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.