Founded to provide affordable, high-quality seed for Virginia
farmers, Southern States Cooperative has grown into an agricultural
powerhouse, serving its more than 200,000 member/farmers,
mainly in the mid-Atlantic and southern US states. The co-op
makes and/or offers just about everything agricultural to its
farmer/owners, including animal feed and fertilizer; seed
processing; grain marketing; equine health; diesel, propane, and
home-heating services; wholesale farm supplies; financing; and
even bib overalls. Its Southern States and Garden South stores sell
farm supplies, garden products, and fuel through its retail
outlets. Other services include crop services and an aquaculture
The cooperative, based in Virginia, serves 10 core states,
catering to members and non-member customers in 23 Southern States
through 1,200 retail outlets.
Southern States Cooperative operates 120 company-owned retail
stores, managed cooperatives, and agronomy facilities. It enlists
the help of a private dealer network of nearly 580 locations to
distribute products throughout the Southeastern US.
Sales and Marketing
The co-op relies on a dealer network situated mostly in the
Northeastern US, specifically in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, New
York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island,
Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware.
Southern States Cooperative has grown to become one of the
nation's largest agricultural cooperatives. To serve its core
agricultural customers, the co-op established a new Agronomy
Business Unit in 2013. The move involved reorganizing its Wholesale
Crops Division to consist of 67 retail stores located in more than
a dozen high-volume agronomy districts.
To note, demographic shifts are taking place across the
cooperative's region. Among them is urban sprawl, which continues
to extend into rural areas of the country. As a result, the
cooperative boasts increasing numbers of rural, rural-lifestyle,
and suburban customers looking for the same crop-growing services
and advice it provides to its members/farmers. To target this
new segment and translate its efforts into sales, it maintains a
country living/rural lifestyle section on its website.
The co-op is also enlisting the help and technology of Real-Time
Kinematic (RTK). The co-op's Precision Agriculture unit made plans
in 2014 to offer RTK's technology to its customers in the
southeast. RTK is the newest high-tech tool to allow satellite
information from the Global Positioning System (GPS) network to
guide field equipment with high accuracy. It serves planters,
fertilizer applicators, harvesters, and other equipment.
Southern States Cooperative was formed as the Virginia Seed
Service (VSS) in 1923. In 1930 VSS changed its name to Southern