Last year ended on a sour note for CHS, America’s largest farmer- and rancher-owned cooperative. Financial misstatements involving misvalued rail contracts uncovered last fall, determined to be intentional misconduct by a since-fired employee, led the company to significantly overstate its pre-tax profits by as much as $190 million for the past four fiscal years. CHS provides fuel and supplies to farmers as part of agreements to buy and sell their yields; it also makes long-term contracts with rail lines, then sells some of that capacity in the secondary market. Drama aside, the company’s net income for fiscal year 2018 was $775.9 million, an increase of $704 million from the previous fiscal year. With annual revenue of nearly $32 billion, CHS was the fifth-largest business in Minnesota in 2018.
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