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University of Wisconsin. College of Agriculture. Dept. of Agricultural Economics / Cooperation principles and practices: the application of cooperation to the assembling, processing and marketing of farm products, to the purchase of farm supplies and consumers' goods and to credit and insurance
([1937])

III. The extent of cooperation in the United States,   pp. 22-27 PDF (1.5 MB)


Page 22


     III. THE EXTENT OF COOPERATION IN THE
                      UNITED STATES
      OPERATIVE buying and selling is carried on extens-
t^_   ively throughout the United States. More than 10,000
       cooperative associations having 81/4 million members,
transacting more than 1Y2 billion dollars worth of business
each year operate in the country. In Wisconsin 1,100 co-
operative associations are in business. These have nearly
200,000 members and transact business in excess of 73 mil-
lion dollars.  Practically every conceivable agricultural
commodity is marketed somewhere in the United States on
a cooperative basis but the organizations of the producers
of dairy products, grain, fruits and vegetables, livestock
and cotton products excel the number of organizations for
all other commodities. Along the Pacific coast, as well as
in the middle west, the greatest amount of cooperative
business is carried on.
    IS COOPERATION something that exists largely in the minds of public
spirited promoters or is it embodied in widespread practice? According to
data published by the Farm Credit Administration there were around 10,700
farmers' cooperative buying and selling associations in the United States
in
1985. These reported having approximately 3,280,000 members. The number
of farms in the United States according to the federal census of 1985 was
e,812,049. Hence there was around one cooperative membership for every two
farms in the United States. Wisconsin had slightly less than 200,000 farms
and
1,118 associations with 192,500 cooperative memberships among farmers. The
proportion of cooperative memberships for Wisconsin, nearly one cooperative
membership per farm, is double that for the United States as a whole.
    But membership alone is not an accurate index for measuring the im-
portance of the movement. Volume of business is a more reliable guide.
These 10,700 associations did a business estimated at $1,530,000,000 or an
average of $225 for every farm in the United States. The volume of cooper-
ative buying and selling by farmers in Wisconsin for 1935 was $73,490,000.
This is an average of $867 per farm-no Inconsiderable sum.
   Cooperation in the United States and Wisconsin Compared-The figures in
Table I indicate that Wisconsin has one-tenth the cooperative associations,
round one-seventeenth of the membership, and transacts nearly one-twentieth
of
the cooperative farm business of the United States. This means that relatively
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