Together We Prosper - Cooperative Development Institute

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TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Introduction
The Cooperative Development Institute created this group-based business
resource site to help farmers, agricultural service providers, and
economic development professionals work together to develop the
products, services, markets and business structures that are needed to
sustain agriculture in the Northeast.
Despite the impressive successes enjoyed by many group-owned agricultural
businesses, information about this approach as a strategy for sustaining
agriculture is widely scattered and hard to come by.
This site begins to fill that void by providing access to group-based business
production, distribution and marketing concepts, models and best
practices. In so doing we hope to not only strengthen farmer efforts at
collaboration, but equally important to contribute to the development of
a strong network of agriculture service providers and business specialists
supportive of their efforts.
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
Introduction (cont.)
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
And because this site is a work in progress, we encourage you to send
your suggestions for improving the site, resources to add, links to
make, etc. to the Cooperative Development Institute:
[email protected]
Please also note that the site is designed as a PowerPoint
Presentation. Please download to share with others and know
that more information and support is available from the
Cooperative Development Institute.
http://www.cooplife.coop/sustag/agcoop.ppt
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction (cont.)
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Acknowledgements
This resource would not be possible without the generous support of the
Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NE
SARE - www.uvm.edu/~nesare/) and the many hours of fruitful dialogue
and debate amongst the Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Committee for
this project.
Advisory Committee members include:
Roger Allbee, State Executive Director, USDA Farm Service Agency,
Colchester, VT
Marty Broccoli, Agriculture Economic Development Specialist, Department of
Agricultural, Resource & Managerial Economics, Cornell Cooperative
Extension-Oneida County, Ithaca, NY
Richard Burke, Director, Program Support, USDA Rural Development,
Amherst, MA
Herb Cole, Jr. Professional Development Coordinator, Northeast SARE, Penn
State Univ., University Park, PA
Mike Dolce, Community & Regional Outreach Specialist, USDA Rural
Development, Rutland, VT (continued)
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
Introduction (cont.)
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Vernon Grubinger, Director, Center for Sustainable Agriculture, UVM
Extension, Brattleboro, VT
Rick LeVitre, Regional Specialist, UVM Extension, Howe Center Business
Park, Rutland, VT
Jan van der Heide, Extension Educator, Cornell Cooperative Extension,
Mexico, NY
Special thanks go to the staff of the Cooperative Development Institute, who
directed and coordinated the development of this online resource:
Cooperative Development Institute staff includes:
Lynn Benander, Co-Director
Lynda Brushett, Senior Partner, Sustainable Agriculture and Marketing
Jen Gutshall, Junior Partner and Grants and Projects Coordinator
Stacey Cordeiro, Junior Partner, Cooperative Development Specialist
Laurie Broussard, Office Manager (continued)
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
Introduction (cont.)
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Special thanks also goes to the many people who provided valuable feedback
and substantive contributions to the website.
David Holm, Program Manager, Northeast SARE, Burlington, VT
Herb Cole, Jr. Professional Development Coordinator, Northeast SARE, Penn
State Univ., University Park, PA
Gerald Ely, Cooperative Development Specialist, USDA Rural Development,
Tunkhannock, PA
Chris Fullerton, Manager, Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative, Inc.,
Hustontown, PA
Tanya Turner, Cooperative Development Specialist, Keystone Development
Center, PA
Paul Paulsen, General Manager, Vermont Quality Meats Cooperative, North
Clarendon, VT
Amy Trubek, Executive Director, Vermont Fresh Network, Montpelier, VT
Michael Rozyne, Managing Director, Red Tomato, Canton, MA (continued)
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
Introduction (cont.)
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Mike Look, Foggy Bottom Wild Blueberry Co-op, East Machias, ME
Faith Lally-Williams, Our Family Farms of Western Massachusetts,
Greenfield, MA
Ken Marshall, President, Penn's Corner Farm Alliance, Shelocta, PA
Arthur Eve, Massachusetts Woodlands Cooperative, LLC, North Amherst, MA
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
What is Sustainable Agriculture?
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Sustainable agriculture is a profitable way of producing high quality food and
fiber that:



