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The Bloomington-based Growmark cooperative has released its end-of-fiscal year financial reports. The co-op announced estimated fiscal year sales of $7.1 billion, down from $8.7 billion last year. It estimated pretax income at $103 million, down from $134 million in its fiscal year 2016, which ended yesterday. At its annual meeting underway in Chicago, Growmark C-E-O Jim Spradlin attributed the numbers to the current rocky farm economy.

At its annual meeting in Chicago, the Bloomington-based co-op gave Illinois Farm Bureau its "Friend of Growmark" award to recognize the organization's 100th year. Spradlin credits county Farm Bureaus with creating Growmark.



Still, the co-op, which not only operates in Illinois but 39 other states and Ontario, plans to return $52-million in patronage refunds to its member cooperatives and farmer-owners.

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