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Cooperative A cooperative (also co-operative; often referred to as a co-op) is a business organization owned and operated by a group of individuals for their mutual benefit. Cooperatives are defined by the International Co-operative Alliance's Statement on the Co-operative Identity as autonomous associations of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprises. A cooperative may also be defined as a business owned and controlled equally by the people who use its services or by the people who work there. Cooperative enterprises are the focus of study in the field of cooperative economics. A cooperative is a legal entity…show more content…
Marketing cooperatives can serve their members in many ways, including bargaining for better prices, storing and selling members' grain, and processing farm products into more consumer-ready goods. In the United States, agricultural cooperatives handle about 30 percent of farmers' total farm marketing volume (Mather et al.). Supply cooperatives Supply cooperatives (sometimes referred to as purchasing cooperatives) sell farm supplies to their members. Products include production supplies such as seed, fertilizer, petroleum, chemicals, and farm equipment. American farmers purchase about 28 percent of their supply needs through cooperatives (Mather et al.). Service cooperatives Service cooperatives provide various services to their members. For instance, cooperatives may offer services such as pesticide applications, seed cleaning, and artificial insemination. Service cooperatives also include organizations such as the Farm Credit System, a network of borrower-owned lending institutions that provide credit and other financial services to farmers, and rural electric cooperatives, which provide electricity to rural areas. The first formal farmer cooperative to form in the United States occurred in 1810. However, agricultural cooperatives were not really perceived as a viable business organizational structure until after the Civil War (Cobia). Several farm organizations helped to promote
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