The nation's network of cooperative development centers are a primary force in the creation of new cooperatives and support for existing cooperatives. The centers also play a major role in helping to spread knowledge of the cooperative system of business. Through its Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program, USDA Rural Development is a supporter of these centers, a number of which are featured on the following pages, along with examples ofsome ofthe cooperatives they have helped launch or otherwise provided support for. As we observe Cooperative Month in October, it is fitting that we recognize the important contributions that these centers are making to the nation's cooperative business system.
Northwest Cooperative Development Center
Services provided land area served:
Northwest Cooperative Development center (NWCDC) acts as an advisor and provides facilitation and access to information and tools that promote effective cooperative business governance and management. Specific services include feasibility assessment and analysis, organizational development, cooperative education, business planning, strategic planning, market research, board training and grant writing. NWCDC is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, working with co-ops in Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
Founded by cooperatives in 1979, NWCDC has grown into the Northwest 's leading provider of co-op business development services. Formerly known as Puget Sound Development Foundation, the Center's mission is to promote and strengthen cooperatives in the region. In the spring of 2000, NWCDC was reorganized and renamed to include a broader geographical area. To maximize resources, skills and expertise, NWCDC works collaboratively with community, government and economic development agencies, as well as established cooperatives.
NWCDC works in a variety of sectors involving consumer, producer and worker cooperatives. The Center endeavors to provide consistent quality services to its clients. NWCDC recently entered into the ROC USA Network as a certified technical assistance provider to residents of manufactured-home communities seeking to purchase their property. As a member of the ROC USA Network, NWCDC has access to 100 percent commercial financing with reasonable terms and conditions through ROC USA Capital. The Center 's professional staff can efficiently determine community residents interest in purchasing a property. Staff can help them form a cooperative corporation to purchase the community and manage it on their behalf.
Impact of project on community/area:
ROC USA supports homeowners in their desire for economic security through resident ownership. Goals are to: preserve and improve affordable communities; build individual assets; and foster healthy, mutually supportive communities and leaders. NWCDC is currently in the process of assisting the conversion of five manufactured home communities in Washington and Oregon that represent more than 600 households.
Quote from staff member:
"The moment is transformational when residents recognize that they are moving from a rental relationship--where they had no control over their home security--into an ownership position with their neighbors."--Ben Dryfoos-Guss, Manufactured Home Cooperative Development Specialist.
Cowiche Growers: dedicated to producing quality fruit and spreading co-op concepts
Since 1923, Cowiche Growers has packed and shipped some of the finest Washington apples and pears, which it grows in the fertile soils of the Yakima Valley. As a grower-owned cooperative, it is committed to the preservation of the family farm. As a supporter of NWCDC, it is also committed to helping to promote the development of new cooperatives in the Northwest.
"Grower-owned cooperatives give small family farmers the unique ability to compete with large commercial growing operations," says Mike Sliman, the co-op's president and general manager. "Over the years, the value of the Northwest Cooperative Development Center has been invaluable to our success. The opportunity to go to one source to get assistance for planning, education and training on cooperative matters has been especially helpful."
This grower-owned cooperative currently consists of more than 65 members who farm about 3,000 acres, where they produce apples, pears and cherries. The volcanic and alluvial soils in the valley are rich and the growing season is long. The warm days and cool nights naturally enhance the color, crispness and quality of the fruit.
Cowiche Growers provides cold storage and packing facilities for its members. Modern, state-of-the-art packing facilities and controlled-atmosphere storage enable the coop to provide high-quality fruit to its customers year round.
Its facilities, situated on 27 acres, are centrally located to the farms, allowing for quick and functional procession from the tree to the packed box. The co-op's fruit is sold through Domex Superfresh Growers, one of the top fresh fruit marketing firms in Washington state. The co-op packs about 1.5 million boxes of apples per year.
Paradise Home Care Co-op meets critical need
Services provided and area served:
Paradise Home Care Cooperative (PHCC) is a worker-owned business with a mission to be the premier home care provider in Hawaii County (on the Big Island). PHCC represents professional, compassionate worker-owners devoted to helping their clients live comfortably and independently. The members are dedicated to enhancing the well-being of others through innovative, loving care and commitment to serve the community.
PHCC has been six years in the making. Beginning with a 2004 USDA grant from the Rural Home Care Cooperative Demonstration Program, the Big Island Community Task Force was formed to establish a home care co-op in East Hawaii County. Results of the feasibility study, completed in 2006, were favorable.
With the assistance of the Northwest Cooperative Development Center (NWCDC), charter members completed a business plan and secured a working-capital loan. The loan came as a result of an application by NWCDC to USDA to establish a revolving loan fund through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The need for businesses that can retain a workforce of caregivers is crucial for the growing population of people needing in-home care, which this co-op will help to address. In an industry plagued with high turnover, the cooperative business model supports an environment where workers have incentives to stay on the job for the following reasons:
* The majority of workers are co-op members, and, as such, own the business;
* Owning the business--with hired professional management--enables worker-owners to do what they do best: provide care.
* Profits go back to co-op workers via higher wages and patronage dividends for members.
* Benefits worker-owners receive include health insurance and someone to offer backup care for clients when workers are ill or on vacation.
Impact on community/area:
PHCC represents a major employer in the sparsely populated Puna District of Hawaii County. In its first year of operation, it will employ about 15 caregivers and support staff; it expects to grow to 50 caregivers over the next five years.
Kentucky Center for Agriculture & Rural Development
When Larry Snell was asked in 2002 to head up the then-new Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (KCARD), he never imagined the organization would become a leading resource for entrepreneurs and established businesses in Kentucky and beyond.
"I knew the business development services that KCARD was designed to provide to the community were needed in Kentucky," says Snell, KCARD executive director. "That is what intrigued me about the job. But we have gone far beyond what I originally envisioned when the organization was first beginning."
Today, KCARD has clients across the commonwealth, ranging from individuals or producer groups with only an idea for a new business, to established cooperatives or businesses looking at ways to become more profitable in a challenging economy. The KCARD staff provides a wide array of services to assist clients at all levels.
"KCARD is dedicated to facilitating the development and growth of agricultural and rural business throughout our state," explains Snell. "We have an experienced and professional staff to help analyze a business idea, to help structure and incorporate the business and to assist with capitalizing, management, marketing, accounting and legal concerns."
