A.

  • US Pork Industry Expanding in Response to Rising Global Demand and Strong Profitability

    Posted 6/15/2017

    Strong profitability and rising global demand create a strong incentive for U.S. pork processors to expand capacity. The impending increase in demand for hog supplies will create favorable terms for producers, while intensified competition among processors could lead to a short-term compression in packer margins, according to a new report from CoBank.

    "U.S. pork packing capacity will increase eight to ten percent by mid-2019, when five processing facility construction projects are complete and fully operational," said Trevor Amen, an economist with CoBank who specializes in animal protein. "Hog production is expected to increase two to four percent in both 2017 and 2018 to meet the demand for more supplies, with the bulk of the increased production coming from small to mid-size pork producers in the Midwest."

    Three new state-of-the-art pork processing facilities with the capacity to process more than 10,000 hogs per day are currently under construction. Two of the facilities are being built in Iowa and one in Michigan. Two smaller plants with daily capacities of less than 5,000 head are being renovated in Missouri and Minnesota.

  • Surging Demand for Organic Produce Widens US Supply Gap

    Posted 6/8/2017

    Produce processors and retailers are finding it increasingly difficult to secure sufficient supplies of organic produce, as domestic demand continues to rise at a pace that exceeds production, according to a new report from CoBank. The dollar value of U.S. organic produce sales doubled from 2011 to 2015 and annual sales now amount to $5.5 billion. Currently, 15 percent of all U.S. produce sales are organic. While organic acres have nearly doubled over the last decade, that pace of supply-side growth has been sluggish relative to demand.

    “Sales of organic fruit, vegetables and nuts have increased dramatically in recent years and this growth trend will continue,” said Christine Lensing, CoBank senior economist, specialty crops. “More than half of U.S. households are now purchasing some organic produce. But for a variety of reasons, production has not been keeping pace with demand and the supply gap is widening.”

  • Bloomberg: U.S. Agriculture 'Vulnerable' Amid Trade Risks Farm Lender Says

    Posted 5/9/2017

    By Shruti Date Singh

    U.S. agriculture is in a worse position than it was just a few years ago to withstand the effects of losing access to a big export market, according to one farm lender, who cited the risks from rising trade tensions.

    “We are already in a vulnerable position,” Tom Halverson, chief executive officer of Greenwood Village, Colorado-based CoBank ACB, said in an interview. “We hope, trust and believe that we will not intentionally or inadvertently step into a dispute that damages our access to those markets.”

    President Donald Trump has taken the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and talked of withdrawing from or renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. His claims that Mexico is gaining an unfair advantage from Nafta has prompted the country to make overtures to Brazil and Argentina about securing farm supplies as an alternative to U.S. imports.

  • CoBank Reports 2017 First Quarter Financial Results

    Posted 5/4/2017

    CoBank today announced financial results for the first quarter of 2017. Net income for the quarter rose 8 percent to $262.8 million, primarily driven by higher net interest income and noninterest income, partially offset by a higher provision for loan losses and increased operating expenses. Net interest income for the quarter increased 6 percent to $356.1 million, from $336.9 million in the same period last year, primarily due to higher average loan volume.

  • Consumer Demand Drives Organic Milk Industry Expansion

    Posted 4/11/2017

    Despite the current excess supply environment, rising demand points to a bright future for the U.S. organic milk industry, leading a record number of dairies to transition to organic milk production according to a new report from CoBank. Organic milk generates the highest sales of any certified organic commodity, and steady demand growth will lift organic fluid milk market share and further stimulate product innovation.

    “The substantial gap between organic and conventional on-farm milk prices, combined with more price stability, is driving the transition,” says Ben Laine, CoBank senior dairy economist. “We are seeing increasing herd sizes for many existing organic dairies looking to take advantage of size efficiencies and price premiums.” Read more...

  • CoBank Announces Launch Of 2017 Sharing Success Program

    Posted 3/23/2017

    CoBank, a cooperative bank serving agribusinesses, rural infrastructure providers and Farm Credit associations throughout the United States, today announced the renewal of its Sharing Success program for 2017. The $3 million fund is a cornerstone of CoBank’s corporate citizenship efforts, matching donations by the bank’s cooperative and other eligible customers to nonprofit organizations in their communities.

  • CoBank Announces $150,000 Matching Fund to Support Wildfire Relief Efforts in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas

    Posted 3/16/2017

    CoBank today announced it is launching a $150,000 charitable fund to support wildfire relief efforts throughout the states of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

    Recent fires have impacted farming and ranching communities in all three states, burning hundreds of thousands of acres, destroying property and killing livestock. In Kansas, an estimated 700,000 acres have burned throughout more than 20 counties in the state’s southwest and central regions. In Oklahoma, the Forestry Service has estimated that approximately 400,000 acres have burned and a state of emergency has been declared in 22 counties. An estimated 325,000 acres have burned throughout the Texas panhandle.

