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Nearly $900,000 in Patronage and Dividends Delivered to NorthStar Cooperative Stockowners

Farmers in Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin who are stockowners of NorthStar Cooperative recently received an extra check when the organization paid out $430,000 in cash of the Cooperative’s common stock patronage declaration. In total, NorthStar Cooperative declared $861,000 in patronage, which means on average common stockowners received an 8.2 percent return on their 2008 purchases.

“NorthStar Cooperative experienced a successful 2008 and the board of directors elected to share that success with our stockowners,” said Gary Smith, NorthStar Cooperative Executive Vice President and General Manager. “With a solid balance sheet we were able to distribute close to $900,000 to members through common stock patronage and preferred stock dividends. The board elected to pay 50 percent of the patronage dividend in cash, hoping to provide a little relief to our members.”

Recognizing the economic difficulties the dairy industry is facing, the NorthStar board of directors also made available a 5 percent incentive to stockowners who returned their patronage checks to the Cooperative for future purchases. “Clearly members saw the value of this opportunity as NorthStar has credited nearly $10,000 to stockowner accounts who took part in the program,” Smith said.

Along with the $861,000 patronage declaration, the board of directors also approved a 57-cent dividend on shares of Class A Preferred Stock. Payments and reinvestments of more than $21,000 were dispersed to preferred stockowners earlier this year. Additionally, the stated value of Class A Preferred Stock increased 5 percent, bringing its current value to $24.50 a share.

“Along with being able to give back more to stockowners, NorthStar’s strong financial position allowed us to take important steps to support future growth,” Smith said. “Some of our investments in 2008 were used to create an on-line employee learning center; expand reproduction services; introduce a genomically superior young sire lineup (Fertility PRO™); enhance technology for data collection and milk analysis and continue research and development of disease testing options for the milk platform.”

NorthStar Cooperative grew sales by 19 percent for fiscal 2008. With this financial strength, the Cooperative was able to eliminate long-term debt, while returning a substantial amount of the profits back to stockowners. All of the Cooperative’s business units generated positive gains. The A.I. business unit sold 10 percent more semen units; while DHI Services delivered a 5.4 percent increase for cows on test. NorthStar’s non-patronage business unit, Antel BioSystems, Inc. (AntelBio), delivered tremendous growth in revenues and sample volume. The number of samples tested for Johne’s and leukosis through affiliate labs more than doubled compared to the previous year.

NorthStar Cooperative, Inc. is a stock-based cooperative, owned by dairy and beef producers in Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin. Originally formed in 1944 as an artificial insemination cooperative, NorthStar Cooperative, Inc. is now comprised of sales and service for Select Sires, Ag Products and Technologies, DHI Services and Antel BioSystems, an animal disease testing center. Based in Lansing, Michigan, NorthStar provides sales and service to producers, veterinarians and industry members across the United States. For more information, visit