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Resilience spells growth for cooperatives    
Cooperative Facts
October is Co-op Month

Greg McKee

Cooperatives in North Dakota continue to do an excellent job of sustaining the ability of North Dakota communities to obtain needed goods and services. That’s the view of Gregory McKee, Ph.D., director of the Quentin Burdick Center for Cooperatives at North Dakota State University.

McKee recently released data he has gathered concerning cooperative enterprise business activity in North Dakota (see data displayed on facing page). To explain how the 332 cooperatives doing business in North Dakota could deliver more than $20 billion in economic activity in 2012, McKee says it has to do with adaptation.

“A theme with our cooperative businesses right now is the idea of resilience, and coupled with that is adaptation to market conditions over time,” McKee says. Electric cooperatives retain support of members by communicating about the challenges of increasing regulations and rate changes, he says. He notes today’s agricultural and financial/credit union cooperatives stay on growth paths through more aggressive consolidation and federation of services.

“Cooperatives are making efforts to carry on their businesses, in ways members believe in,” McKee says.

McKee says today’s cooperative boards and managers are learning and using leadership skills that benefit members as communities. He notes that these skills come from a cooperative’s unique view of business: succeeding today by helping people stay linked in a community-wide pursuit of vital goods or services. McKee says when membership trusts the cooperative to keep the community interest as the highest priority, cooperative enterprise success will continue.



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