Business / Agriculture / Cooperative: An enterprise or organization owned by and operated for the benefit of those using its services. In agriculture, such an organization is owned and used by farmers mainly to handle the off-farm part of their businesses - buying farm supplies, marketing their products, furnishing electric and telephone service, and providing business services —at cost. Essential features are democratic control, limited return on capital, and operation at cost, with distribution of financial benefits to individuals in proportion to their use of the services made available by the cooperative (called patronage refunds). In 1997, there were 3,884 farmer cooperatives in the United States. As a variation from the traditional design, so-called 'new generation cooperatives' are characterized by limited membership, require substantial investment, and include delivery contracts. Producers are increasingly using this model to create their own value-added business enterprises. The Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS) assists in forming new cooperative businesses and improving the operations of existing cooperatives through technical assistance, research, information products. Cooperatives are afforded certain antitrust exemptions by the Capper-Volstead Act.
Business / Agriculture / Cooperative Extension System: A federal-state-local cooperative education system that provides continuing adult education based on the academic programs of the land grant colleges of agriculture and their affiliated state agricult MORE
Business / Agriculture / National Bank For Cooperatives (Cobank): An institution of the Farm Credit System that provides financial services to approximately 2,000 agricultural cooperatives, rural utility systems, Farm Credit System associations and other businesses MORE