Fostering business succcess
KCARD is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Its mission is to foster business success and growth in rural Kentucky by developing and delivering technical assistance and by providing educational opportunities for agricultural and rural businesses seeking to enhance their economic opportunities. As a cooperative development center, KCARD is dedicated to improving the economic conditions of rural Kentucky by promoting new cooperatives and continuing efforts to improve existing cooperatives.
KCARD's staff is familiar with various types of incorporated agribusinesses and consults with groups on critical questions related to organizing, incorporating, financing, management, marketing, accounting and legal concerns. It networks with other cooperative development centers and state and national organizations to assist with all aspects of agribusiness development.
One important business service the Center offers is Strategic Profitability Planning & Implementation (SPPI), a very intense, hands-on service. During the SPPI process, KCARD helps the business identify opportunities to improve profitability, develop steps to address and follow up on these opportunities, and monitor and guide the implementation of the action steps outlined. SPPI includes many strategic planning components, but it focuses more on short-term actions to improve profitability.
KCARD plays a much larger role than just acting as a facilitator in the group's planning. KCARD is also very involved in the implementation of the action plan developed and stays involved after the initial implementation.
SPPI can be a very effective tool for a business to improve its operations, but the SPPI requires a strong commitment from the business management team members if it is to have a positive impact on the business bottom line. SPPI requires a series of working group meeting about six to eight weeks apart.
BMOA reveals strengths, weaknesses
The Business Management and Operations Analysis (BMOA), a comprehensive study of a business operations, is another support service offered by KCARD that is growing in popularity. Snell explains that the objective of the BMOA is to provide management and the co-op owners and board of directors with information and materials that will help in planning and decisionmaking. During the analysis, the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing the business are identified. At the end, KCARD staff provides the business with benchmark materials from which to measure progress and growth during the next few years.
"This is really a hands-on process," says Snell. "It is an intense, week-long study of the business operations."
During the BMOA, KCARD interviews key business personnel (board members, manager, and key staff), members/owners, customers, suppliers and community leaders to identify common themes in the business operations. KCARD also conducts a detailed investigation into the financial condition, recordkeeping and legal documents of the business. A verbal report is given to the business immediately after the completion of the BMOA and is followed by a written report.
"A BMOA is an intensive process where you not only work with the client, but also with their staff, suppliers and customers," says Snell. "To make the BMOA successful, it takes the commitment of the business owners not just during the evaluation, but to implement recommendations once the analysis is complete."
Partnering for success
"Over 70 percent of the agribusinesses that KCARD has worked with since 2002 are still in business today, and many of them have experienced significant growth," Snell says, noting that these businesses create many jobs.
Snell is quick to say that this success would not be possible without the Center's board of directors and other agriculture organizations that collaborate with it. "They are critical to the daily operations and continuing support of the organization," he says. Snell also points out that it would not be possible to operate without the financial support provided by the Rural Business-Cooperative Service of USDA Rural Development and the Agricultural Development funds provided by the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board.
"We owe any success that KCARD has had in working to grow and improve our state's rural economy to these individuals and agricultural partners," says Snell. "They deserve the credit for any accomplishments that KCARD has had in developing successful, sustainable agribusiness across our state."
KCARD was incorporated as a nonprofit in February 2001 by a group of Kentucky agricultural leaders representing the University of Kentucky, the Kentucky Council of Cooperatives, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Kentucky Farm Bureau, CoBank and others.
Campbell County Beef Association
The Campbell County Beef Association (CCBA) is a cooperative of beef producers who are jointly marketing naturally grown "freezer" beef. CCBA incorporated as a cooperative in the winter of 2010 and began operations early in the summer of 2010. Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (KCARD) attended numerous meetings of the steering committee, provided educational resources on the cooperative business structure, assisted with drafting the articles of incorporation and bylaws and developed a comprehensive business plan.
CCBA expects to market 50 head of beef produced by nine local farmers direct to local consumers this year. The co-op has already asked KCARD for further assistance in developing a more comprehensive marketing plan in the near future.
Indiana Cooperative Development Center
The Indiana Cooperative Development Center (ICDC) is a nonprofit [organization founded in 2003 to fill a void in services for cooperatives in Indiana. The Center is committed to providing a range of innovative, results-oriented and cost-effective services to cooperatives and related organizations.
The Center provides technical assistance and education to help start-up and emerging cooperatives across a wide variety of industries. Drawing on the skills and expertise of an experienced and knowledgeable staff, ICDC has participated in the development and launch of cooperative organizations of all kinds, including retail food cooperatives, community supported agricultural associations (CSAs), aquaculture, farmers markets, renewable energy, childcare and housing, among others.
Four years ago, the Center hosted the first Cooperative Summit in Indiana, which has been held annually since then. The mission of this day-long event is to provide a forum for networking, to promote cooperative businesses and to increase opportunities for cooperative business-to-business relationships. This year 's Summit is scheduled for Nov. 5 and will focus on the theme of "communications."
"We have a stellar line up of speakers," says Debbie Trocha, ICDC executive director. Summit speakers include: Martin Lowery, executive vice president for external affairs with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association; Roberta MacDonald, senior vice president of marketing for Cabot Creamery Cooperative; Susie Hinkle, cofounder of Direkt Approach (a training and consulting company) and David Cain, president of MediaSauce.
This year will mark the introduction of new awards that will be presented during the conference: the Cooperator Community Service award and Cooperator Heroes award. "We want to recognize the outstanding contributions made by cooperators to both their cooperatives and to their communities, says Trocha. Details about the summit can be found at: www.icdc.coop or www.indianasummit.coop.
Assistance from the ICDC has led to the successful development and launch of a number of cooperatives in Indiana which, in turn, have helped to anchor and improve the economic stability of their rural communities.
According to Trocha, "The cooperative model is a sustainable form of business that empowers people and enhances the economic stability of the communities in which they operate and grow." Laughery Valley Co-op meeting need for local food
Laughery Valley Growers Cooperative (LVGC) in Batesville, Ind., serves as an aggregator of fresh fruits, vegetables and produce for its grower-members to supply their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) association. The CSA has many local subscribers around Batesville, but the primary customer base is in Cincinnati, Ohio. A partnership with the Greater Cincinnati Healthcare Council (GCHC) and Christ Hospital, less than 50 miles away, helped increase the CSA's subscriptions.
