One of the common questions we are asked while out talking with our customers is, “What is a cooperative anyway?” Today, I hope to answer that question and a few others.
What is a cooperative?
The informal definition of a cooperative is an entity used to help farmers pool their resources together for a common purpose. Our purpose is to provide local grocery stores, butcher shops and consumers with a consistent, healthy beef option year-round.
Why did you choose a cooperative?
Most farmers birth and wean cattle only once or twice a year. If they don’t have a cow-calf operation (meaning they buy calves from other farms), often cattle are only bought once or twice a year. Buying or birthing once or twice a year creates an issue – cattle are ready for processing around the same time every year, which means they only have a product available once a year. Together, we can supply a product year-round.
Who calls the shots?
One of the cool things in a cooperative is that it is run by the members. Every year, or whenever dictated by the cooperative’s bylaws, elections are held to select board members. This board makes the hard decisions; everything from pricing, marketing, and beyond. Our board is made up of producers and local agricultural professionals to help make decisions in the best interest for both the cooperative and the members.
What is great about a cooperative?
Decision-making! One of the many great things about a cooperative is that decisions can be made as a group, instead of it all resting on you to call the shots. This helps keep us all grounded, in-check, and helps relieve some stress; because Ohio weather is stressful enough!
What is hard about a cooperative?
Capital. One of the definite disadvantages to a cooperative is raising enough capital to pay administrative costs. Since our purpose is to market for its members, the money raised goes right back to the farmers. Some fees are taken out of the product to help pay for things such as marketing and supplies, but we try to keep these fees to a minimum.
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