National Co-op Month: How USDA Rural Development Supports Co-ops

Posted by Darrah Perryman, Public Affairs Specialist, USDA Rural Development in Rural

October 04, 2022

Co-operatives are a vital pillar of the American economy and provide essential goods and services to rural America. Many communities rely on co-ops to provide locally grown food, housing, electricity, financial services, internet, retail services and much more.

In October, the US Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (RD) will highlight the stories of co-operatives and the organizations that serve them during National Co-operative Month. Recognized since 1964, this month-long initiative helps raise awareness of cooperatives and provides communities with information on cooperative R&D services and programs.

This year’s theme is “Co-operatives build economic power”.

Generally, cooperative members are civically engaged and willing to contribute to their local economy. For many, a cooperative business model is a sustainable and agile way to provide goods and services to their community. There are more than 30,000 cooperatives in operation in the country and these cooperatives represent nearly 2 million jobs and 350 million members.

American co-operatives generate more than $660 billion in annual revenue, but it is their sustainability and unique structure that motivate thousands of people to form co-operatives every year. The cooperative enterprise module promotes inclusivity – often bringing together underserved communities to create and create 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, the Rural Co-operative Development Grant and the Rural Business Development Grant are just a few of the ways RD can support co-operatives. To learn more about our cooperative services and programs, visit the Cooperative Services program page.

Throughout the month, we’ll be posting blogs and stories about these programs that can benefit co-ops and how to apply. follow us on social media and visit our USDA RD website for success stories, photos, news and information. Cooperation Month celebrations will also take place across the country. Connect with your local RD office to get involved in an event near you.

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