LVGC was formed five years ago by several area growers to better market their produce. ICDC helped in the formation of the co-op and with director training. The number of grower-members continues to increase and the customer base has tripled since the early days.
As their partnership with the GCHC continues to grow, LVGC will need to increase the number of growers to keep pace with the increase in CSA subscribers. LVGC plans to form an educational arm to educate new subscribers, many of whom are from the urban sector, about co-ops. Due to the increase in subscribers, the LVGC is experiencing growing pains as it struggles to identify new facilities for the packaging and processing of the food boxes for its subscribers.
Impact on community/area:
Now that the member-producers have a steady and growing demand for their produce, these predominantly small farms have become economically sustainable. The growing demand for local foods has also created a heightened interest among new and beginning farmers.
The local farmers' market has highlighted the co-op and its success, which in turn has led to increased success for the farmers' market. Increased consumer demand for local foods has helped increase the viability and sustainability of the region's small farmers.
"The Indiana Cooperative Development Center has played a significant role in the evolution of our local initiative to empower family farmers in our area to create direct markets for their produce," says Sister Claire Whalen, executive director of the Laughery Valley Growers Cooperative.
Rural Electric and Telecommunications Development Center
Mandan, North Dakota
The Rural Electric and [Telecommunications (Development Center serves all of rural North (Dakota by providing technical assistance to emerging and expanding cooperatives and mutually owned businesses. Hosted by the rural electric and telecommunications cooperatives across the state, the Center has been operating since 1994. Its mission is to: Add new wealth to the economy by creating, retaining and expanding rural cooperatives and other primary-sector business enterprises.
The staff works with farmers and other rural residents to assist them with the development of ventures such as agriculture processing facilities, manufacturing companies, rural housing, grocery stores and supply cooperatives. The Center staff guides projects through all the steps of business development, from start to finish.
It provides assistance with:
* Developing the organizational documents;
* Fundraising for development work;
* Completing feasibility studies;
* Business planning;
* Selecting qualified consultants;
* Conducting equity drives;
* Developing finance packages;
* Providing start-up administrative services.
The Center also brings innovative ideas to rural North Dakota by organizing semi-annual Rural Developers Roundtable Talks. These events feature an innovative development concept that can easily be replicated in other rural areas, while providing rural developers and resource providers with an opportunity to network.
Many dairy farmers are being pushed out of their current locations by urban sprawl. In response to a rapidly declining dairy industry in North Dakota and a regional dairy processing cooperatives desire for a supply of locally produced milk, the center launched a program to help increase the number of dairy cows in the state. This was accomplished by helping producers expand their operation and by relocating displaced farmers from other states to North Dakota.
Through this program, the Center has helped to attract six new dairy farm families to rural North Dakota. These families milk 3,700 head that generate $26.9 million in milk sales annually--a critically important new source of economic wealth for their rural areas.
Quote from director:
"As rural populations continue to decline in North Dakota, more communities are seeking the assistance of the Center to help them work together to provide for their area's needs, whether by organizing cooperatively owned grocery stores, housing or daycare centers. Through our connections in the state's economic development community, our Center is poised to assist a wide variety of business development projects."--Lori Capouch, Center Director
Nebraska Cooperative Development Center
The Nebraska Cooperative (Development Center (NCDC) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is Nebraska's center for cooperative-based businesses development. It provides education, training and technical assistance to developing and existing user-owned business--including cooperatives, limited liability companies (LLC) and other business structures. The Center is committed to creating sustainable communities in Nebraska in which people work together to meet their needs and reach their goals.
Among specific services offered are: strategic planning; group facilitation; access to outside professional services, such as legal and accounting services; assistance with feasibility studies; market analysis and business plan development; financial projections and budgeting assistance; project management; assistance with membership development and development planning and training.
To build a strong, engaged and sustainable network of people with access to local, state and national resources; that is dedicated to assisting people in rural areas by helping them to work together to increase their incomes via cooperative development, and to help facilitate value-added opportunities.
* Create and/or expand successful group efforts, including cooperatives, that promote value-added agriculture, local food systems, renewable energy and "main street" businesses, as well as other types of entrepreneurship;
* Increase cooperation and sharing among producers, especially those who are interested in exploring the possibility of transitioning to a new type of agriculture;
* Provide customized and continuous service to organizational groups throughout the life of relevant projects;
* Facilitate and support favorable public policy by increasing the awareness of rural people's needs and the role of cooperative development.
Buy Fresh, Buy Local Nebraska
"Buy Fresh, Buy Local Nebraska" is an outreach and marketing initiative to promote and support local foods. The initiative began in 2006 after much research by a group of consumers, farmers, nonprofits and small local businesses that were seeking ways to benefit all Nebraska communities.
The Buy Fresh, Buy Local Nebraska initiative includes media outreach and public events to raise awareness of the benefits of eating locally and the diversity of local food options available, and to increase the visibility and viability of a locally based food system. Members of the effort include farmers, restaurants, institutions and groceries.
"Anyone who meets the criteria is welcome to join," says NCDC Cooperative Business Development Specialist Elaine Cranford. "There's a place for everyone at the table ... farmers, restaurants, groceries as well as friends of Buy Fresh Buy Local Nebraska" (see sidebar). This collaborative effort was founded by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln 's Nebraska Cooperative Development Center, the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society and Great Plains RC&D.
The national partner in the effort is the FoodRoutes Network, established in 1997 to foster and promote sustainable food systems in regions of the United States by using state-of-the-art communications techniques and public policy innovations. In 2000, FoodRoutes Network became a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization focused on having an impact on the public policy arena, generating marketplace opportunities and stimulating partnerships around sustainable food systems. There are currently 75 Buy Fresh Buy Local chapters in the United States.
Everything under the Nebraska sun
From early May through mid-October each year, more than 10,000 shoppers visit the Omaha Farmers Market in the city's Old Market for fresh produce, smoked meats, jams, gourmet baked goods, flowers and everything else under the sun. It is one of dozens of farmers markets, CSAs (community supported agriculture) and other local farm operations that are working together under the marketing umbrella of Buy Fresh, Buy Local Nebraska (visit: www.buylocalnebraska.org for more information).
Even chefs from nearby restaurants frequent the market to stock up on just-picked tomatoes, salad greens, berries and more. Two Saturdays each month, they share their tricks-of-the-trade (and offer delicious samples) for customers in the market's demonstration area.
