Cooperatives' gross and net business volumes, from 1979-2011. Click image to enlarge.
Since 1930, America has observed National Co-op month in October and what better way to celebrate the strength and vigor of cooperatives in the United States than to read a new USDA report, which notes that farmer, rancher and fishery cooperatives posted record sales and income in 2011, surpassing the previous record sales year of 2008 by $10 billion. Not only that, cooperatives bested the old income record by $500 million. Net income before taxes for all agricultural co-ops was a record $5.4 billion, eclipsing the previous high set in 2008. Net income was up more than 25 percent, or $1 billion, from 2010. Read more »
Editor’s Note: To help celebrate Cooperative Month in October, USDA will be running blogs about the nation’s co-op sector, starting with a look at the nation’s producer-owned financial institution: Farm Credit. This blog is based on comments from Joy Upchurch, Vice President at AgFirst Farm Credit Bank.
Since 1916, Farm Credit has been a trusted partner to agricultural producers and agribusinesses across rural America. As a nationwide network of cooperatively owned banks and retail lending associations, it is fitting that we help acknowledge October as Cooperative Month. This celebration coincides with a historic milestone for Farm Credit. As we celebrate the cooperative nature of our member organizations, we are also in the midst of celebrating Farm Credit’s 95th anniversary of service to rural America. Read more »
The farmers and ranchers who use its services are also the owners of the nation's cooperative Farm Credit System. Photo courtesy Farm Credit Council
Today’s farms, ranches and agricultural enterprises are more diverse and more specialized. And today’s farms and related businesses require new financial services, more equity and greater flexibility from their lenders if they are to effectively manage their businesses. Producers and rural entrepreneurs of all types need access to dedicated, specialized lenders to meet their complete credit and financial services needs. Read more »
Last Chance Café manager Peggy Tobin shows off a homemade apple pie baked by a volunteer co-op member.
It is an iconic fixture of rural America – the local diner. Not just a restaurant, but a social hub for a community, and when the local café in Sunburst, Montana closed in 2007 it seemed one more nail in the coffin of a small town facing decline. Read more »
(Left to right) Bob Dickey Discussing features of the Wall With North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan. Also shown: Aaron Ridenour at a North Dakota Energy Expo.
Born in the first half of the 20th century, rural electric cooperatives drove the monumental effort to bring electricity to remote areas of the country where investor-owned utilities could not make a profit. Owned by their members and not-for-profit organizations, rural electric cooperatives have been providing safe, reliable and affordable electric power for 75 years. Read more »
Paul Hazen, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Cooperative Business Association, speaking at a recent cooperatives event.
Cooperatives are born out of community need. They are founded on the ideals of social responsibility and self-help. For that reason, it seems most fitting that the seventh of the cooperative principles is “concern for community.” Members of the National Cooperative Business Association—and cooperatives around the world—subscribe to all seven cooperative principles. Read more »