Co-ops Today

 

Home
About NCC
Newsletters
Education Programs
Communications
Youth Activities
Calendar of Events
Hot Links
Co-ops Today
Foundation
No other organizations reflect the American ideals of democracy and self-help as do cooperatives. Their success, importance, and beneficial impact on the American economy testify to the role they play in all of our lives.

Cooperatives incorporate the ideals which drive the most successful economy in history. Over 100 million Americans own and control more than 47,000 cooperative businesses that provide goods and services in every economic sector.

Cooperatives provide essential services to the American economy with benefits for consumers, producers, and small businesses in urban and rural America.  They range in size from small buying clubs to Fortune 500 companies.

Cooperatives are member owned and democratically controlled enterprises created and used by their member-owners to provide goods and services. Members unite in a cooperative to get services otherwise not available, to get quality supplies at the right time, to have access to markets, or for other mutually beneficial reasons.

Cooperatives exist not to generate a profit for themselves or outside investors, as do other businesses, but rather to provide goods and services at competitive prices. Profits--or net income--is distributed to members (patrons, as they are called) in the form of patronage refunds.

Cooperative Principles and Business Characteristics 

bullet

A cooperative is a user owned and controlled business in which benefits are distributed according to a member’s use of it. Three principles distinguish cooperatives from general corporations:

bullet

user-owner

bullet

user-control

bullet

user-benefits

bullet

The user-owner principle means the people who use the cooperative own and finance the business. Cooperatives are financed by members purchasing stock, paying membership fees, or accepting self-imposed assessment on products purchased and/or sold or fees for services. In some cooperatives, members reinvest their earnings (profits) to capitalize the business.

bullet

User-control stems from the majority of the customers being members who are also responsible for selecting the members of the board of directors. As representatives of the members, the directors are responsible for setting policy and providing oversight on all the cooperative’s business practices.

bullet

User-benefits provide that the cooperative’s primary purpose is to distribute benefits to members. Distribution of these benefits is based on members’ use of the cooperative, not on the amount of capital they have invested.

 

Cooperatives: an Integral Part of the American Economy

 

bullet

More than 29,000 cooperatives operate in every sector of the economy and in every congressional district; Americans hold over 350 million co-op memberships [National Cooperative Business Assn. 2011]

bullet

U.S. cooperatives generate 2 million jobs and make a substantial contribution to the U.S. economy with annual sales of $652 billion and possessing assets of $3 trillion. [National Cooperative Business Assn. 2011]

bullet

The majority of our country's 2 million farmers are members of the 2,238 farmer-owned cooperatives.  They provide over 129,000 jobs nationally. [USDA Rural Development Cooperative Statistics 2012]

bullet

These farmer owned cooperatives have a net business volume of over $201 billion annually. [USDA Rural Development Cooperative Statistics 2012]

bullet

Over 6,700 credit unions provide financial services to 97 million U.S. consumers.

bullet

More than 900 rural electric co-ops deliver electricity to more than 42 million people in 47 states.  This makes up 42% of the nation's electric distribution lines and covers 75% of our country's land mass (NRECA Facts & Figures 2014)

bullet

About 1.2 million rural Americans in 31 states are served by the 260 telephone cooperatives (NTCA Facts, 2014)

horizontal rule

 

Nebraska Cooperatives 

Cooperative businesses in Nebraska operate in marketing, farm supply, and service areas. The most common types are agricultural marketing and supply cooperatives. 

 

Marketing cooperatives engage in a broad range of activities for farmer members including: bargaining, grading, transporting, processing, distribution, research, and product development. Marketing cooperatives derive at least half their business volume from the sale or processing of farm products. 

Supply cooperatives provide farmers with production supplies and products such as fertilizer, agricultural chemicals, fuels and propane, seeds, feed, and others. Supply cooperatives also provide building supplies, packaging supplies, farm machinery and equipment, animal health products, automotive supplies, food, and hardware. 

Service cooperatives provide specialized business services related to agricultural business operations of farmers, ranchers, or cooperatives such as trucking, storing, drying, artificial insemination, financing, electric and telephone services, communications, insurance, livestock marketing, and others. 

In addition to the local cooperatives in many Nebraska communities, regional cooperatives also operate in Nebraska. They provide farm supplies at wholesale to local cooperatives, marketing and processing opportunities for crop and livestock production, services to local cooperatives and direct to owner-users, and other functions. Federated regional cooperatives are owned by the local cooperatives to which they provide services and/or farm supplies and marketing opportunities. Centralized regional cooperatives are owned directly by producers or their customers, while still other regionals are owned by a combination of individual customers and local cooperatives. 

Regional cooperative members operating in Nebraska include: 

bullet

Ag Processing Inc.

bullet

Associated Milk Producers, Inc.

bullet

CHS Inc.

bullet

CoBank

bullet

Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.

bullet

Farm Credit Services of America

bullet

Four Points Federal Credit Union

bullet

Growmark, Inc.

bullet

Land O'Lakes

bullet

Producers Livestock Marketing Association

bullet

Nebraska Rural Radio Association [KRVN/KNEB/KTIC]

Nebraska Ag Facts of Interest

Nebraska cooperatives are a significant factor in the agricultural industry and the economy of the state. Examples of their impact are as follows:
bulletAs of October 2013, cooperatives are operating 389 locations across the state providing much needed jobs and services in our most rural communities.  
bulletAs of October 2013, cooperatives employ over 5,100 individuals across the state.
bulletAs of October 2013, over 53,000 farmers and ranchers are voting members of Nebraska cooperatives with many members of more than one cooperative.
bulletIn 2012/13, ag supply and marketing cooperatives paid out a collective total of $78 million in patronage refunds to members.  In addition, $16 million was paid out in members equity/estate redemption.
bulletNebraska ag supply and marketing cooperatives invested over $157 million in new facilities and equipment in 2012/13.
bulletThese cooperatives paid over $11 million in property taxes and over $14 million in state and federal income taxes in 2012/13.

 

horizontal rule

 

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Nebraska Cooperative Council

134 South 13th St., Ste 503

Lincoln, NE  68508-1901

PH:  402/475-6555     FAX:  402/475-4538

 

Legislative and Regulatory Issues:  Robert Andersen, President

Education, Scholarship Program, Communications Issues:  Ed Woeppel, Education & Program Director

All other issues:  General Office