The market traces its roots back nearly 100 years, to a farmers' market that operated on the corner of 11th and Jackson Streets. Until 1964, this was where growers came to sell everything from fruits and vegetables to herbs and honey. After a hiatus of 30 years, the Omaha Farmers Market was revived in 1994 on the very corner lot where the original market thrived.
CSAs also join in
Another organization active in the "Buy Fresh" effort is Community CROPS (Combining Resources, Opportunities and People for Sustainability), a community gardens project based in Lincoln, which helps people work together to grow healthy food and live sustainably.
Community CROPS, which started with one community garden in 2003, has grown to become an organization of 16 community garden sites, a training farm, a successful Community Supported Agriculture program and a regular stand at the Old Cheney Road Farmers' Market, among other efforts. It currently has five full-time staff positions, three AmeriCorps members and numerous volunteers who help with projects, as well as a group of farmers and gardeners.
"Our gardens provide the opportunity to share knowledge, educate, experience personal growth, and provide green spaces for mental, spiritual and physical healing and well-being," the group's website says. "We are creating a resilient system where people can earn a living by feeding our community and conserve precious resources for future generations." For more information, visit: www.communitycrops.org.
Family farm direct marketing
Farm families with their own direct marketing efforts are also members of the Buy Fresh network, including Doug and Krista Dittman, owners of Branched Oak Farm. As the stewards of a 230-acre dairy farm 15 miles north of Lincoln, Doug Dittman says "We take pride in knowing that our products are made with sustainable, certified organic methods and with a positive impact on the environment.
Branched Oak Farm, in the hills of eastern Nebraska known as the Bohemian Alps, was started by Doug in 1991. When he married Krista in 1999, they began raising grass-fed beef and free-range chickens. Customers began asking for milk, which led them to buy some Jersey cows, build a dairy facility and start milking.
They then joined forces with friends Charuth and Kevin Loth and stared making cheese. Charuth Loth had produced goat cheese under the ShadowBrook Farm's Dutch Girl Creamery label, while Krista Dittman produced cow-milk cheese under the Branched Oak Farm name. Through this collaboration came Krista and Charuth's own corporation: Farmstead First LLC, which NCDC provided technical and other assistance in forming. Farmstead First, LLC Branched Oak Farm is now a fully functioning, certified-organic, grass-based dairy specializing in creating farmstead cheeses.
Cooperative Development Institute
South Deerfield, Massachusetts
Services provided and area served:
The Cooperative Development Institute (CDI) provides education, training, networking and technical assistance, including organizational development, feasibility assessment, business planning, strategic planning, marketing, communications, financial systems and board training. Clients are existing and start-up cooperatively structured enterprises in New England and New York. These clients come from all business sectors: food, housing, energy, agriculture, arts, health, forestry, fisheries, retail and more.
In 1994, a broad range of cooperative leaders from the agricultural, telecommunications, worker-ownership and financial sectors who shared a vision of a thriving cooperative economy in the Northeast came together to form CDI. The Institute has been a leader in cooperative development in the region and as an advocate that works with partners throughout the country.
At the 2010 National Cooperative Business Association annual conference, "Co-ops Seeding Co-ops," CDI presented an analysis of the ways that existing cooperatives can meet more member and community needs by investing in new cooperative enterprises, through spin-offs, supply-chain management or diversification. The presentation was inspired, in part, by CDI's participation in the development of Maine Organic Milling. This effort involved the Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative helping its Maine dairy farmer-members to purchase and operate an organic feed mill as a farmer-owned cooperative (see sidebar). In the coming year, CDI plans to leverage its cross-sector co-op expertise to bring multiple benefits to new manufactured-home park cooperatives in the region, including helping them to form energy and food-purchasing co-ops.
Impact on area:
Since 1997, CDI has worked intensively with well over 150 start-up and established cooperatives to launch new businesses, expand existing operations and address critical business issues. These cooperatives collectively serve more than 10,000 members; employ more than 150 people (not counting their contribution to the livelihood of many small producers); strengthen the region 's local food system; expand clean energy choices and provide good homes and jobs.
CDI 's vision is to help promote "a cooperative economy centered on an inter-dependent, dense network of enterprises and institutions that meet their members needs through principled, democratic ownership; they will care for the community, combat injustice and inequity and promote conscious self-governance."
Milling co-op crucial to Maine's organic dairy farms
Maine Organic Milling in Auburn is a farmer owned cooperative, organized in response to the closure of Maine's only organic feed mill.
"When the mill in Auburn stopped operations, it left many Maine organic dairy farms with limited options," says Steve Russell, an Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative farmer-owner and member of the Maine Organic Milling's board of directors. "As local, organic dairy farmers, it is essential to our businesses--and, frankly, to the survival of our farms--to source the highest quality organic feed for our animals at prices that keep us profitable. We need this feed mill right in our own backyard. Our cooperative model and the attitude of banding together is what made this come together."
Discussions among farmers began in June 2009 about whether it would be feasible to buy and operate the former Blue Seal feed mill. These talks were joined by a team of resource people, including: cooperative specialists from the Cooperative Development Institute and USDA Rural Development; a business counselor from the Small Business Development Center at the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments; an agricultural business management specialist from the Maine Department of Agriculture; an agriculture and real estate business consultant; and the farm resources manager from Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative.
Together, farmers and their advisors worked though the complex feasibility study, business planning, organizational development and financing needed to leverage the commitment and capital to buy the mill. Papers to seal the deal were signed in January 2010.
Along with member equity, the new cooperative received financing assistance in the form of donations and preferred stock purchases from supporting organizations, as well as loans from the Maine Rural Development Authority and the Agricultural Marketing Loan Fund. The co-op is partnering with Organic Valley/CROPP for ingredient sourcing, inventory, technical support and logistics.
"The relationship between Maine Organic Milling and Organic Valley represents a unique cooperative partnership," says Lowell Rheinheimer, CROPP's farm resources manager. "It offers an example of two cooperatives cooperating together for mutual benefit in fulfillment of their common mission."
Maine Organic Milling, or MOM, began selling high-quality, competitively priced complete organic dairy concentrate in May 2010. It didn't take long for rave reviews to come back from the initial buyers. Dairy producers reported that cows took to the new feed very well and maintained good production.
