ACE Hardware, State Farm, Land O’Lakes and Farmers Electric Cooperative all share something in common: we’re all cooperatives.
We may be in different industries, but we all share a passion for serving our members and helping our communities to thrive.
In fact, all cooperatives adhere to the same set of seven principles that reflect our core values of honesty, transparency, equity, inclusiveness and service to the greater community good.
October is National Co-op Month, so this is the perfect time to reflect on these principles that have stood the test of time but also provide a framework for the future:
1. Voluntary and Open Membership. Co-op membership is open to all people regardless of race, religion, gender or economic circumstances who accept the responsibility of membership.
2. Democratic Member Control. Representatives are elected by and from the membership; all members have equal voting rights.
3. Member’s Economic Participation. All members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative.
4. Autonomy and Independence. Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members.
5. Education, Training and Information. Education and training for members, representatives, and employees help them effectively contribute to the development and direction of the cooperative.
6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives. By working together, cooperatives bolster local economies and can deal more effectively with social and community needs.
7. Concern for Community. Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies supported by the membership.
Being guided by these seven cooperative principles isn't just about dollars–it’s about opportunity for all and being fair when engaging with our members. The cooperative way is a values-based business model.
Your co-op is a reflection of your community and its evolving needs. We view our role as a catalyst for making our world a better place.