What is a Co-op?
Cooperatives are businesses that are owned and democratically controlled by their members—the people who use the co-op’s services or buy its goods—not by investors. A Cooperative is a voluntary contractual organization of persons having a mutual ownership interest in providing themselves needed service(s) on a nonprofit basis.
BENEFITS OF COOPERATIVES
When it comes to making economic and charitable contributions to their communities, the nation’s more than 40,000 cooperative businesses are industry leaders.
At a time of increasing concern about the national economy, co-ops are creating jobs, income and opportunities, while setting the bar high for other types of businesses.
Being owned largely by people who live and work in the communities they serve gives cooperatives a different perspective.
Unlike some investor-owned businesses, cooperatives won’t move their operations offshore to increase profits.
Cooperatives give producers clout. In today’s competitive international market, an independent grower stands alone against the competition. A cooperative of growers together can do many things that a grower alone cannot afford to do — develop a worldwide market, promote a brand name, access a global transportation system, develop comprehensive research capabilities, and gain governmental access to overseas markets.
In the 1930’s Farmers Union leaders were concerned about workers in cities and helped the labor representative work for new and better programs to establish jobs for more people.
Montana now had 30 locally owned Farmers Union cooperative oil companies and 25 other cooperatives ones (mainly Equity cooperative) which purchased their petroleum products through the Farmers Union Central Exchange. The MFU Mutual Fire Insurance Company was also growing and reported 500 policyholders with more than $1 million of insurance in force.
The GOALS of rural development – NEW INCOME for rural residents, NEW JOB in rural areas, EXPANDED MARKETS, and NEW,DIVERSIFIED agricultural products can be achieved because cooperatives can capitalize the business and create economies of sufficient size.