Protects and renews the natural environment,
Builds local economies, and
Enhances the quality of life of farmers and farm workers.
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
Development and support of group-based businesses is a strategy for
increasing the sustainability of agriculture in the northeast.
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable Agriculture? (cont.)
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
As defined by Congress, sustainable agriculture is an integrated system of
plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application
that will, over the longer term:


Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process



Satisfy human food and fiber needs.
Enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which
the agricultural economy depends.
Make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm
resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and
controls,
Sustain the economic viability of farm operations, and
Enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable Agriculture? (cont.)
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
SARE, the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program
(www.SARE.org) defines sustainable agriculture as an agricultural
production and distribution system that:







Achieves the integration of natural biological cycles and controls,
Protects and renews soil fertility and the natural resource base,
Optimizes the management and use of on-farm resources,
Reduces the use of nonrenewable resources and purchased production
inputs,
Provides an adequate and dependable farm income,
Promotes opportunity in family farming and farm communities, and
Minimizes adverse impacts on health, safety, wildlife, water quality and
the environment.
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United States Agriculture
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Sustainable agriculture is a response to the challenges and opportunities
influencing farm production and marketing systems.
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
As summarized by The Agricultural Issues Forum,
http://www theagforum.com/, these trends include:
Challenges
Consolidation
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Consolidation is occurring at all levels of agriculture starting at the farm and
progressing through the supply and demand chains. Numbers of farms,
animal units, and agribusiness entities are declining rapidly, production
per unit is increasing and new markets are emerging.
Government & Regulatory Influence
These powerful forces are exacting various pressures on all of agriculture
which result in losses to profitability and declining global
competitiveness. As these changes occur, there will be on-going
influence by all levels of government and additional regulations and
compliance requirements are certain. This influence will have an impact
on the industry's ability to remain competitive on a global scale.
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Trends in United States Agriculture (cont.)
Globalization
Advanced communications, technology, transportation and trade incentives as
well as disincentives have created an environment whereby
"globalization" is occurring. Locally, our agriculture has an impact on
the world; similarly, the world has an impact on our agriculture.
Niche Markets
Market and Consumer demand for specialty products, such as organic and
ethnic foods, is continuing to grow. This demand will be supplied by
producers who see an opportunity to fulfill a philosophical goal and/or
profit from a growing segment in the marketplace.
Technology Advances
Science and industry will continue to develop tools for all aspects of
agricultural production that will contribute to a more efficient and
competitive agriculture. These advances will also provide tools to trace
agricultural products from the field to the table.
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Trends in United States Agriculture (cont.)
Capital/Finance
Agriculture will not be exempt from the pressures faced by other
businesses/industries. As financing opportunities become more
challenging for the production farmer and industry, agriculture will
utilize precision-like management and intensify capitol. Financial
sources will continue to increase the minimum business operating
standards of agriculture to qualify for capital and encourage competitive
rates of return when compared to non-agricultural businesses.
Animal Welfare
Agriculture continues to make animal welfare advances to enhance
confidence, provide continued access to global and local markets, and to
remain competitive. Animal agriculture will continue to ensure that
animals are cared for in a safe, humane and healthy manner.
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Trends in United States Agriculture (cont.)
Environmental Stewardship
Agriculture, government and public influence will continue to drive
environmental stewardship as a top priority for American agriculture.
Agricultural producers are establishing management practices that
conserve natural resources, not only on their farms but also in their
watershed. Government support and regulations significantly influence
