Factbox: U.S. agricultural merchants move to register as cooperatives

(Reuters) - U.S. agricultural merchants are scrambling to register themselves as cooperatives after a blunder in the country’s new tax law gave farmers a tax break for selling grains to co-ops rather than private firms.

The following are details of cooperatives in the U.S.:

- Agricultural cooperatives provide grain handling, seed purchasing and other farm services to its members, who are also the owners of the business.

- Cooperatives handle farm products ranging from corn to dairy to nuts and fruit.

- As owners, a cooperative’s members control its activities through a board of directors and through voting at annual and other membership meetings.

- Cooperatives return profits to their owners through periodic payments known as patronage.

- There are more than 2,500 farmer cooperatives in the United States, according to the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.

- Publicly traded CHS Inc is the largest U.S. cooperative, with revenues of $31.9 billion in 2017.

Sources: National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, CHS, University of California Cooperative Extension.

Reporting by Mark Weinraub and Tom Polansek; Editing by Susan Thomas