What is a Co-op?
A cooperative is a business, but it is unique in several important ways. Cooperatives are formed by their members when the marketplace fails to provide needed goods or services at affordable prices and acceptable quality.
- Are owned and democratically controlled by their membership-the people who use the cooperative's services or purchase its goods, not by outside investors.
- Elect their board of directors from within the membership.
- Return surplus revenues to members proportionate to their use of the cooperative.
- Are motivated not by profit, but by service, to meet needs of their members' needs for affordable and high quality goods or services.
Cooperatives follow seven internationally recognized principles:
- Voluntary and open membership
- Democratic member control
- Member economic participation
- Autonomy and independence
- Education, training and information
- Cooperation among cooperatives
- Concern for community
Cooperatives are formed by their members when the marketplace fails to provide needed goods or services at affordable prices and acceptable quality.
U.S. cooperatives serve some 120 million members, or 4 in 10 Americans. Worldwide, some 750,000 cooperatives serve 730 million members.
Why is it needed?
Individual farmers haven't the time, funds, workforce or facilities to make all their feed, grow seed, process fertilizer, manufacture farm supplies, market produce or perform scientific research.
By combining their purchases of these products with others, as they do with Southern States Cooperative, farmers indirectly own and operate modern feed mills, fertilizer plants, farm supply warehouses, petroleum terminals, test farms, cotton gins and laboratories.
These all make the business of farming pay better by allowing its members to produce food, tobacco and fiber of higher quality and greater value.
Southern States sets the pace in establishing price and quality standards in farm production supplies in its operating area by maintaining fair prices and high quality products.