Types of Co-ops

For more than 200 years, Americans have worked together in cooperatives to meet challenges that are too big for them to solve individually. While cooperatives are often most closely identified with agriculture, they work effectively to meet people’s needs in all sectors of life.

Cooperatives in Iowa fall into several general categories, including:
  • Producer. These cooperatives are owned by farmers who grow crops and/or raise livestock. By banding together, these producers leverage greater bargaining power with buyers. They also combine resources to more effectively market their products, thereby improving their income potential. It’s worth noting that cooperatives originate about 75% of the grain that is handled by country elevators throughout Iowa.
  • Consumer. Cooperatives provide a variety of vital, basic services for both urban and rural consumers through credit unions, telecommunications companies, rural electric cooperatives, and more.
  • Purchasing/Business. These important cooperatives operate in all sectors of the economy, from independent grocery stores to hardware wholesalers. Purchasing and shared services cooperatives are owned and governed by independent business owners who band together to enhance their purchasing power, lower their costs and improve their competitiveness and ability to provide quality products and services.

We’re here to help

The Iowa Institute for Cooperativesprovides a variety of resources for new and existing co-ops in a variety of industries. For more information, contact us!

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