… Iowa Farm Bureau recently reported total revenue of about $100 million, the most of any farm bureau by far and nearly three times that of the influential national umbrella group, the American Farm Bureau Federation. Today its investment portfolio is worth more than a billion dollars… 

 

 

The Iowa Farm Bureau is a small nonprofit. It’s sitting on a huge business empire.

 

by Sky Chadde, Eli Hoff and Mark Ossolinski, The Counter

10.11.2021

 

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, the country’s most profitable farm bureau, influences most aspects of agricultural policy in the state. One profitable loan underscores how large and complex the organization has become.

 

In May, senior executives at the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation finalized a little-noticed financial maneuver that could boost their income for years to come. While a nonprofit, the Farm Bureau owned a highly profitable, publicly traded insurance business, FBL Financial Group. For nearly a year, the executives — whose incomes depended on FBL — had wanted to privatize the company.

 

But the move spurred several lawsuits, with a major investor publicly accusing the Farm Bureau of low-balling the remaining shareholders it was attempting to buy out. To settle, the Farm Bureau paid investors more, and the deal closed this spring.

 

If history is any indication, the move was a smart one, at least for Farm Bureau leaders. A review of public filings, depositions and internal memos show Farm Bureau leaders have benefitted for years from the nonprofit’s majority ownership of the insurance company. The story of FBL also highlights the complicated nature of the modern Iowa Farm Bureau, and the potential conflicts of interest at the heart of the nonprofit organization that sits atop multiple for-profit companies.

 

The political activities of farm bureaus at the state and federal level are well-documented. But the scope of the Iowa Farm Bureau’s sprawling financial operations is less understood. Through expanded investments, it has reaped massive profits. Over the past decade, its total revenue has increased about 200%. And, lately, about 80% of it comes from investments, according to tax documents. No other farm bureau even approaches that ratio.

 

The Iowa Farm Bureau recently reported total revenue of about $100 million, the most of any farm bureau by far and nearly three times that of the influential national umbrella group, the American Farm Bureau Federation. Today its investment portfolio is worth more than a billion dollars. Executive compensation is in the high six figures...

 

The loan ...

 

After the loan ...

 

more, including links, charts

https://thecounter.org/iowa-farm-bureau-small-nonprofit-huge-business-empire/