    “These wildfires have had a devastating impact,” said Tom Halverson, CoBank’s president and chief executive officer. "CoBank is committed to working hand-in-hand with our customers, other Farm Credit organizations and local relief agencies to support farmers, ranchers and other victims of these fires in impacted communities.” Read more...

  • Citigroup's Timothy Curran Appointed As CoBank Chief Risk Officer

    Posted 3/15/2017

    CoBank today announced that Citigroup's Timothy Curran has been named as the bank's new Chief Risk Officer.

    Curran, 51, currently serves as Head of Risk Management for Citi's Treasury & Trade Solutions business, which provides cash management and trade finance services to multinational corporations, financial institutions and public sector organizations around the world.  Curran previously served as Managing Director / Head of Risk Management for Citi Holdings, which was established in the wake of the 2008-2009 financial crisis to dispose of Citi's distressed and non-core assets. Before that he served in a variety of other executive positons with the company, including senior credit officer for Citi's power, energy, chemicals, mining and metals loan portfolio and as senior market risk officer for commodity trading. Prior to joining Citi in 2003, Curran worked in risk management and other roles for FleetBoston Financial Corp., BankBoston, Cargill and a number of other firms. A graduate of Boston College, Curran is a former U.S. Army Reserve captain and a veteran of the 1991 Gulf War. He also holds a Chartered Financial Analyst designation. Read more...

  • CoBank Reports Full Year Financial Results for 2016

    Posted 2/23/2017

    CoBank today announced financial results for the full year and fourth quarter of 2016.

    Net income for the year rose 1 percent to $945.7 million, reflecting increased net interest income offset by a greater provision for loan losses as well as higher Farm Credit insurance fund premiums and other operating expenses. Net interest income increased by 7 percent to $1.4 billion, as a result of higher loan volume and increased earnings from balance sheet positioning, partially offset by lower spreads in the bank's loan and investment portfolios. CoBank's average loan volume increased 10 percent in 2016, to $91.6 billion, driven by higher levels of borrowing from affiliated Farm Credit associations, grain cooperatives, food and agribusiness companies, rural electric cooperatives and communications service providers.

    For the fourth quarter of 2016, net income was $227.3 million compared to $236.3 million in the same period of 2015. Earnings declined primarily due to a $15 million provision for loan losses taken during the fourth quarter of 2016, which more than offset the positive impacts of higher net interest income. Net interest income for the quarter increased 3 percent to $345.0 million as a result of higher average loan volume. Average loan volume increased 7 percent during the period, to $93.2 billion. Read more...

  • Tom Halverson Appointed Chief Executive Officer Of CoBank

    Posted 1/3/2017

    CoBank announced today that the board of directors has appointed Tom Halverson as chief executive officer of CoBank. Halverson succeeds former CEO Bob Engel, who stepped down on December 31, 2016.

    "We are delighted to have Tom formally in his new role and leading CoBank forward into the next chapter of its history," said Everett Dobrinski, chairman of the CoBank board of directors. "We're pleased to have successfully completed the CEO succession process and remain focused on ensuring the bank continues to fulfill its important mission in rural America."

    Halverson joined CoBank in 2013 and previously served as chief banking officer, with responsibility for all lending operations. Prior to CoBank he spent more than 16 years in a variety of executive positions with Goldman Sachs, including managing director and chief of staff for Goldman Sachs Bank USA, head of credit risk management for Goldman Sachs in Asia (ex-Japan) and executive director of credit risk management and advisory in London. Before joining Goldman Sachs, he served as principal credit officer for country risk at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Halverson holds a bachelor's degree from Wabash College in Indiana and a doctorate in war studies from King's College London. Read more...

  • Bill Davis Appointed As CoBank's Chief Credit Officer

    Posted 12/28/2016

    CoBank today announced  that Bill Davis has been appointed as the bank's new Chief Credit Officer.

    Davis currently serves as Chief Credit Officer for Omaha-based Farm Credit Services of America, one of the largest associations in the Farm Credit System. In addition, Davis is the Chief Credit Officer for Frontier Farm Credit, a CoBank affiliated association based in Kansas that operates under a strategic alliance with FCSAmerica. Combined, FCSAmerica and Frontier have over $27 billion in assets and serve more than 55,000 agricultural producers across five states. Previously, Davis was FCSAmerica's Senior Vice President of Credit and before that Director of Credit Underwriting. Prior to joining FCSAmerica, he held senior credit positions with Farm Credit Services of Western Missouri and the Farm Credit Bank of St. Louis. He began his career as an assistant vice president and branch manager with the Federal Land Bank Association in Missouri. Read more...

