October Deemed ‘Co-op Month’

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz recently signed proclamations declaring October as ‘Co-op Month’ in their respective states.

During Co-op Month, cooperatives celebrate the cooperative movement and the role cooperatives play
in achieving economic viability and contributing significant social benefits in the communities in which
they operate.

“Minnesota and Wisconsin have proud cooperative heritages, and we greatly appreciate the governors of both states signing proclamations recognizing the major impacts cooperative businesses have in their states,” says Cooperative Network President and CEO Dan Smith.

Smith adds co-ops are hardwired for economic and societal transformation. In a moment when corporations are scrambling to find an identity outside of maximizing shareholder value, that’s a meaningful difference, he says.

Minnesota is home to about 1,000 cooperatives; Wisconsin about 800.

Between them, the two states have the highest concentration of cooperatives in the nation. Cooperative Network works on behalf of cooperatives large and small from a dozen business sectors. These sectors produce goods and services through farm production, farm supply, grain marketing, ethanol production, dairy marketing and processing, financial services, livestock genetics, meat processing, mutual insurance, telecommunications, electrical power and distribution, to name a few.

Cooperatives are governed by their members, the everyday people who use the business, as opposed to investors or shareholders. Members may be consumers, workers, producers, or independent business owners who govern the co-op on a democratic basis. 

This unique relationship is recognized in international law, as well as by the U.S. Department of
Agriculture, which affirms that co-ops are “user-owned businesses that are controlled by – and operate
for the benefit of – their members, rather than outside investors.”