What is a Co-Op
A Co-op is a business organized by people to help themselves. The purpose of a Co-op is to serve the needs of their members with products, services, programs, applied technology and information, while enhancing their economic well being. That is why it is often said that Co-ops are people orientated.
While Co-ops have a lot in common with other businesses, there are some differences. Profits or earnings are called savings. Savings left over each year after the cost of doing business are returned as a patronage refund. This refund is returned to the patron based on their purchases. Some of the patronage refund (20%) is return in cash and the balance is returned as capital credit for each active member. The capital credits are returned to the members as cash at a later date, depending upon Company policies and the available funds.
Co-ops operate on a one member, one vote policy. Every common stockholder has an equal voice in a Cooperative. Co-ops are a very democratic part of the free enterprise system.
Our Co-op provides goods and services for its owners, our customers. Our member-owners elect a Board of Directors to represent them, over-see the operations, and set policies for our Co-op. The Board hires a General Manager who supervises the overall operation of or Co-op and the hiring of employees of the Co-op.
Our Co-op is a part of something much larger. Our Co-op has interest in and shares ownership in Cenex Harvest States, one of the nations largest and most efficient supply organizations. This ownership is recorded as preferred stock in the Company. As of September 2011, we have approximately $3,342,586.00 of preferred stock with Cenex Harvest States. An elected Board of Directors similar to the way we are governs Cenex Harvest States. Many of them serve on the Board of local Co-ops like ourselves.
Besides supplying us with most of our products for resale, Cenex Harvest States provides a wide range of services to our Co-op. These services include training schools for managers and employees, financial services for short and long term financing, public relations to enhance the image of our Cooperative, and a marketing staff to work with our Co-op to take orders and assist with the growth and development of our Co-op.