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Interagency Working Group on Cooperative Development

What resilient economic engine creates market opportunities, helps underrepresented people, keeps profits in the local community, and fights climate change? The cooperative!

In a cooperative, people with a common interest pool their funds and create a business that they own, control democratically, and benefit from financially based on how much they patronize (or use) the cooperative.

Cooperatives can address community needs, focus on a broad range of purposes beyond profits, raise wages, and operate in almost every industry. They provide electricity, broadband, rural groceries, child care, home care, financial services, housing, and operate in the supply chain, agriculture, and education. Cooperatives address market gaps by providing essential goods and services. They can also preserve local jobs when a retiring business owner converts the business to a worker cooperative.

The 2014 Farm Bill authorized the Agriculture Secretary to “chair an interagency working group to foster cooperative development and ensure coordination with federal agencies andcooperative organizations….” 7 U.S.C. section 1932(e)(12.

View 2023 Interagency meetings of the Housing Committee, the Food Committee, the Child Care Committee, the Real Estate Committee and the Equitable Ecosystem Committee

View 2022 meetings of the of Care Committee, the Food Committee, the Environment Committee, and the Conversions Committee.

Success Stories

West River Electric Association crews use bucket trucks install power lines in South Dakota

Cooperatives keep the lights on in Rural Communities

West River Electric Association, based in Wall, S.D. has been delivering power to the counties of Haakon, Jackson, Meade, Pennington, Oglala Lakota, and Ziebach in South Dakota since 1939. Their focus... Read More
photo of ribbon cutting

Rural Community’s First Hospice Center

For the people of Glasgow, Kentucky, a collaboration between T.J. Community Mission Foundation, the city, Farmers Rural Electric Cooperative, and USDA Rural Development helped to meet a critical need... Read More
group photo of a ribbon cutting

Garbage Turned into Energy

Have you ever ridden by a landfill and watch flames coming out of pipes emerging from the debris and say to yourself-what a waste of energy/heat??? That’s called off gassing to relieve gas build up... Read More
View all Success Stories


For questions or comments please contact: coopinfo@usda.gov.