these practices.
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Workforce Development
Vocational and/or professional training and job incentives are increasingly
more critical in order to attract workers to the Agricultural industry.
Farmers must become highly trained managers or be willing to enlist the
services of a management team. Outsourcing of work will become
necessary in many operations.
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Trends in United States Agriculture (cont.)
Food Safety
Emphasis on food safety for the public will create new requirements (imposed
by the industry and the government) for the production phase through the
processing, shipping and sales phase. It is likely that American
agriculture will soon be expected to abide by a zero-tolerance food safety
program. This type of program will be implemented both for public
health and safety and national security.
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Agriculture’s Contributions to Energy Production
Agriculture will have an increasing impact on consuming and generating
energy. New technologies will create opportunities for agriculture to
produce energy at the farm level to help sustain and support community
growth.
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Trends in United States Agriculture (cont.)
Increased Public Influence
There is an on-going public interest in agriculture that ranges from land
stewardship, to animal welfare, to food production, to packaging. As the
number of “farmers” shrink and the number of “non-farmers” continue to
grow, those who do not farm will have more time to become educated
and react to issues. Not only does the public have time on their side, but
they also have numbers; therefore, it is inevitable that they will be able
to yield substantial influence. Therefore, the agricultural industry will
continue to become pro-active, educating and working with the public
rather than re-active, a response that can create distrust and isolation.
Copyright © 2004 by Mike Brubaker
Used with permission
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable Agriculture
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Why are farmers forming group-based businesses?
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Organizing a group-based business is a strategy for dealing with trends in
today’s agricultural marketplace. Group-based businesses provide a
structure for shared governance , a legal means to shield individuals and
a framework for managing the investments, cash flows and profits of
new income generating production or market related enterprises.
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Farm to consumer direct marketing and the extension of farm enterprises into
value-added processing are emerging strategies for farm diversification
and economic enhancement. Working together in a group-based
business, farmers can achieve the scale of expertise, product and
financial resources needed to access direct and value-added markets.
It’s challenging for an individual farm to develop the expertise required, not
only in food or fiber production, but also in value-added processing and
marketing. Being a part of a group-based business allows farmers to
access appropriate expertise in diverse areas of need.
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable Agriculture (cont.)
Why are farmers forming group-based businesses? (cont.)
It’s also challenging for farmers to come up with the money required to build
and manage processing facilities and to implement direct marketing
strategies. Being a part of a group-based business allows farmers to pool
their resources and bring in outside investors and other resources when
needed.
How can group-based agricultural businesses be structured?
There are many approaches to structuring group-based business that can help
farms be more profitable in the Northeast. Group-based businesses can
be organized as for-profit corporations, cooperatives, limited liability
corporations or non-profits.
For-Profit group-based businesses give farmers a way to pool their capital and
bring in outside capital to process and market farm products. Outside
investors and farmers together own and control the business.
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable Agriculture (cont.)
How can group-based agricultural businesses be structured?
(cont.)
Cooperatives give farmers a way to pool their capital, and bring in limited
outside investment to process and market their products. Taxes are paid
either at the corporate level or individually when dividends are paid.
For-profit business pay taxes at both levels.
Small groups of farmers can also process and market their products and enjoy
most of the tax benefits of a cooperative without all of the red tape by
forming a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC).
Group-owned Non-profit Corporations can be organized to provide products,
services, and other resources at a savings.
See Legal Structure section for more information.
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Challenges
Group-based businesses are an economic approach to dealing with the
significant challenges to profitability from:

