October is national Co-op Month, a time to celebrate the cooperative way of life and how these unique businesses impact the communities we live in. Whether you know it or not, cooperatives are all around us. Growing up on the family farm, I never realized the full impact of our local cooperative. In the small town of Archer, Iowa, where I grew up, if there was no cooperative there would be no town. This is not uncommon in many small towns throughout America where co-ops support the communities they are in. To this day, the local co-op supports the Archer community and its 131 residents through employment opportunities, local tax revenue and community service.
Even though my new career path has taken me far from the family farm, co-ops impact me every day. As the director of sales for VistaComm, I work with co-op clients on a daily basis. VistaComm partners with dozens of agricultural cooperatives throughout the United States, providing them with marketing and communication services. Because of this, I don’t have to look hard to see the impact cooperatives continue to have for not only their members, but the communities that surround them as well.
When you look at the information put together by the Cooperative Communicators Association, you’ll be amazed at the scale and scope of cooperative businesses and how they impact the American economy.
When many people think about a co-op here in the Midwest, we immediately think of the local elevator and the impact they have in the agricultural community. Cooperatives can actually be found in many places, and benefit many people beyond those in agribusiness.