  • CoBank Shareholders Approve Bylaw Amendments And Preferred Stock Revolver

    Posted 12/19/2016

    CoBank announced  that shareholders have approved an amendment to the bank’s capitalization bylaws and a preferred stock revolver that provide increased capital flexibility regarding the use of preferred stock.

    Previously, the bank’s capitalization bylaws limited CoBank to $1.5 billion in outstanding preferred stock at any one time. The bylaw amendment and preferred stock revolver, which had been endorsed by the board of directors, increase the cap to $2.5 billion and provide shareholder authorization for the bank to issue preferred stock on an as-needed basis up to the new limit through December 31, 2026.  Any preferred stock issuances would still require approval from CoBank’s board of directors and its independent regulator, the Farm Credit Administration. Read more...

  • Milk Prices Poised for Modest Improvement

    Posted 12/9/2016

    After a few years of significant challenge, the outlook for U.S. milk producers is beginning to improve, according to a new report from CoBank. Despite projected supply increases, milk prices are poised for modest improvement in the years ahead thanks to new export opportunities and gains in processing and production efficiency.

    “We’re seeing dairy farm expansions, meaning producers are hopeful that prices will increase from today’s levels,” says Ben Laine, senior economist at CoBank. “These dairies are banking on the future and on global growth. We believe that there is cause for cautious optimism given prospects for strengthened international demand and the industry’s long track record of innovation.”

    U.S. dairies will produce over 225 billion pounds of milk in 2020 – approximately 7 percent higher than today’s output, according to projections from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And domestic demand for milk and milk products will remain relatively flat, given the maturity of the U.S. consumer market. Nonetheless, Laine says, the industry is poised to benefit from overseas demand in Asia, Latin America and Africa driven by population growth and increased middle class consumption. Read more...

  • Global Commodity Oversupply and Industry Consolidation to Reshape US Grain and Farm Supply Industries

    Posted 12/8/2016

    A confluence of market factors will dramatically reshape the U.S. grain and farm supply industries between 2017 – 19, according to new report from CoBank. Continued low commodity prices, increased foreign competition and the strong U.S. dollar will stress U.S. crop and animal supply chains leading to more industry consolidation, which will introduce the next phase in the evolution of the agricultural industry.

    Prices across the crops sector will continue to remain low as a result of a significant global oversupply. While low commodity prices are also boosting consumption and overall global demand, strong production will continue to outpace demand over the next three years, barring a severe weather event in a major agricultural producing country. 

    “The U.S. grain and farm supply industries have reached another historic inflection point that will be good news for some and bad news for others,” said Tanner Ehmke, CoBank senior economist and author of the new report. “The co-ops that thrive through this cycle will be those that offer innovative products and services to their farmer customers, are earnest and unrelenting in controlling costs, are properly aligned in the industry chain, and focused on risk management. These co-ops ultimately end up well positioned as the industry realigns.” Read more...

  • Record Crop Yields Lead to Grain Storage Crunch Higher Profits For US Elevators

    Posted 12/7/2016

    Exceptional harvests have created a storage capacity crunch at U.S. elevators and are contributing to a brighter economic outlook for elevator operators, according to a new research report from CoBank.

    Record yields of corn, soybeans and grain sorghum are competing for storage space with the large wheat inventories harvested earlier this season. At the same time, futures markets are also incentivizing farmers to store crops well into next year. As a result, the value of grain storage space is on the rise, and storage shortages have been widely reported across the Western Corn Belt, and Central and Southern Plains regions.

    “This year’s crop abundance is a welcome change for grain elevators that suffered depressed profits last year,” says Tanner Ehmke, a senior economist at CoBank and author of the new report. “With demand for storage being the highest in recent years, elevators will benefit from collecting more on storage fees in addition to capturing substantial carry in the futures market and the ability to buy basis at a much cheaper level than last year.” Read more...

  • CoBank Mourns The Death Of Board Member Bill Squires

    Posted 11/21/2016

    CoBank announced today that Bill Squires, a member of the board of directors, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, November 18, 2016.

    Squires had been an elected member of the board since 2015. He was chief executive officer of Blackfoot Telephone Cooperative in Missoula, Montana. He was also the chairman of the board for Alaska Power & Telephone Company and a director for a number of other communications service providers and industry trade organizations.

