October 4, 2019
October is National Co-op Month. There are more than 40,000 cooperatives of all types in the U.S., supporting jobs that provide more than $25 billion in wages. According to a University of Wisconsin study, cooperatives have an estimated 350 million members.
There are many types of cooperatives. Agricultural co-ops directly employ more than 187,000 Americans in more than 8,800 locations. Gross business volume for ag cooperatives was up $6.7 billion in 2018 compared to the year before, and farmer cooperatives had a record $96.3 billion in assets and a record $44.4 billion in farmer-member equity.
The largest number of farmer cooperatives are in Minnesota, followed by Texas, North Dakota, California and Wisconsin. Farm cooperatives did the most business in Iowa ($18.3 billion) followed by Minnesota ($16.2 billion), California, Illinois and Wisconsin.
The theme for this year’s co-op month is “Co-ops: By the Community, For the Community.”
USDA helps cooperatives grow through a variety of ways, including:
In the Southwest Wisconsin community of Viroqua, population 4,300, USDA partnered with the Bank of Cashton to provide a loan to construct an addition to the Viroqua Food Co-op. Completed last year, the expansion allowed the cooperative to expand offerings of locally and regionally produced food. About 33% of co-op revenue is generated from food products that are sourced within 100 miles of Viroqua.
In Maine, a USDA Rural Energy for America Grant helped the members of Cranberry Isles Fishermen’s Co-op on Little Cranberry Island install a solar renewable energy system. The system is operating and will produce 110% of the co-op’s power, saving $8,000 annually.
Source: USDA, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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