1920 to 1930
During this era, two-thirds of Quebecers lived in the country and practiced some form of agriculture. Some co-operatives were setting-up to supply farmers and process their products. On December 29th, 1922, the Loi de La Coop fédérée received royal consent. This law would consecrate the creation of the Fédération des coopératives agricoles du Québec, through the merger of three co-operatives.
During 1923, Arsène Denis became the first President of La Coop fédérée - known at the time as the Coopérative fédérée de Québec – and a head office was set up in Montréal. La Coop fédérée also developed an important network of branches throughout the province.
In 1927, the provincial government, which took an active part in the funding and the operation of La Coop fédérée, created a team that travelled the province to better inform about the operational principles of co-operatives.
The 1929 stock market crash had repercussions for the agricultural industry. Producers who were in debt to improve their operations suffered from lower prices (a situation that would cause the Québec government to create the Office du crédit agricole. La Coop fédérée was hit hard, but it received the support of the new Minister of Agriculture, Joseph-Léonide Perron, who would submit an ambitious plan to stimulate agricultural development.
1930 to 1950
Beginning in the 1930s, La Coop fédérée was active in four sectors:
- butters and cheeses;
- agricultural fertilizers;
- seeds and mineral fertilizers;
- the sale of farm products.
At the heart of the milk industry there was a long-lasting and fierce competition between La Coop fédérée and Le Comptoir coopératif, created in 1929 by the Union of Catholic Farmers (UCC). The Comptoir was finally integrated into La Coop fédérée in 1938.
Finally, in 1939, a hundred or so co-operative trade unions have affiliated with La Coop fédérée, creating unity within the co-operative movement In 1945, La Coop fédérée modernized its mills and poultry facilities. The dairy sector was reorganized and it entered into farm equipment sales. Continuing its educational role, La Coop fédérée offered courses on the technical aspects of machinery, creating a bond of trust with farmers.
1950 to 1980
During the war, La Coop fédérée became a large company and tripled its number of employees. In the middle of the 50s, the company employed more than one thousand people, becoming a significant economic factor in Québec.
Also in the mid-50s, La Coop fédérée bought the Legrade Company, specialized in the slaughter and sales of meat. Then, in 1958, following a need expressed by farmers, it added petroleum products to its services. By 1974, La Coop fédérée’s oil distribution network had already gathered 58 co-operatives, 12 Fédérée centres and 75 service stations.
In 1966, La Coop fédérée came to the aid of any affiliated co-operative in difficulty by creating the first “Agricultural Coop Center”, with the objective to return companies to co‑operators as fast as possible.
La Coop fédérée took an important step in the poultry sector in 1975 by acquiring Quebec Poultry. Of the 75 million chickens raised by the Quebec poultry breeders, two-thirds are prepared by La Coop fédérée and the co-operatives of Saint-Anselme and Saint-Damase.
In 1977, La Coop fédérée created the hardware and farm machinery sector with the opening of the distribution centre in Trois-Rivières.
1980 to today
La Coop fédérée merged the activities of its meats division, Turcotte & Turmel, with the Olympia Group ltée in 1991. From this merger was born the Olymel company, which is now Canada’s largest exporter of pork and poultry products.
In 1990, Groupe Lactel, a merger of the dairy division of La Coop fédérée and five affiliated co‑operatives, became the largest private exporter of dairy products in Canada.
In 1993, the poultry processing division of La Coop fédérée changed its name to Flamingo Chicken for better brand recognition.
In 1994, Pétroles Sonic became the first Québec distributor to offer fuel containing ethanol and in 2000, La Coop fédérée sold its shares in the Lactel Group to Agropur.
In 2001, Olymel is established in Western Canada with the acquisition of the slaughterhouse Red Deer, in Alberta.
In 2004, the largest agricultural co-operative of Québec changed its image and name to become
La Coop fédérée. This new image reflected the dynamism of a company that, from generation to generation, has inspired the passion of people and the earth. In 2005, La Coop fédérée set up the Porc-Coop to be a first step in the establishment of a genuine pork co-operative.
In 2008, La Coop fédérée acquired Agrico and the Agronomy Company of Canada Ltd, a large fertilizer distribution company, which makes of it the largest distributor of crop production supplies in eastern Canada.
In 2014, La Coop fédérée is the most important agri-food organization in Quebec. It is owned by over 100,000 members grouped into 97 cooperatives located in several Canadian provinces and it is present throughout the agri-food chain.
In 2015, Groupe BMR, in which La Coop fédérée has had a minority stake since 2013, becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary.
In 2016, La Coop fédérée combines its energy distribution activities (Sonic) with those of Groupe Filgo. The La Coop network thus becomes a 50 % partner of the new company created by this merger: le Groupe Filgo-Sonic.
In 2016, La Coop fédérée is the most important agri-food organization in Quebec. It is owned by over 90,000 members grouped into nearly 70 cooperatives located in several Canadian provinces and it is present throughout the agri-food chain. La Coop fédérée employs almost 10,000 people with sales totaling $6.3 billion. Including its affiliated network, La Coop fédérée employs almost 18,000 people with sales of $9.2 billion.