Depressed commodity prices,

Escalating operating costs,

Lack of access to local and regional markets,

Lack of management expertise.
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
However, joining together with other farmers to create businesses that will
address these blocks requires a tremendous investment of time, money
and energy, none of which are easily available.
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Opportunities
What are some of the ways challenges to farm profitability can be
addressed?
To address low commodity prices:

Get market focused

Develop a profitable value-added product

Engage in joint efforts to access value-added processing
To address escalating operating costs:

Engage in cooperative purchasing of farm inputs
To address lack of access to markets:

Create a market for a unique product you can produce profitably on-farm
or with other farmers

Join with other farmers to achieve market clout.
To address a lack of management expertise:

Get training or coaching

Join with other farmers to hire management expertise where it’s needed.
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Opportunities (cont.)
Can group-based businesses help farms be more profitable?
There are many forms and approaches for group-based businesses that can
help farms be more profitable in the Northeast by processing and
marketing farm products.
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
For-Profit Businesses give farmers a way to pool their capital and bring in
outside capital to process and market farm products. Outside investors
and farmers together own and control the business.
Cooperatives give farmers a way to pool their capital, and bring in limited
outside investment to process and market their products. Taxes are paid
either at the corporate level or individually when dividends are paid.
For-profit business pay taxes at both levels.
Small groups of farmers can also process and market their products and enjoy
most of the tax benefits of a cooperative without all of the red tape by
forming a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC).
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Opportunities (cont.)
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Other people are establishing group-owned Non-profit Corporations that
provide them with products, services, and other resources they need at a
savings.
See Legal Structure section for more information.
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
What other opportunities exist?
Innovative Education and Marketing Strategies are building consumers
who understand the value of local farms and vote with their dollars to
support local farms. (See resources for CSA’s and Buy Local
Campaigns.)
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Opportunities (cont.)
New online community technologies give farmers a way to stay more closely
connected to the businesses they launch, ensuring they stay focused on
meeting their needs. They also give businesses a way to stay more
closely connected to their customers, conduct market research and build
customer loyalty.
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Established group-owned businesses have learned more about keeping these
businesses farmer-owned and controlled. They are bringing in strong
managers who understand the importance of building trusting
relationships with members and the board. Board, member, and
management development costs are being included as line items in their
budgets to ensure these businesses stay truly member-owned and
controlled.
Contact the Cooperative Development Institute FMI: [email protected]
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Opportunities (cont.)
How can consumers help sustain agriculture in the Northeast?
There is an opportunity for consumer-owned businesses (such as food coops,
spinning guilds, credit unions, etc.) and farmer-owned businesses to
work together to create vibrant local markets.
Create programs that teach young people to buy and use fresh fruits and
vegetables (such as Farm to School, Ag in the Classroom, 4-H, etc.).
Support buy local campaigns that educate people about the importance of
voting with their dollars for local products and services.
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Legal Structures for Group-Based Businesses
If you have a business activity that you cannot do alone and that can be done
with others, there are many reasons to form a legal entity to support your
group’s work.
Group-based businesses with limited liability shield individuals from personal
liability for the business’ debts and liabilities. If the business isn’t
successful, you won’t be personally liable for its debts. If a truck
overturns or something you produce makes someone ill, you are not
likely to be personally liable for the losses.
Group-based businesses provide a structure for shared governance. The
Articles of Incorporation and By-laws lay out the structure of how
agreements are made, how conflicts are resolved, how profits are shared,
and how the business is overseen. While it is costly to put these
agreements together, they provide a clear framework of how group
members can successfully work together.
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Legal Structures for Group-Based Business (cont.)
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
Group-based businesses also can provide a corporate structure for legally
managing finances and corporate records. Complying with these
corporate laws gives members greater access to information about how
money is flowing through the business and how decisions are made.
The Cooperative Development Institute is a resource for farmers in the
Northeast who are interested in forming group-based businesses.
Contact them at [email protected] for assistance .
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Legal Structures for Group-Based Business (cont.)
Group-based businesses can operate as unincorporated groups, cooperatives,
LLCs, associations, partnerships, for-profit corporations or non-profits.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each legal structure and the
best structure depends on a detailed assessment of your needs and goals.
The following questions will help with this assessment. After you have
answered these questions you will be ready to seek professional
assistance.
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Who is the group that would own this new business?
A specific kind of farmer from a specific geographic region? Which kind?
From where? How many?
What benefits does this group want from the business?
Bulk purchasing of a product or service? Processing? Marketing?
Distribution? Waste management? Access to trained farm workers? Etc.
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Legal Structures for Group-Based Business (cont.)
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Sources of Equity (Choose all that apply):
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Equity will come from . . .

Investors (corporation)

Members (co-op)

Supporters and Grants (non-profit)

Owners (corporation, LLC, partnership)
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Profits (Choose all that apply):
Profits will . . .

Stay in the business and not be distributed (non-profit)

Be distributed to investors based on their investment (corporation)

Be distributed to members based on their patronage of the business
(co-op)

Be distributed to owners of the business (partnership, co-op or LLC)
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Legal Structures for Group-Based Business (cont.)
Tax Status (choose one):
The business will . . .

