Cooperatives are a vital pillar of the U.S. economy and contribute essential goods and services to rural America. Many communities rely on cooperatives to provide locally grown food, housing, electricity, financial services, internet, retail services, and so much more.
This October, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (RD) will highlight the stories of cooperatives and the organizations that serve them during National Cooperative Month. Recognized since 1964, this month-long initiative helps raise awareness about co-ops and empowers communities with information about co-op services and programs at RD.
This year’s theme is "Co-ops Build Economic Power.”
Typically, co-op members are civically engaged and eager to contribute to their local economy. For many, a co-op business model is a sustainable and agile way to deliver goods and services to their community. There are more than 30,000 cooperatives operating in the country and these co-ops account for nearly 2 million jobs and 350 million memberships.
American cooperatives generate more than $660 billion in annual revenue, but it is their sustainability and unique structure that motivates thousands of people to start co-ops every year. The cooperative business module fosters inclusivity – oftentimes bringing underserved communities together to create and build wealth.
With the help of RD, rural communities can create and sustain impactful cooperatives that often fill market gaps. Programs like the Value Added Producer Grant, Rural Cooperative Development Grant, and the Rural Business Development Grant are just a few of the ways RD can support cooperatives. To learn more about our cooperative services and programs, visit the Cooperative Services program page.
All month long, we’ll post blogs and stories about these programs that can benefit cooperatives and how to apply for them. Follow us on social media and visit our USDA RD website for success stories, photos, news and information. Co-op Month celebrations will also take place across the country. Connect with your local RD office to get involved with an event near you.