Surprisingly, the butterfat and protein components of their milk shot up even as their cows spent more time on pasture, compared to past years. Since dairy producers get paid according to their milk components, they are a happy bunch.
Indeed, "this new cooperative business is happy news for all Maine's organic livestock and poultry farmers," says Lynda Brushett of the Cooperative Development Institute. "As their operations evolve, these farmers will have access to locally milled and mixed feeds and to grain farmers, who will have a new market."
Montana Cooperative Development Center
Great Falls, Montana
Services Provided and Area Served:
The Montana (Cooperative Development Center (MCDC) provides cooperative education and project management; assists with feasibility studies, business and marketing plans; provides assistance in the development of articles of incorporation and bylaws; and provides clients with access to local, state and federal funding sources. It also analyzes resources, assesses project eligibility, structures financial packages and develops applications. MCDC, which covers all of Montana, offers grant writing assistance and provides direct financial assistance for legal costs.
Since its inception in 1999, MCDC has provided hands-on, cooperative education and project management assistance to 123 entities. It has managed and directed 44 feasibility studies and managed and directed 58 business and marketing plans. The Center has also provided legal assistance to 41 projects, provided financing for 37 projects and provided 21 entities with applied research. The Center has provided training for 75 projects and guided the formation of 34 cooperatives.
Noteworthy projects: Linx Regional Transportation Cooperative
Linx Regional Transportation Cooperative was formed to maximize the use and integration of transportation resources to close service gaps through the creation of a tri-state (Montana, Idaho and Wyoming) bus service. The cooperative's service area covers more than 73,992 square miles, which includes many under-served areas. Because of the vast area, it required a well-coordinated planning effort involving several entities.
The cooperative has engaged interested riders, stakeholders and public and private transportation providers in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, as well as state transportation officials and federal land management agencies.
The co-op will provide:
* A trip planning and ticketing system with multiple customer touch-points;
* Improved marketing of existing and emerging services;
* Coordination of route schedules and transfer points;
* Innovative technology applications that benefit both transportation operators and their riders;
* A centralized location for information on all modes of mobility.
The project area encompasses 28 counties in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming that surround Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Presently, it has 20 members with a projected impact of $10.8 million annually, providing 197 jobs in 28 counties in three states.
The senior housing cooperative model is new to Montana. Housing available to seniors has generally come in the form of assisted living, low-income housing or nursing homes. The cooperative model offers an opportunity for seniors looking to "downsize" to be free of yard work and other home maintenance. The cooperative model also offers a way to build an affordable housing complex, allowing seniors to stay in their community - which is important for maintaining the economic stability of rural Montana communities.
Riverside Crossing, Montana's first housing cooperative for active adults age 55 and over, offers a unique retirement opportunity in the community of Hamilton, in the middle of a broad valley banked by the Bitterroot Mountains to the west and the Sapphire Mountains to the east. Riverside Crossing is an affordable alternative to homeownership, complete with tax benefits, community oversight, economic security and the elimination of interior and exterior home maintenance.
Last Chance Cafe Co-op
Having at least one good cafe or restaurant can play a critical economic and social role in keeping a small rural community viable. So when the previous owners closed the only cafe in Sunburst, Mont., about 18 months ago, it sparked an effort to reopen it under new ownership. Sunburst is a small community on Interstate 15, about 10 miles from Canada. It is the last place to stop to get something to eat for many miles, hence the name: Last Chance Cafe.
MCDC worked with a steering committee from the community of Sunburst, and the cafe has reopened as a cooperative. The cafe created three full-time jobs in an area where every job is needed. More workers could be hired in response to wind-power development in the area, some of whom may look for a place to get a good, home cooked-style meal. A catering business may also be launched to serve jobsites where workers don t have the time to drive into town for meals.
"It may seem trivial to some to talk about a project that creates only three jobs," says Brian Gion, MCDC's chief executive officer. "But, we also have to look at the impacts it brings to the other businesses in the area. When people stop and eat, they may also fill their vehicle with gas or shop at other stores."
Underscoring the broad scope of co op projects MCDC is working on--and the flexibility of the co-op business model--the Center is also in the process of forming the Montana Midwives Cooperative. It plans to open a birthing center that provides quality childbirth care in Northwest Montana. There is a demand for safe, professional care from qualified staff from those who are seeking an alternative to a hospital for childbirth. This co-op will help medical entrepreneurs, nurses and midwives) to start their own business and increase their earning potential. The co-op will create up to 10 professional positions.
Quote from Center CEO:
"To stabilize our rural communities and keep them thriving, we need to maintain and build our base businesses," says Brian Gion, MCDC's chief executive officer. "These are local businesses that provide the necessities which keep our rural communities functioning. Without a strong base, communities cannot survive, cannot grow and cannot attract new businesses. The cooperative business model has provided opportunities to maintain and grow businesses in Montana."
To find out more about MCDC, go to: www.mcdc.coop or call 406-727-1517.
Value Added Agriculture Development Center
Pierre, South Dakota
Services provided land area served:
The Value Added Agriculture Development Center (VAADC) uses a "hands-on" approach for providing technical and executive services to new and existing agricultural businesses across the state of South Dakota. Consultation with cooperatives, entrepreneurs and organizations results in an individual work plan from the Center s menu of available services, which include: project management, feasibility assessment, business planning, education, funding access, applied research and networking. The VAADC also provides educational outreach opportunities to heighten interest and awareness of cooperative and agribusiness development.
VAADC is a not-for-profit organization formed in 1999 by a contingency of 17 rural-based agricultural commodity groups, trade organizations and co-operatives committed to providing entrepreneurs and business owners with assistance necessary to help rural cooperatives grow and prosper. The VAADC is established as the state's "go to" place for customized service delivery of support stemming from testing the concept to carrying out business development phases through accomplishing online company expansions.
South Dakota Oilseed Processors is a state-of-the-art oilseed expeller facility producing high-quality natural oil and meal products. The VAADC assisted with various business development aspects resulting in commencement of plant operations in December 2008. It is currently supporting a proposed expansion into a multi-feedstock processing facility by collaborating with the cooperative to outline strategy options and develop a business plan.
The $17 million project employs 40 people and uses 4.1 million bushels of locally grown soybeans. Additionally, it is spurring economic growth of ancillary businesses in surrounding small communities.