    "Bill was an outstanding director for CoBank, and we are all tremendously saddened by this tragic news," said CoBank Chairman Everett Dobrinski. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Bill's entire family, and we extend our heartfelt sympathies to them for their loss." Read more...

     

  • CoBank Launches "No Barriers" Program For Veterans With Disabilities From America's Rural Communities

    Posted 11/10/2016

    CoBank, a cooperative bank serving agribusinesses, rural infrastructure providers and Farm Credit associations throughout the United States, today announced it is launching a new program for veterans with disabilities from America's rural communities.

    In partnership with its customers and the nonprofit group No Barriers USA , CoBank will sponsor up to 50 veterans from rural areas across the U.S. to participate in outdoor expeditions that challenge them mentally and physically and help them to transform their lives.

    Cooperatives and other eligible CoBank borrowers will be able to nominate veterans from their local communities to participate in the No Barriers Warriors program, with CoBank covering the full cost for each veteran, including travel expenses. Selected veterans will go through the program in 2017.

    "Every American owes an enormous debt of gratitude to the men and women who serve in the armed forces and protect our country," said Bob Engel, CoBank's chief executive officer. "Those who are wounded or injured in the course of duty are even more deserving of our thanks. At CoBank, we want to do our part to honor veterans and repay them for their service to the nation."

  • CoBank Announces Board Election Results

    Posted 9/21/2016

    CoBank today announced results of shareholder elections for the bank's 2017 Board of Directors.

    A total of four board seats were on the ballot. CoBank is in the process of a shareholder-approved downsizing of its board and will have 23 elected directors from six regions in 2017. The bank’s governance bylaws also call for two outside, independent board members with no customer or Farm Credit affiliation and up to four additional appointed directors.

  • CoBank Again Named To Worlds 50 Safest Banks List

    Posted 9/12/2016

    CoBank has been named to Global Finance magazine’s list of the world’s safest banks for a sixth consecutive year.

    Global Finance, which covers the financial services industry, publishes the “World’s 50 Safest Banks” list annually. Banks are ranked using a methodology that includes total assets and an evaluation of long-term ratings from major rating agencies. CoBank was first named to the list in 2011.

    “Supporting rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services is central to CoBank’s mission,” said Robert B. Engel, CoBank’s chief executive officer. “Market conditions in many of the industries where our customers operate can be volatile, and our bank’s financial strength helps these critical rural businesses to grow and thrive. We are pleased to have earned this distinction for the sixth year in a row, as we believe it reflects our bank’s commitment to financial stewardship while providing exceptional value to our customers.”

    The ranking will be published in the November issue of Global Finance. Further information is available at the magazine’s web site at www.gfmag.com.

  • Farm Supply Co-ops and Other Ag Retailers Face Tighter Margins, Cyclical Challenges

    Posted 8/25/2016

    Accounts receivable at farm supply co-ops and other ag retailers are growing and so are their challenges, according to a new report from CoBank. After an extended run of impressive financial performances, retailers are adjusting to a tougher economic environment accompanying the down-phase of the current ag commodity cycle.

    Current headwinds are directly related to a sharp decline in commodity prices that has reduced farm income and tightened farm cash flows. A downturn in fertilizer prices and a spate of mergers and acquisitions in the seed and fertilizer industry have aligned to create adversity for ag retailers going forward.

    “The drop in farm income over the past three years is the steepest decrease since the Depression,” says Tanner Ehmke, CoBank senior economist covering, the grains, oilseeds and ethanol, and farm supply sectors. “Producer incomes have fallen more than 50 percent from 2013 to today and their debt-to-income ratio is on the rise. Not surprisingly, total accounts receivable for ag retailers posted an 11 percent gain for 2015, and that’s expected to grow in the year ahead due to ongoing farmer cash flow challenges.”

  • CoBank Reports Second Quarter Financial Results

    Posted 8/4/2016

    CoBank today announced financial results for the second quarter and first six months of 2016. Net income for the second quarter increased 5 percent to $243.3 million, compared to $232.3 million in the second quarter of 2015.  For the first six months of 2016, net income was $486.6 million, a 5 percent increase from $464.6 million in the same period last year. The increases in earnings primarily resulted from higher net interest income, partially offset by higher provisions for loan losses, increases in operating expenses and lower overall noninterest income in the 2016 period.

    Net interest income for the second quarter was $345.9 million, a 12 percent increase compared to $309.4 million in the same period last year. For the first six months of the year, net interest income increased 9 percent to $682.8 million, compared to $624.6 million for the first six months of 2015. The increases in net interest income were primarily driven by higher average loan volume and increased earnings on balance sheet positioning, somewhat offset by spread compression in the bank’s loan portfolio due to continued strong competition and a higher cost of short-term debt.

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