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Arthur Capper Cooperative Center

People Make a Cooperative Work

  • Cooperative Member Responsibilities and Control
    • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/cir1sec7.pdf
      • Members' responsibilities as owners of a cooperative business are discussed in terms of giving overall direction and participating in decision making. The report focuses on member responsibilities for understanding the cooperative, selecting and evaluating directors, use and support of the cooperative, helping obtain new members, and nominating and electing directors. It also examines treatment of small and large-sized farmer-members, capital programs, and equity retirement.
      • CIR 1 Section 7. 26 pgs. Reprinted 1993. C. H. Kirkman, Jr.
      • Library ID Number: 2724
  • Cooperative Management
    • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/cir1sec8.pdf
      • Management of cooperatives has greatly improved as they have grown in size and become more diversified and integrated to match similar advances in the marketplace and the farm. This booklet outlines the role of management, available resources, functions and tools, elements and division of responsibility, and managing local and regional cooperatives. It also examines future management challenges.
      • CIR 1 Section 8. 35 pgs. Revised 1995. Galen W. Rapp.
      • Library ID Number:2621
  • Members Make Co-ops Work
    • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/cir12.pdf
      • This report examines the role of members in cooperatives-who they are and their responsibilities as owners-with special emphasis on control, financing, and patronage. In some cases members may need to meet legal requirements such as being an agricultural producer. Defines cooperatives as a distinct form of business in the American private enterprise system, member responsibilities in making cooperatives work and how to use co-ops for economic benefit. Also examines controls found in legal documents such as articles of incorporation, bylaws, membership application, and marketing agreements. This report covers members' legal responsibilities as owners-such as voting, expressing opinions, and serving on committees.
      • CIR 12. 29 pgs. 1993. C.H. Kirkman, Jr., and Gene Ingalsbe.
      • Library ID Number: 2892
  • What Co-op Employees Do
    • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/cir18.pdf
      • This booklet examines the role of employees and their relationship to owners of the business, namely its day-to-day customers. Employees become the keystone of their cooperative's success because of this close contact with the member-owners. The publication reviews the three distinct operating principles-customers own the business, maintain control, and share the benefits. Discussion also centers on the cooperative business structure and characteristics of quality employees who are the front line business representatives. Characteristics of quality employees are reviewed, such as providing sound advise to customers, knowing the cooperative's goals and how to achieve them, and participating in community activities to enhance the cooperative's image.
      • CIR 18. 33 pgs. 1995. Galen W. Rapp.
      • Library ID Number: 2623
  • Director Liability in Agricultural Cooperatives
    • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/cir34.pdf
      • Farmers and others who serve as directors of farmer cooperatives are subject to responsibility rules applicable to all corporations and are subject to the same liabilities when those responsibilities are not met. This study surveys and discusses sources of liability faced by cooperative directors and suggests practices and behavior that may help avoid liability risks. The common law sources of liability are described. Liability of directors for criminal activities is noted, and statutory laws placing liability on directors for their violation are outlined. Liabilities for improper distribution of dividends, depletion of capital, improper patronage refunds and antitrust violations are singled out for discussion.
      • CIR 34. 39 pgs. Reprinted 1996. Douglas Fee, Allen C. Hoberg, and Linda Grim McCormick.
      • Library ID Number: 2440
  • Recruiting and Training Co-op Employees
    • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/cir36.pdf
      • Job requirements, successful recruiting, training and development of employees, and performance evaluation are all discussed. This publication includes examples of 10 different personnel forms, several of which can be reproduced or easily adapted to an individual cooperative. The types and ranges of jobs available in cooperatives are discussed.
      • CIR 36. 44 pgs. Reprinted 1990. Galen W. Rapp.
      • Library ID Number: 2796
  • Ownership and Loyalty in Agricultural Cooperatives
    • http://www.aae.wisc.edu/jdfoltz/Zeuli%20Foltz%20Ownership%20and%20Loyalty.pdf
      • The federated business structure of cooperatives provides an important context in which to study what incentives ownership conveys for business loyalty. In this work we suggest that agency problems cause the lack of loyalty in the federated system of cooperatives. The agents in the federated system are the local managers, who act on behalf of their principals, the local owners (or the local board members who represent the owners). We develop a theoretical principal-agent model that explores the loyalty incentives in the federated structure. We derive several conditions for loyalty that we test empirically using data collected from federated farm supply and grain marketing cooperatives in 2003. Our results show that ownership and loyalty may not always be positively correlated. These findings provide insight into the future stability of the federated structure.
      • Kimberly Zeuli, Jeremy Foltz – University of Wisconsin
      • Library ID Number: 7642
  • Section 4: Who Runs the Cooperative Business? (Members)
    • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/cir45-4.pdf
      • This section looks at the rights, responsibilities, and qualifications of cooperative member-owners. Emphasis is placed on member responsibilities, including reasons why members must help capitalize and patronize their cooperative, be informed about it, participate in selecting and evaluating directors, and take part in evaluating the overall performance of the cooperative.
      • CIR 45-4. 4 pgs. 1994. Tammy Meyer.
      • Library ID Number: 4022
  • Section 5: Who Runs the Cooperative Business? (Board of Directors)
    • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/cir45-5.pdf
      • The board is the elected policymaking and legal body of the corporation. This article discusses director duties and responsibilities, how directors are elected, board size, and selection of officers are discussed.
      • CIR 45-5. 4 pgs. Reprinted 1997. Tammy Meyer.
