Southern States Cooperative
|Headquarters||Henrico County, Virginia, United States|
|Area served||East Coast|
Southern States Cooperative is an agricultural supply cooperative owned by more than 300,000 farmers in the United States. Southern States Cooperative supplies small, medium & large commercial farmers with livestock & animal feed, pasture seed, vegetable seed, farm fertilizers, farm supplies, bulk fuel and crop services, including information & products to grow better crops. They also supply homeowners with information & products for their lawn, garden, hobby farm and home. As of 2008[update] there were over 1,200 retail locations in 23 states east of the Mississippi. Southern States Cooperative also maintains a website that enables them to ship products via e-commerce across the United States.
Southern States Cooperative was founded in 1923 as the Virginia Seed Service by 150 farmers in Richmond, Virginia to help develop seeds, it expanded to distribution of feed in 1925, fertilizer in 1926 and farm supplies and petroleum shortly after. The cooperative now also gins cotton, acquires peanuts, and sells fish. Delaware and Maryland were added to the system in 1934, around this time, it adopted the name Southern States Cooperative. West Virginia was added in 1941 and Kentucky in 1945.
In October 1998, Southern States acquired the wholesale and retail farm supply system of Georgia-based Gold Kist, a cooperative that has since become a publicly traded company.
In 2000, Southern States acquired the wholesale business of northeastern organization Agway and then later purchased Cooperative Milling in Gettysburg.
The cooperative tests and adapts seed varieties to different regions. In 1948 it began a hybrid-corn research program, and in 1954 began to set up a series of research farms.
It is a member of the national seed-breeding research organization FFR[disambiguation needed], a research group specializing in forage seed-breeding, owned by a number of cooperatives, founded in 1960. It is also a member of CRF[disambiguation needed] a research group specializing in animal nutrition.