VAADC also provided support for Natural Gold LLC, a soy-oil processor that opened in Aberdeen in 2008. The plant has the capacity to crush 5 million bushels of soybeans annually. The chemical-free, soybean crush process used by Natural Gold lends itself to multiple applications. The refined, all-natural vegetable oil is available for use in products for human consumption, livestock feed, industrial and technical uses, as well as renewable fuels.
Some of its soy oil is being used for making Dakota Ag Additive, which the company says can be blended with ethanol and biodiesel for enhanced engine performance and mileage. Soy meal, a co-product of the production process, is made into a high-value livestock feed ingredient for area producers.
VAADC provided technical assistance to foster the business development, teamed up with the Governor's Office of Economic Development to use the Value Added Ag Subfund to help fund a feasibility study and collaborated with the Region III Small Business Development Center on developing financial projections for the business plan.
Quote from board president:
"Agriculture is the foundation of South Dakota's economy. The support of our agricultural community and USDA's Rural Cooperative Development Grant program allows the VAADC to provide services needed to start and grow cooperative businesses in our rural communities," says VAADC board president Merlin Van Walleghen. "Delivery of VAADC services has played a significant role in starting or expanding more than 130 endeavors. Our client base will continue to grow as our resources assist the next phase of value-added agriculture that includes not only traditional commodities, but also co-product processing, new commodities, global markets and increased entrepreneurialism."
Keystone Development Center
Services provided and area served:
Keystone Development Center (KDC) (serves Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. It provides a "one-stop shop" for cooperative development services. These include feasibility studies, incorporation, bylaw development, business plans and conflict resolution.
The Keystone Development Center is in its 11th year of operation and is approaching a cumulative total of 100 clients who have been provided significant technical assistance in support of their cooperative. The Center's nine-member board represents organizations such as Adams Electric Cooperative, Pennsylvania State University Extension, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture and the Center for Rural Pennsylvania. One of KDC's greatest strengths is its involved, "hands-on" board, which is committed to cooperative development and whose members have a broad range of expertise.
The Center provides complete development services and regularly does feasibility studies and business plan development. Feasibility studies have been conducted for nearly 40 groups.
Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative
The Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative (LFFC) serves Amish and Mennonite farmers in the Lancaster, Pa., area and is considered one of the Center's greatest success stories. Started by seven farmers, the co-op has grown to more than 50 farmer-members. The co-op's high-quality, mostly certified organic products are marketed in Philadelphia and New York City, among other locations.
Cooperative sales have grown from about $300,000 in its initial year of operation in 2006 to well over $6.5 million in 2010. The Keystone Development Center helped LFFC incorporate, develop bylaws and hire employees. The co-op currently has eight full-time employees and is conducting interviews to hire two additional full-time workers. It also employs five full-time or seasonal drivers and about 10 part-time office staff and warehouse packers.
Two spin-off businesses of the co-op have also been created: a trucking company and a co-packing business. Several farms have become certified organic operations based on membership in LFFC. As a result of the cooperative, the farmer-members have seen a significant increase in their net farm income.
The development of the cooperative has made a tremendous impact on the farmer-members economic viability. To learn more about the co-op, visit: www.lancasterfarmfresh.com.
Quote from Center director:
"Lancaster Farm Fresh is an excellent example of the power of cooperation. The farmers who helped form LFFC and those who joined later are able to access markets and to earn prices that would have been impossible without cooperation."--Cathy Smith, KDC Executive Director
MidAtlantic Food Cooperative
One of the newest initiatives KDC is involved with is the MidAtlantic Food Cooperative Alliance (MAFCA). MAFCA represents the beginning of what is hoped will grow into a federated cooperative of food co-ops in the region. This effort is aimed at developing the local food system by organizing the consumer end of the food system by helping them more easily find sources of local products.
The group has met several times and currently has 30 member-cooperatives involved. These food cooperatives have an estimated total membership of about 43,000 individuals or households, with current aggregated gross sales of nearly $99 million (this does not include the projected sales from the start-up co-ops). It is estimated that MAFCA members are already purchasing $16 million of local products annually.
The current membership includes 12 start-up businesses, most of which KDC has been advising throughout their launch process. These start-up businesses have already benefited a great deal from exposure to mature co-ops in MAFCA.
The objectives of the Alliance are to:
* Establish a regional network of consumer food co-ops, businesses and farmers;
* Promote a marketing brand for regional co-ops;
* Publicize, promote and enhance resources for established and start-up co-ops;
* Promote the principles and values of the cooperative movement.
The group has selected a steering committee and currently has four work groups: Food System Development, Regional Network, Cooperative Economy/Education/Marketing and Start-ups.
California experiencing surge in food co-ops
A desire to support regional economic development and locally grown food--coupled with a reduction of small- and mid-sized grocery stores--has fueled growth of cooperative food stores in California. Interestingly, rural communities and inner cities are the locales for this resurgence of food co-op development. California's inner city "food deserts" and rural communities both have trouble attracting mid-sized grocery stores that offer a variety of fresh produce and foodstuffs.
California's first cooperative (the United Workingman's Boot and Shoe Manufacturing Co.) was formed in 1867 in San Francisco. The Consumer Cooperative of Berkeley, the state's most prominent food cooperative, started in 1937 and opened two additional stores during the depression years. During the 1960s and 1970s, CCB grew to include 12 stores serving various cities just outside of the San Francisco Bay area.
In the 1970s, a second wave of independent food co-ops grew around California. This wave included rural communities such as Quincy, Grass Valley, Chico, Humboldt and Arcata. These rural food co-ops are not only still standing, but thriving, as strong cooperative businesses.
Despite these "waves" of cooperative development, there were no new consumer food co-ops formed between 1985 and 2000. Also during that time, the Consumer Cooperative of Berkeley dissolved in bankruptcy. This chilled any prospective cooperative organizer's zeal for initiating a new food co-op.
As memory of that failure faded, new initiatives throughout California, Nevada and the Pacific Northwest are gaining momentum and generating a third wave of cooperative development.
Resurgence of cooperative development
The third wave of cooperatives is taking shape in many of the same ways as their first and second wave predecessors. Some are using existing resources, some are starting out as food buying clubs using 21st century tools, such as the Internet and software tools, while others are pioneering new strategies. In each case, cooperative development is responding to community desires, such as a fundamental need for a grocery store with fresh, healthy food or to make locally produced foods accessible and create a sustainable local economy.