      • Library ID Number: 3513
  • Section 6: Who Runs the Cooperative Business? (Managers & Employees)
    • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/CIR45_6.pdf
      • This section examines responsibilities of managers, board /manager relations, criteria used in selecting a manager, and responsibilities of employees.
      • CIR 45-6. 4 pgs. 1995. Tammy Meyer.
      • Library ID Number: 3514
  • Section 11: Cooperative Business and Management Functions
    • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/CIR45-11.pdf
      • This article differentiates management and director functions and describes the interrelationships between the two. It also includes tips on how to harmonize their roles.
      • CIR 45-11. 4 pgs. 1995. Galen W. Rapp.
      • Library ID Number: 4025
  • Do Yourself a Favor: JOIN a Cooperative
    • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/cir54.pdf
      • This popular 10-page brochure is an excellent introduction to cooperatives for audiences who know little about them-or need a brief reminder of the underlying concepts of cooperatives. The brochure talks about what a cooperative is, user ownership and control, and benefits according to use. It describes the differences between cooperatives and nonprofit associations.
      • CIR 54. 9 pgs. 1996. Donald A. Frederick.
      • Library ID Number: 2966
  • Appraising Manager Performance
    • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/rr136.pdf
      • A major duty of the board of directors is to hire and appraise the performance of the cooperative's manager. Larger cooperatives have access to both outside and internal expertise in performing this function. Many smaller cooperatives in turn, don't have the advantage of a personnel department to implement an appraisal program or provide the training to productively conduct the appraisal. This publication offers a selection of proven tools from multiple sources that cooperatives can implement in conducting an effective evaluation program.
      • Research Report 136. 48 pgs. 1994. Galen W. Rapp.
      • Library ID Number: 2846
  • Voting and Representation Systems in Agricultural Co-ops
    • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/rr156.pdf
      • This report examines two interrelated aspects of cooperatives representation-determining voting power of individual member, and determining how directors are elected to cooperative boards. The use of one-member, one-vote and proportional voting systems in U.S. cooperatives by type and function and membership size. Direct-membership, federated, and mixed cooperatives are examined. The report also documents the organizational use of at-large, geographic districting, and delegate systems as well as combinations of them.
      • Research Report 156. 12 pgs. 1997. Bruce J. Reynolds, Thomas W. Gray and Charles A. Kraenzle.
      • Library ID Number: 2568
  • Participation in Ag Cooperatives: Scale, Regression Analysis
    • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/rr165.pdf
      • This research identifies characteristics that influence member participation in cooperatives. Participation measures include attendance at meetings, serving on committees or as elected officers, and recruiting other farmers to join. Nineteen characteristics were found statistically related to participation including farm characteristics, member demographics, beliefs in cooperative principles, collective action, member influence, cooperative impartiality, and satisfaction with farming and cooperative officers.
      • Research Report 165. 1998. Thomas W. Gray and Charles A. Kraenzle.
      • Library ID Number: 4609
  • Guide to Designing Benefit Packages for Cooperatives
    • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/sr36.pdf
      • This report serves as a general guide for designing and financing benefit packages, setting pay structures, and evaluating jobs of cooperative employees. It provides general guidelines but does not address all the unique requirements, skills or risks associated with a given position in a cooperative. Adjustments may be needed by newly organized or existing cooperatives when replacing employee, who have retired or left the organization.
      • Service Report 36. 31 pgs. 1993. Beverly Rotan. $3.00.
      • Library ID Number: 2875
  • Assessing Performance and Needs of Cooperative Boards of Directors
    • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/cir58.pdf
      • This report provides tools for assessing cooperative boards of directors. It contains information and exercises in assessing a board in three ways: (1) director’s self-assessment (2) assessing the cooperative board as a single entity and (3) assessing board meetings. Cooperative boards can use assessments to identify problem areas and weakness and subsequently devise programs, plans, and training methods to remedy them. An assessment should be conducted regularly. Improvements should be made and progress tracked.
      • CIR 58. 30 pgs. 2000. James J Wadsworth. 
      • Library ID Number: 5591
  • Keeping Cooperative Membership Rolls Current
    • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/cir37.pdf
      • This report analyzes the problems inactive members pose for the cooperative character, legal status, and management efficiency of an agricultural cooperative. Bylaws and policies to correct any weaknesses in a cooperative’s current approach to inactive members are discussed and examples provided.
      • CIR 37. 35 pgs. 1991. Donald A Frederick.
      • Library ID Number: 2718
  • Creating Boards that Lead  
    • http://www.uwcc.wisc.edu/issues/Governance/boardlead.html
      • This article describes the meaningful and critical role the board must play in cooperative affairs. Hopefully it will help clarify what the board should be doing, how the board can organize its work and what unique products the board contributes to your cooperative’s success.
      • The Cooperative Grocer June-July 1995, Ann Hoyt 
      • Library ID Number: 7652
  • Building a Productive Board
  • Criteria for Separating Co-op Board and Executive Decision areas   
    • http://www.uwcc.wisc.edu/issues/Governance/criteria.html
      • There is no fine line of distinction between the executive’s and the board’s authority for specific action. The ten criteria included in this article may be helpful in distinguishing board and executive decision areas.
      • University of Wisconsin
      • Library ID Number: 7653
  • Effective member relations essential to keep co-op spirit alive and kicking 
    • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/CoopMag-mar01.pdf
      • This article discusses the importance of member relations in a cooperative business. It also outlines several ways in which to maintain and improve member relations.
      • Rural Cooperative Magazine. Pg. 19-20. 2 pgs. March-April 2001. Jim Wadsworth.
      • Library ID Number: 7654