WASHINGTON — During October is National Cooperative Month USDA, cooperatives, cooperative trade associations, and cooperative stakeholders of all kinds celebrate cooperatives. At USDA Rural Development, we want to take this opportunity to provide a reminder of the resources available for cooperatives and cooperative development.
The research of the Cooperative Services Branch provides annual agricultural cooperative statistics that include important comparison benchmarks, cooperative performance trends, and economic impacts on the food and fiber system and American communities. Online is Agricultural Cooperative Statistics, 2019 (Service Report 83). And to see more data on farmer cooperatives, please request a copy of the Excel workbook of historical and recent statistics by emailing email@example.com (The 2020 annual statistics report will be available in the fall of 2021.)
A new research report is out, Organizational Charting for Member Control in Cooperatives (Research Report 235).
An important document for information on federal statutes of cooperatives: Federal Statutes of Special Importance to Farmer Cooperatives (Cooperative Information Report 66). And also, an Excel workbook on State cooperative statutes is available by request.
Do Yourself a Favor Join a Cooperative (Cooperative Information Report 54). This pamphlet focuses on the unique aspects of doing business and providing services on a cooperative basis and the special benefits that cooperative members enjoy.
Co-ops 101: An Introduction to Cooperatives (Cooperative Information Report 55, en Espanol). This report provides a comprehensive summary of basic information on the cooperative way of organizing and operating a business. It covers the nature and extent of the use of cooperatives, compares cooperatives to other business structures, explains the roles various people play in a cooperative, and discusses equity accumulation and income taxation.
Co-op Essentials: What They Are and the Role of Members, Directors, Managers and Employees (Cooperative Information Report 11). This guide (a companion publication to USDA’s Co-ops 101) provides essential information about cooperatives. It explains what cooperatives are, including their business structure and principles. It examines the responsibilities and roles of cooperative members, directors, managers, and employees.
And here are some cooperative development specific materials.
How to Start a Cooperative (Cooperative Information Report 7, en Espanol). This guide outlines the process of organizing a cooperative business and provides information on the potential steps involved and some important aspects of co-op development. It presents the 12 steps involved in most cooperative development projects. A cooperative business is also briefly described, including its structure and basic principles.
Vital Steps: A Cooperative Feasibility Study Guide (Service Report 34). This guide compliments the report, How to Start a Cooperative, by providing rural residents with greater information about cooperative development feasibility studies.
Understanding Capper-Volstead (Cooperative Information Report 35). Brief publication that covers the law that allows producers to form cooperatives to jointly market their products.
Food Hub Series: Four Publications about Developing and Improving Food Hubs (Service Report 77 Vol. 1; Four guides (Lessons Learned From the Field; compliments the report, How to Start a Cooperative, by providing rural residents with greater information about cooperative development feasibility studies.
And other helpful informational, service, and research publications can be found at the USDA Cooperative Publications page.
USDA Programs for Organizations That Help Cooperatives
Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program
The Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program improves the economic condition of rural areas by helping individuals and businesses start, expand or improve rural cooperatives and other mutually-owned businesses through Cooperative Development Centers. Nonprofit corporations and institutions of higher education can apply. Here are some of the Cooperative Development Centers in the U.S.
Socially Disadvantaged Group and Value-Added Producer Grants
The Socially Disadvantaged Group Grant (SDGG) is for: cooperatives and Cooperative Development Centers that serve socially disadvantaged groups where a majority of the board of directors or governing board is comprised of individuals who are members of socially disadvantaged groups.
And for cooperatives, producers, or associations of producers, is the Value-Added Producer Grant program. This program provides funding to studying the feasibility of a adding value to a commodity, or for further marketing an already developed value-added product.
The Business & Industry Loan Guarantee program is also available to cooperative businesses, and as well, to individual members for purchase of cooperative preferred stock.
And to see other RD business loan and grant programs please go here.
A follow-up bulletin will be forthcoming on more RD programs that fit cooperatives and cooperative development.
For questions or comments please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
–USDA Rural Development
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