Cooperatives Community of Practice Description

Cooperatives June 13, 2014 Print Friendly and PDF

Cooperatives Community of Practice Mission Statement

Leadership team at official launch of Cooperatives CoP website at USDA National Cooperatives Month celebration, October 5, 2010.

The Cooperatives Community of Practice (CoP) brings together professional peers to collaborate efficiently across boundaries, create and share knowledge, and maximize public outreach by using the eXtension forum to communicate cooperative principles and functions, and to share decision tools, case studies and other research-based information.

Overview of the Cooperatives CoP

The cooperative model is a frequently used tool for developing communities, businesses and individuals. Cooperatives are businesses jointly owned and democratically managed by their members to provide goods or services they need but cannot acquire elsewhere at the price, place or level of quality they desire. Working together, leaders and members of cooperatives help to economically develop their communities while improving their own quality of life.

With renewed national interest in revitalizing both urban and rural communities, educational resources are needed to help people of all ages understand the potential and unique aspects of cooperatives. Further, high-quality, accessible, on-line educational content and expertise are needed to guide and support the successful establishment and continued operation of cooperative organizations.

Given these needs, the Cooperatives CoP (expert providers of information) will use the eXtension forum to communicate with users about the principles and functions of cooperatives and to share decision tools, case studies and other research-based information. The CoP members will collaborate across state, regional and institutional boundaries to create and share knowledge about cooperatives to broadly serve the needs of people interesting in creating, managing or joining cooperatives.

Specifically, the CoP will provide educational content that will enable users to:

  • Assess the applicability of cooperative principles in society, including commercial enterprise.
  • Consider the effect of public policies on the application of cooperative principles.
  • Prepare for membership, employment and leadership within cooperative organizations.

In addition, the CoP will benefit its expert members by enabling them to:

  • Automate basic-level education on cooperation.
  • Enhance their ability to serve clients with innovative applications of cooperative principles.
  • Expand access to information on cooperatives through pioneering content delivery and fee-based services for advanced programming.

Cooperatives Community of Practice Leadership Team Members

Table 1. Team leaders.

Greg McKee (Past Chair), Director, Quentin Burdick Center for Cooperatives, North Dakota State University,
photo Phil Kenkel
Phil Kenkel (Chair), Endowed Chair, Director, Bill Fitzwater Cooperative Center, Oklahoma State University,
Madeline Schultz (Past Chair), Program Coordinator, Extension Value Added Agriculture Program, Iowa State University,








Table 2. Team members.

File:Photo not available.

Wendi Mizer Stachler, Education Specialist/Research Assistant, Quentin Burdick Center for Cooperatives, North Dakota State University,

John Park, Roy B. Davis Professor of Agricultural Cooperation, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M University,

Au-EWilliams60.jpg Emmy Williams, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M University,







Evaluation Leader

  • Madeline Schultz, Program Coordinator, Extension Value Added Agriculture Program, Iowa State University,

National Program Leader

Industry Advisor

Administrative Advisor

  • John Lawrence (Co-advisor), Associate Dean, Vice President Extension and Outreach, Iowa State University,

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Feature Articles


Teaching Materials


  • Webinar Information
  • Upcoming Cooperatives Webinars
  • Archived Cooperatives Webinars


  • Rural Cooperatives magazine, Rural Development, Business and Cooperative Programs, USDA - This bimonthly magazine contains articles and news items relevant to agricultural and non-agricultural cooperatives. An archive provides access to past issues of the magazine from 1998 to 2011.
  • Directory of Farmer Cooperatives, Service Report 22, USDA Rural Development, October 2013 - This directory contains a list, by state, of almost 1,500 farmer-owned marketing, farm supply, service, fishery and bargaining cooperatives. The information includes the cooperative’s contact information, type of cooperative and products that they sell. An online directory is updated every month.


This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.