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Arthur Capper Cooperative Center

What is a Cooperative

 

  • Co-ops 101: An Introduction to Cooperatives
    • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/cir55.pdf
      • This report provides a comprehensive summary of basic information on the cooperative way of organizing and operating a business. It covers the nature and extent of the use of cooperatives, compares cooperatives to other business structures, explains the roles various people play in a cooperative, and discusses equity accumulation and income taxation. The purpose is to make available, in a single report, the information someone would need to acquire a general understanding of how cooperatives function.
      • CIR 55. 51 pgs. Revised in 1997. Donald A. Frederick
      • Library ID Number: 2600
  • What Are Cooperatives
    • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/cir10.pdf
      • This is the first of a 5-part educational series focused on cooperatives, what they are, how they function, and unique characteristics and responsibilities of key participants such as members, employees, managers and directors. Illustrations may be converted to slides or overhead transparencies. Lists of related RBS publications are provided. The report discusses differences among three basic business types-proprietorship, partnership, and corporation, including cooperative corporations. It also examines the various types of cooperatives and three basic principles that distinguish co-ops from general corporations: user-owned, user-controlled, and user-benefited. Also covers management challenges, cooperative objectives, how to start a cooperative, 10 steps in organizing a cooperative, and a check list of startup operations.
      • CIR 10. 24 pgs. 1995. Galen W. Rapp.
      • Library ID Number: 2622
  • Opportunities in Cooperatives; A Leader’s Program for Youth
    • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/cir25.pdf
      • This guide helps leaders teach youth organizations, such as 4-H, Scout groups, and FFA, about cooperatives via a 9-month leadership program. Suggestions are also included for awards and recognition. A quiz series provides test questions and answers plus procedures for establishing a youth cooperative. The program can be adapted to fit individual cooperatives, communities, or teaching programs.
      • CIR 25. 40 pgs. Reprinted 1988. C. H. Kirkman, Jr.
      • Library ID Number: 2713
  • Co-op Essentials: What they are and the role of members, directors, managers and employees
  • Understanding the Capper-Volstead Act
    • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/cir35.pdf
      • Details of two key provisions of the Capper-Volstead Act enacted by Congress in 1922 are examined. This important law gives agricultural producers the right to collectively market their products in interstate and foreign commerce. In the absence of such enabling legislation, producers could be subject to an antitrust action. It also protects the consumer against undue price enhancement resulting from any monopoly position that a group of producers could legally achieve by working together. The publication includes a reprint of the original 1922 law.
      • This guide combines five earlier publications (CIR 10-18) on the same subject written by C.H. Kirkman, Galen Rapp, and Gene Ingalsbe while all were employed by USDA's Agricultural Cooperative Service. It was produced by Patrick Duffey and James Wadsworth in 2001 and revised by James Wadsworth in 2014.
      • Library ID Number: 2835
  • Cooperatives: Principles and Practices in the 21st century
    • http://learningstore.uwex.edu/assets/pdfs/A1457.PDF
      • This publication introduces the basics of cooperative business and describes the history and evolution of cooperatives as shaped by trends, laws, and need. The publication then goes on to describe alternative business models, the roles, responsibilities, communication of cooperatives and cooperative financial management. Lastly, the publication summarizes the benefits and limitations of cooperatives.
      • Library ID Number: 7002
  • Understanding Cooperatives: Education Series
    • This popular series of circulars provides basic information about the cooperative form of business in simple, easy-to-understand language. They can serve as an introduction to cooperative concepts or a quick refresher course for cooperative directors, extension agents, cooperative leaders, State or regional directors of government agencies or departments working with cooperatives, youth groups, or those belonging to or working with cooperatives.
    • Section 1; American System of Business, Tammy Meyer
      • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/cir45-1.pdf
      • This article discusses features of individually owned businesses, partnerships, and corporations, both investor-owned and member-patron-owned cooperatives. Net income (profit) distribution helps distinguish them.
      • Library ID Number: 3502
    • Section 2; Cooperative Business Principles, Tammy Meyer
      • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/cir45-2.pdf
      • This article explains the principles by which cooperatives operate and the evolution of these principles. Cooperatives differ from other businesses in their purpose, ownership and control structure, and in the way benefits are distributed.
      • Library ID Number: 3510
    • Section 3; The Structure of Cooperatives, Tammy Meyer
      • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/cir45-3.pdf
      • The way a cooperative is organized determines how it operates, how it is managed and how it is controlled, as well as the types of benefits members derive from it. Five basic types of cooperative organizational structure are discussed.
      • Library ID Number: 3511
    • Section 4; Who Runs the Cooperative Business? (Members), Tammy Meyer
      • 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.
      • Library ID Number: 4022
    • Section 5; Who Runs the Cooperative Business? (Board of Directors), Tammy Meyer
      • 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.
      • Library ID Number: 3513
    • Section 6; Who Runs the Cooperative Business? (Managers & Employees), Tammy Meyer
      • 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.
      • Library ID Number: 3514
    • Section 7; Financing Co-ops, Robert Rathbone
      • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/CIR45_7.pdf
      • This article discusses the ways equity capital is used to finance a cooperative operation. These include retained net income, per-unit capital retains, and revolving fund financing. Short- and long-term loans and sources of borrowed funds are also discussed.
      • Library ID Number: 4023
    • Section 8; Income Tax Treatment of Co-ops, Donald A Frederick
      • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/CIR45-8.pdf
      • The tax status of cooperatives is clearly explained, as are the concepts of patronage refunds and payment options in returning patronage to members. Background is also provided on per-unit retains, Section 521 cooperatives, and the various tax forms which cooperatives must file.
      • Library ID Number: 4028
    • Section 9; Legal Foundations of a Cooperative, Donald A. Frederick
      • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/CIR45-9.pdf
      • This article describes the steps cooperatives must follow when incorporating. It also examined are the various organizational documents needed by cooperatives, including articles of incorporation, bylaws, policies, marketing agreements, and membership agreements. Lastly, it discusses what a director handbook should include.
      • Library ID Number: 4027
    • Section 10; Strategic Planning, Galen W. Rapp
    • Section 11; Cooperative Business and Management Functions, Galen W. Rapp
      • http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/pub/cir4511.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.
      • Library ID Number: 4025
    • Section 12; Base Capital Financing of Co-ops, Robert Rathbone
      • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/CIR45-12.pdf
      • Base capital equity plans can be used to accumulate and redeem member equity in a cooperative. This article describes how base capital plans operate, implementing them, and advantages and disadvantages.
      • Library ID Number: 4024
    • Section 13; Cooperative Statistics, Charles A. Kraenzle
      • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/CIR45-13.pdf
      • This article provides a statistical snapshot of U.S. farmer cooperatives-the number by type, membership, business volume, net income, and business volume by State.
      • Library ID Number: 4029
    • Section 14; How to Start a Cooperative, Galen W. Rapp
      • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/CIR45-14.pdf
      • This article outlines steps in organizing a cooperative - determining economic need, selecting a steering committee, conducting member surveys, drafting legal papers, acquiring capital, and hiring the manager.
      • Library ID Number: 2794
    • Section 15; Marketing Cooperatives, Marc Warman
      • http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/CIR45-15.pdf
      • This article discusses the various types of marketing cooperatives and the marketing methods they use. It also presents the reasons why marketing cooperatives were developed.
      • Library ID Number: 3449
  • A Brief Introduction to Agricultural Cooperatives
    • https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/files/project/pdf/em8665.pdf
      • This publication is designed to help people learn more about agricultural cooperatives or to help them think through the process of organizing and operating such a business. While the focus is on creating a new cooperative, many of the ideas may be of interest to those thinking about reorganizing or expanding an existing agricultural cooperative. Likewise, many of the concepts apply to any type of cooperative business – agricultural as well as nonagricultural.
      • Library ID Number: 7638