Be tax exempt and keep all profits within the business (non-profit)

Be taxed on corporate profit and investors/members will also be taxed on
their share of the profits (corporation)

Distribute all income to members to pay taxes on their own income
(partnership or LLC)

Be taxed EITHER on corporate profit OR investors/members will be
taxed on their share of the profits (cooperative)
Ownership/Control (Check all that apply):
The Board of Directors will be appointed/elected by…

Board members (non-profits)

Investors (corporations)

Members (co-op)

Other organizations/businesses (LLC, co-op)

Owners (partnership, LLC, co-op, corporation)

Other
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Legal Structures for Group-Based Business (cont.)
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Types of Revenue (Check all that apply):
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Revenue will come from . . .
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories








Sale of Products and Services - $/year:______
Program Fees - $/year:______
Rental Fees - $/year: ______
Individual Contributions - $/year:______
Foundation Grants - $/year: ______
Dues/Membership Fees - $/year:______
Interest Income - $/year: ______
Other - $/year:______
TOTAL: $/year:_____
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Legal Structures for Group-Based Businesses
Talk with a lawyer about which option is best suited for your business.
Partnership or otherwise unincorporated groups
Definition: Any two or more people who agree to carry on a business as coowners for profit
Advantages: Simple to organize and maintain. Can operate more informally
and flexibly than a corporation, Profits are taxed once.
Disadvantages: Partners are personally liable for the business debts and acts of
all partners
Joint Venture
Definition: Short term partnership
Advantages: See Partnership
Disadvantages: See Partnership
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Legal Structures for Group-Based Businesses
Talk with a lawyer about which option is best suited for your business.
Limited Partnership
Definition: A Partnership where one or more Partners are the General Partners
and the other partners have limited involvement as investors in the
business.
Advantages: Limited partners are not liable for more than their investment if
they’re not involved in managing the business. Costly and complex to
organize and maintain. Profits are taxed once at the partner level.
Disadvantages: General partner is personally liable for the business’s debts
and liabilities, but this can be another legal entity such as a corporation.
Limited Liability Partnership
Definition: A Partnership where Partners enjoy corporate-style limited liability
and are only liable for their investment with the tax structure of a
partnership.
Advantages: Partners are only liable for their investment. Can operate more
informally and flexibly than a corporation. Profits are taxed once at
partner level.
Disadvantages: Limited to specific types of businesses.
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Legal Structures for Group-Based Businesses
Talk with a lawyer about which option is best suited for your business.
Limited Liability Corporation
Challenges
Definition: A business structure that provides the limited liability of a
corporation and the tax structure of a partnership.
Advantages: Fairly simple and inexpensive to organize and maintain. Taxed
once. Can be run by members or managers. Is best suited for fewer than
15 members.
Disadvantages: Can’t market as a cooperative.
Opportunities
Cooperative
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Definition: Corporation formed under state or federal laws operating on a
“cooperative basis.” Its members own and control the business. Profits
are returned to members in proportion to their use. Members elect a
board. The board hires management to run the company.
Advantages: Good public image. Size and strength in the marketplace. Taxed
once. Access to co-op funding programs. Member-owned and controlled
with member effort.
Disadvantages: Access to capital. Legal and administrative costs. Complex
and expensive to operate.
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Legal Structures for Group-Based Businesses
Talk with a lawyer about which option is best suited for your business.
For-Profit C Corporation
Definition: Corporation formed under state laws. Its shareholders elect the
board. The board hires management to run the company.
Advantages: Access to capital. Business flexibility. Stock can be publicly
traded in certain cases.
Disadvantages: Run by managers who may or may not be stockholders. Taxed
twice. Complex and expensive to operate.
For-Profit S Corporation
Definition: Structured like a C Corporation and taxed as a partnership – only
once.
Advantages: Access to capital. Only taxed once at shareholder level.
Shareholders are only liable for their investment
Disadvantages: More complex and more costly than an LLC to organize and
