Happy National Co-op Month! Cooperatives bring a variety of resources and services to consumers. From agriculture, utilities, finance and more, these organizations play an important role across the United States. Not only do they expand options to consumers, but they bring increase economic resources for rural communities too.
There are more than 40,000 cooperative businesses in the United States with 350 million members (many people belong to more than one co-op). These cooperatives generate $514 billion in revenue and more than $25 billion in wages, according to a study conducted by the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, with support from USDA Rural Development.
An agricultural cooperative is a “formal form of farmer collective action for the marketing and processing of farm products and or for the purchase and production of farm inputs.” Cooperatives strive to effectively meet the needs of the farmer by ensuring that high-quality farm products or supplies are available. The objective of a cooperative is to provide the feed, seed, and fertilizer that is going to produce the best yield rather than those most beneficial to the cooperative’s net margins.
Cooperatives assist in helping farmers to remain competitive in a number of ways. Co-ops raise the price of the products marketed and reduce the cost of products purchased. They reduce the cost of supplies by providing products and services to their members at a lower cost; thus decreasing the average market price due to price adjustments in other organizations.
Studies show that consumers want to do business with companies that share their values, making today’s environment ideal for cooperatives and their commitment to the communities in which their members live and work. Cooperatives fill needs and keep thriving communities going and this month recognizes those successes and challenges us to seek out the possible solutions.
To learn more about the benefits of the cooperatives in your area visit cooperative events near you or take part in Co-op Month activities. For ideas and more information, visit www.coopmonth.coop to learn more. Use #CoopMonth to share on social media.
It's no secret that many companies rely heavily on consumer-generated data to inform many activities, from product development and strategic planning to targeted marketing campaigns. When the information is used effectively, however, it is the consumer who may ultimately benefit, as it can enable companies to enhance the customer experience and provide innovative products and services. But how willing are consumers to provide their information, and what concerns do they have about sharing and protecting it?
Have consumer privacy concerns changed over the last decade?
Data security remains a hot-button issue, with a variety of well-known and respected companies reporting that the data of more than 250 million of their consumers were stolen or compromised in 2014 alone. As connected products become more common, many industry observers expect consumer concerns over data security to rise further.
Given the ever-present threat that their information may fall into the wrong hands, it’s not surprising that 81 percent of our US respondents feel they have lost control over the way their personal data are collected and used. What is surprising, though, is that—across the world—this sense of losing control has actually returned to a level close to what it was in 1999 after spiking in 2014.
Across the board, consumers appear more willing to share data when they feel they get some value in return. Seventy-nine percent of our respondents agreed that they would be willing to share their data if there was a clear benefit for them. This means that companies should consider thinking about giving consumers a return on data. Whether it is something that entertains, informs, or rewards the consumer, companies should understand that many consumers may provide information in exchange for something that benefits them.
What can companies do to reassure consumers? Our study finds that while consumers state that they want more protection and security, the reality is that they may be more willing to provide their personal information if companies:
The bottom line: An important way companies can build and maintain consumer trust is to both put in place proactive data security and privacy measures and to engage in a transparent, ongoing dialogue with consumers on data privacy.
Not every trip needs to be insured; however, if the cost, risk of illness, or potential for interruption has you feeling cautious, then trip insurance may be a wise investment. Asking yourself the following questions may help you decide:
When considering a plan, take inventory of the components of your trip. Pre-paid vacation home rentals, car rentals, and event tickets are unique items to insure, yet they can be costly if forfeited due to an unexpected circumstance. If these costs are added to the total pre-paid price of the trip, a comprehensive travel insurance plan could protect you if your trip should be canceled or interrupted.
Malicious software, also known as malware is a term that can be used for various viruses, spyware, worms and programs that attack your device or computer. The goal of malware is to target and retrieve protected data, remove confidential documents or add software without user consent or knowledge. Software is identified as malware based on its intended use, rather than a particular technique or technology used to build it.
A computer virus is a malicious software which self-replicates and attaches itself to other files/programs. It has the capability of executing secretly when the host program/file is activated. The different types of Computer virus are Memory-Resident Virus, Program File Virus, Boot Sector Virus, Stealth Virus, Macro Virus, and Email Virus.
With the number of data breaches increasing every year, it’s not a question of if your business will suffer a breach, but when. The threat affects companies of all sizes and in every industry, including manufacturers.
In fact, manufacturers are one of the most susceptible to cyber threats. According to a Kaspersky Labs report, manufacturers’ computers accounted for about one-third of all attacks as sophisticated attackers are after intellectual property.
Businesses frequently enter into contracts with suppliers, vendors, independent contractors, landlord/tenants, and other service providers.
In those contracts it is common to find language which transfers the liability of one party to the other in the event that bodily injury, property damage (tangible and intangible) and other liabilities arise out of the contractual relationship. The liability may involve both insurable and non-insurable liabilities upon the contracting parties.
The contracting parties, and their supporting legal and risk advisors should review in detail the contractual language and what liabilities may be assumed due to the contract.
Contractual Risk Transfer is one of the five traditional risk management techniques within a business.
Happy National UV Month! July is a month dedicated to educating yourself and protecting your skin from damage that can occur from the sun.
UV rays come in three forms: UVA, UVB, and UVC. These rays can have different effects on the skin. UVC rays never come through the atmosphere and do not come in the form of sunlight. However, UVA and UVB rays have been known to cause damage to skin cells which can result in sunburn and wrinkles or as much as skin cancer. No UV rays are safe to the skin without protection!
For years, conventional farming practices have depleted the soil we grow on. An overuse of fertilizer and chemicals is very common among modern farmers to maximize their crop yields. Where this might seem to be a short term solution in boosting your output, what is it doing to the long term fertility of the soil?
In fact, long term conventional farming practices can damage the rich, organic contents of the soil and make it so that the grounds we produce on are more and more dependent on the chemicals we spray. With the increased dependency of these synthetic chemicals that we are plugging into our soil, fertility level and overall production level goes down over time. So how can we ensure the health of our soils and an abundant crop for generations to come?
Get rid of the plow
It is estimated that we have 3 feet of topsoil on any given plot of land. Every time a farmer tills his or her field for planting, they are removing millimeters at a time for good. Aside from the physical removal of the soil, tilling greatly diminishes the ability for water to infiltrate and removes carbon from the soil which is vital for crop growth.
Diversify your crop (Including cover crops)
Planting a variety of crops throughout the year can help bring depleted and eroded soils back to life by delivering more of the nitrogen rich and organic content that is lost through disrupting the ground. Whether it’s a winter wheat or a perennial rye grass, it provides protection and another source for your soils nutrients. Not to mention it can create new markets and strengthen rural communities!
Diversify your rotation
Making sure to diversify the rotation that you plant your crops is vital to break pest cycles and combat resistance. It is common among Mid-Western farmers to rotate corn and soybeans from year to year. This provides natural protection from diseases, infestations and insects.
While overall workplace injuries have been falling in the last decade, the numbers of deadly and catastrophic injuries are actually on the rise.
A new report recommends that employers focus their injury prevention efforts on reviewing accidents that could have resulted in serious injury or death, as well as on near misses, where a potentially serious accident was narrowly avoided.
When it comes to crop insurance, there are many decisions and regulations to consider. In this video, Travis Stewart, discusses how replant, late plant, prevented planting, and 1st crop/2nd crop provisions may affect you.