During 2009, two new California food cooperatives opened their doors, and at least four more cooperatives are in the development process. One of the new co-ops is Mandela Foods Cooperative, a worker-owned co-op in a designated "food desert" in Oakland, which saw its major supermarkets leave the area throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The cooperative also benefits rural farmers through its concerted effort to purchase from minority farmers in the Salinas Valley and Fresno County.
The co-op works closely with Mandela Marketplace, a charitable nonprofit that assists the community through a host of community programs that have a healthy foods theme, including links with local farmers.
The second new food cooperative, Arena Market and Cafe, sits on the coast of Mendocino, a beautiful, rugged, and isolated community. Without a grocery store for more than 40 miles in any direction, the residents up and down the nearby coast rallied with their committed memberships and member loans to establish the community co-op in a renovated building on the main road where Highway 1 runs through town. The store reaches out to local farmers by featuring their produce and products.
CCCD's Lake County effort
The California Center for Cooperative Development (CCCD) has been helping rural residents in Lake County strengthen their buying club and prepare a feasibility study for a retail food cooperative. Lake County is a rural area that is home to the largest lake entirely within the state. The 50-mile, two-lane road that runs around the lake creates access challenges of many kinds.
The core members of the buying club (which has about 200 total members) were burdened by the size and breadth of the club. CCCD helped link members to the Internet and use software programs that were adapted from the Oklahoma Food Co-op by coop consultant Roy Gusinger, who has also been working with similar food-buying clubs across the Pacific Northwest.
The board of the buying club is reviewing a recently completed feasibility study to evaluate whether it is the right time to develop a retail food co-op.
Other food cooperatives currently in development are divided among urban and rural areas. One rural endeavor is attempting to retain a valued local natural food store that will likely close when the owner retires. CCCD and other food cooperatives in the region are helping the steering committee with this cooperative development process. Another urban endeavor has been receiving telephone advice and referrals from CCCD.
Recent development projects are drawing on lessons from the failures of previous cooperatives, the best practices of successful co-ops, and the resources of cooperative development professionals. These resources are more essential in today's climate than they were in the past.--By Luis Sierra and Kim Coontz (CCCD staff members)
California Center for Cooperative Development
The California Center for Cooperative Development (CCCD) promotes cooperatives as a vibrant business model to address the economic and social needs of California's communities. CCCD fulfills this mission by:
* Educating the public, community institutions and government agencies to foster and promote the understanding of cooperatives;
* Identifying and disseminating information about successful practices and models for cooperatives;
* Encouraging cooperation and coordination among various types of cooperatives;
* Providing technical assistance and education for the development of cooperatives to best address economic and social needs.
Ohio Cooperative Development Center
Services provided and areas served:
The Ohio Cooperative (Development Center (OCDC) enhances rural economic development in the Appalachian and other rural areas of Ohio and west-central West Virginia, as well as for some multi-state and nationwide cooperatives. OCDC has been providing technical training and support for new and emerging cooperatives since 2000 at the Ohio State University South Centers (OSUSC). OSU-SC is strategically located within rural Appalachia, which provides maximum integration with the targeted geographic areas and audiences.
OCDC is also well-positioned to work closely with all programs based at OSU-SC and statewide with the Extension Service in providing a strong network for clients.
OCDC is integrated with the OSUSC Business Development Network, which provides services that include a business incubator, one-on-one technical assistance, training/ workshops and a network of resources to help business owners and entrepreneurs. The team operates the region s Small Business Development Center and Manufacturing and Technology Small Business Development Center. The personnel of the Business Development Network provide valuable technical assistance in financing, marketing and management.
From 2007 to 2010, the OSU-SC Business Development Network assisted 1,448 businesses/clients with one-on-one assistance. Some 227 training sessions were conducted, which attracted more than 2,500 attendees.
During this same time period, OCDC assisted in the legal incorporation of 16 cooperatives, eight 501(c)(3) business and one limited liability company. OCDC accomplished this by investing more than 4,560 hours of directed client services, which included more than 610 face-to-face sessions with 68 potential new/ emerging cooperatives. OCDC staff provided 48 presentations/workshops for more than 1,591 participants.
Impact on area:
The businesses assisted acquired nearly $19.5 million in loans and invested $12.7 million in equity. Gross sales of these businesses exceeded $18.8 million, which includes $5.47 million in government contracts. The Center says these businesses retained 510 jobs and created 540 new jobs. These businesses also received more than $1.4 million from Ohio's Internship Program, which offset half the wages of technology-based interns.
Quote from director:
"From 2000 to 2010, OCDC has worked closely with many agencies and community partners to achieve it mission."--Tom Worley, Director, OSU SC
Purchasing cooperative provides savings for members
The United Regional Purchasing Cooperative (URPC) is a purchasing/marketing partnership between the South Central Manufacturing Network Inc. (SCMN), in Chillicothe, Ohio, and Benefit Unlimited Inc. (BUI), in Marietta, Ohio. It contracts with vendors for core-business supplies and services, as well as for employee benefits.
SCMN was formed in 2007 to provide training and purchasing services for its 10 members, which are local manufacturers with more than 7,000 employees. Skilled-trade and "soft-skills" training was the first service provided by SCMN. Its second major effort was to provide preferred-vendor purchasing services for members involved in both manufacturing and non-manufacturing businesses. This cooperative service leverages the power of numbers, helping to obtain best prices.
As a major local preferred vendor, Benefits Unlimited Inc. (BUI) was selected as a contractor. BUI was formed in 2007 to provide cost-effective healthcare benefits and to promote a consumer-driven approach to healthcare with a system that addresses most of the current healthcare issues.
The cooperative business structure addresses some of these challenges and gives patients and physicians more of a voice in the system. After the pilot project in Ohio, it is hoped that the effort can be expanded nationwide as BUI develops multi-state infrastructures.
SCMN and BUI went "live" with URPC services in May 2010. Since then, new URPC membership applications have been received, representing more than 500 small businesses and 2,000 employees.
The cooperative saved $1.1 million in annual healthcare plan premiums for one company that employs more than 200 employees. The co-op saved a small chamber of commerce more than $10,000 in annual premiums for its three employees. Many businesses are currently in the process of reviewing this option for their employees.
It is estimated that URPC will save up to $5 million annually for its members.
