Critical Issues for Agricultural Cooperatives

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Phil Kenkel and John Park, Guest Editors

Theme Overview: Critical Issues for Agricultural Cooperatives

This article discusses the insights gained from a panel of cooperative leaders and USDA and academic experts. A wide range of agricultural cooperatives was represented in the effort. Critical issues relating to the external environment, strategy, finance, governance, communication and new cooperative development are identified and highlighted.

Current Issues in Strategy for Agricultural Cooperatives

A summary of current issues in cooperative strategy is discussed. Strategy is an important topic for senior leaders and boards of directors. Education on the need to align strategy on patrons and cooperative principles is needed.

Current Challenges in Financing Agricultural Cooperatives

Current challenges in agricultural cooperative finance are discussed. Finance is an important topic for senior cooperative leaders and boards of directors. Education is needed on how to align cooperative finance principles with cooperative principles and business models.

A Life-Cycle Perspective on Governing Cooperative Enterprises in Agriculture

Cooperatives can be a procompetitive force in agricultural markets. Ensuring that they are, and credibly communicating this to patron owners, provides a unique role for cooperative board members relative to the traditional monitoring and advising roles ascribed to the members of other corporate boards.

New Cooperative Development Issues

Cooperative leaders are challenged to communicate the direct and indirect value of cooperation to a variety of audiences. Using evidence from a national survey of cooperative leaders and gleanings from a gathering of industry insiders, the communication methods, challenges, concerns, and objectives of many cooperative managers are summarized.

Industry Leaders' Perspectives on Communicating the Cooperative Value Package

This article briefly reviews the increased interest in new cooperative development, factors for successful cooperative development, and strategies to improve the performance of new and emerging cooperatives. The article highlights issues identified by a panel of cooperative leaders, USDA specialists and academic experts.