Cooperative Development and Farmers Union have gone together since, well, 1902. That’s when National Farmers Union took root in Point, Texas. Rocky Mountain Farmers Union was organized in 1907. By 1908, members were at work forming farmer-owned cooperatives across Colorado.
Today, the RMFU Cooperative Development Center (https://www.rmfu.org/what-we-do/cooperation/co-op-development-center/) is celebrating its 20th year of working with groups that want to secure economic opportunities by finding common ground. A cooperative is a business venture in which ownership is held by the customers rather than outside investors. Cooperatives place a priority on people over profits, often by providing services otherwise not available, buying in bulk to keep purchase costs low, or marketing as a group to secure better income opportunities for all members.
Examples of cooperatives that have nationwide recognition include CHS, Inc., ACE Hardware, CoBank, Ocean Spray, Sunkist Growers, Organic Valley, Farm Credit Services, Tillamook Creamery, and The Associated Press.
Cooperatives for more than 100 years have been operating as successful businesses in numerous economic sectors. Service cooperatives such as credit unions and rural electric associations provide cutting-edge technology to their members and often at lower costs than other enterprises. Supply cooperatives such as Agfinity buy fertilizer and fuel for the farmers who are members of the co-op in order to assure an affordable supply. Marketing cooperatives such as CHS, Inc. are able to return more cash back to farmers and rural communities.
October is Co-op Month, and the RMFU Cooperative Development Center is celebrating by hosting an Ice Cream Social at 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, at the RMFU office in Denver. Stop by and help us celebrate. And be sure to like the RMFU Co-op Center page on Facebook.