"The United Regional Purchasing Cooperative is making a significant difference in reducing operational costs for our members and making an impact on the businesses' bottom line," says Tom Markley, SCMN board president.
La Montanita Food Co-op
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Editor's note: The National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) is a business services cooperative for natural food co-ops throughout the United States. Its 114 independent co-op members operate more than 145 storefronts in 32 states with combined annual sales of nearly $1.2 billion. NCGA helps unify natural food coops, optimize operational and marketing resources, strengthen purchasing power and, ultimately, offer more value to co-op owners and shoppers.
A noteworthy trend in recent years has been the growing cooperation and alliances between food co-ops, farmers markets and local/regional farmer's co-ops. In observance of Co-op Month, NCGA selected the two co-ops featured on the following pages as examples of outstanding, member-owned food stores.
Products or Services:
Retail groceries and (wholesale delivery of (natural, organic and local foods with two stores and a distribution facility in Albuquerque, one store in Santa Fe, N.M., and one store in Gallup, N.M.
Number of members and annual sales:
More than 15,000 members; annual sales of $27 million.
La Montanita Co-op Natural Foods Market was incorporated in 1976, when it had about 300 member-owner families. The co-op added a second store in 1999, added two additional stores in 2005 and warehouse in late 2006.
Noteworthy innovation or new endeavor:
In late 2006, after much study and the creation of a strategic business plan, La Montanita Co-op embarked on a Co-op Trade/Food-Shed Project. This project is designed to provide farmers, ranchers and value-added producers a much needed wholesale outlet for the distribution of their products. It serves a 300-mile radius around Albuquerque.
Impact on community/area/famers:
The Food-Shed Project was an untested idea; there was no prior business model to use as guidance. In four years of operation, the Food-Shed Project and the 7,000-square-foot Cooperative Distribution Center (CDC) have increased the number of local producers served from about 300 to nearly 700. The co-op's stores currently carry more than 1,100 local products in all grocery categories, which comprise 20 percent of its local purchases and sales.
Quote from board member:
"We have unique challenges serving the fifth largest state with a small facility and communities separated by hundreds of uninhabited miles. I'm very proud of our staff--despite many challenges they have achieved significant progress in the development of local food production.--Martha Whitman Board President
Co-op builds community around food
The Marquette Food Co-op (MFC), in Marquette, Mich., is an organic and natural retail food cooperative that also serves as an information hub for "all things food." The co-op has about 2,500 members and is growing, predominantly in Marquette and Alger Counties of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. MFC had 2009 sales of $3.6 million and will top $4 million in sales for 2010.
Founded in 1971 as a natural foods buying club for a few families, MFC grew into a small storefront that was run by one paid staff member and some volunteers throughout the 1990s. Eventually, the store became a full-service organic and natural grocery store and joined National Cooperative Grocers Association. It expanded into its current store, which has 3,200 square feet of retail space. The co-op employs 26 full-time and 16 part-time staff.
Noteworthy innovation or new endeavor:
Lower Michigan is known nationwide for its agricultural abundance, but farming contributions made by Upper Peninsula farmers are overlooked, due to its geographic remoteness.
MFC stepped in to give Upper Peninsula farmers the recognition they deserve. By publishing the Upper Peninsula Farm Directory, sponsoring farm tours, assisting farmers' markets, carrying local food in its retail store, creating a communication network among farmers and cultivating relationships with diverse businesses and organizations, the Marquette Food Co-op has given the area's farmers a venue for selling their goods and a voice in Michigan's agricultural community.
Simultaneously, MFC runs an outreach department that educates Upper Peninsula communities about healthy eating, nutrition and the economic benefits of "buying local." The co-op has positioned itself as the driving force behind a vibrant local food network in the Upper Peninsula.
Impact on community/area:
MFC provides a market for locally grown and produced goods, financially supports five area farmers' markets and fills a retail gap for organic and natural food. Through its payroll and purchases of local goods, the co-op accounts for at least $1.5 million in annual economic impact in this rural and economically struggling area of Michigan.
MFC provides employment, promotes agricultural expansion, entrepreneurialism and community ownership of a thriving business. In 2009, in the midst of a severe recession, MFC paid $60,000 in patronage to its members.
"Beyond providing access to healthy foods, the Marquette Food Coop serves to 'connect the dots' of a whole and vibrant local food system in an area previously dependent on food imports," says Matt Gougeon, MFC general manager.
Co-op Development Centers State Center AL Federation of Southern Cooperatives * http://www.federationsoutherncoop.com AK University of Alaska Anchorage Center for Economic Development * http://ced.uaa.alaska.edu/ CA California Center for Cooperative Development * www.cccd.coop CO Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Cooperative Development Center * http://www.rmfu.org/co-op/ IN Indiana Cooperative Development Center * http://icdc.coop/ IA Iowa State University * www.isucoops.org KY Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development * http://www.kcard.info/index.php MA Cooperative Development Institute * http://www.cdi.coop MI Michigan State University / Product Center for Agriculture & Natural Resources * http://www. aec.msu.edu/product/index.htm MT Montana Cooperative Development Corporation, Inc. * http://www.mcdc.coop MT Mission Mountain Cooperative Development Center * http://www.lakecountycdc.org/mission-mountaincoop- development-center.html NC North Carolina State University * email@example.com ND North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives * http://www.ndarec.com/aboutUs.htm ND Common Enterprise Development Center * http://www.cooperationworks.coop/about/members/ common-enterprise-development-corporation NE Nebraska Cooperative Development Center * http://ncdc.unl.edu OH Ohio Cooperative Development Center * http://ocdc.osu.edu OH Kent State University OEOC Ohio Employee Ownership Center * http://www.oeockent.org/ OH National Network of Forest Practitioners * http://www.nnfp.org/index.php PA Keystone Development Center, Inc. * www.kdc.coop SD Value-Added Agriculture Development Center * http://www.sdvalueadded.coop VA Virginia Foundation for Agriculture, Innovation & Rural Sustainability * http://www.vafairs.com WA Northwest Cooperative Development Center * http://www.nwcdc.coop WI Cooperative Development Services * http://www.cdsus.coop
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||CO-OP MONTH|
|Date:||Sep 1, 2010|
|Previous Article:||Look who's minding the store: student-run supply co-ops short-lived, but the concepts they teach live on.|
|Next Article:||Extending co-op knowledge: Extension Service website to include co-op education area.|