maintain. Restricted to 75 members who are all US citizens or permanent
resident aliens. Restricted to one class of stock. Taxes are paid by
individual whether profits are distributed or not.
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Legal Structures for Group-Based Businesses
Talk with a lawyer about which option is best suited for your business.
Non-Profit Association
Definition: A corporation formed for purposes other than generating a profit
but are not tax-exempt.
Advantages: Good public image. Access to some government and non-profit
grants. Eligible for non-profit rates.
Disadvantages: Cannot accept tax-deductible charitable contributions. Cannot
distribute profits to members. Limited to specific non-profit purposes –
not in competition with for-profit businesses.
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Tax-exempt, Non-Profit Corporation
Definition: A corporation formed for purposes other than generating a profit.
Restricted to businesses with charitable, educational, religious, literary,
or scientific purposes as defined by the IRS.
Advantages: Good public image. Access to government and foundation grants.
Eligible for non-profit rates.
Disadvantages: Difficult and costly to obtain tax-exempt status. Cannot
distribute profit to members. Narrow scope of business activities.
Restricted purposes. Limited participation in lobbying activities.
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Legal Structures for Group-Based Businesses
Talk with a lawyer about which option is best suited for your business.
Types of Agricultural Non-profits
501(c)5 – Agriculture Associations - Educational or instructive, the purpose
being to improve work conditions, products and efficiency.
501(c)6 – Business Leagues - Improvement of business conditions of one or
more lines of business.
501(c)16 - Cooperative Organization to Finance Crop Operations Financing crop operations in conjunction with activities of a marketing
or purchasing association.
521(a) – Farmers Cooperative Associations - Cooperative marketing and
purchasing for agricultural producers.
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Legal Structures for Group-Based Businesses
Talk with a lawyer about which option is best suited for your business.
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
The Cooperative Development Institute is a resource for farmers in the
Northeast who are interested in forming group-based businesses. To
contact CDI, email [email protected]
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Legal Structures for Group-Based Businesses
Talk with a lawyer about which option is best suited for your business.
Comparison of Different Legal Structures
for Group-Based Agricultural Businesses
Who are the Owners?
Partnership: Partners
Joint Venture: Partners
Limited Partnership: Partners
Limited Liability Partnership: Partners
Limited Liability Corporation: Members
Cooperative: Members
For Profit C-Corporation: Shareholders
For Profit S-Corporation: Shareholders
Non-Profit Associations: Board or Members
Tax-Exempt Non-Profit: Board or Members
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Legal Structures for Group-Based Businesses
Talk with a lawyer about which option is best suited for your business.
Comparison of Different Legal Structures
for Group-based Agricultural Businesses (cont.)
Easy for Members to own and control?
Partnership: Yes
Joint Venture: Yes
Limited Partnership: Yes
Limited Liability Partnership: Yes
Limited Liability Corporation: Yes
Cooperative: Yes
For Profit C-Corporation: No
For Profit S-Corporation: No
Non-Profit Associations: No
Tax-Exempt Non Profit: No
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Legal Structures for Group-Based Businesses
Talk with a lawyer about which option is best suited for your business.
Comparison of Different Legal Structures
for Group-based Agricultural Businesses (cont.)
Number of Members
Partnership: Best for 15 or fewer
Joint Venture: Best for 15 or fewer
Limited Partnership: Best for 15 or fewer
Limited Liability Partnership: Best for 15 or fewer
Limited Liability Corporation: Best for 15 or fewer
Cooperative: Unlimited
For Profit C-Corporation: Unlimited
For Profit S-Corporation: Unlimited
Non-Profit Associations: Unlimited
Tax-Exempt Non-Profit: Unlimited
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Legal Structures for Group-Based Businesses
Talk with a lawyer about which option is best suited for your business.
Comparison of Different Legal Structures
for Group-based Agricultural Businesses (cont.)
Limited Liability?
Partnership: No
Joint Venture: No
Limited Partnership: Yes, for Limited Partners not engaged in management
Limited Liability Partnership: Yes
Limited Liability Corporation: Yes
Cooperative: Yes
For Profit C-Corporation: Yes
For Profit S-Corporation: Yes
Non-Profit Associations: Yes
Tax-Exempt Non-Profit: Yes
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Legal Structures for Group-Based Businesses
Talk with a lawyer about which option is best suited for your business.
Comparison of Different Legal Structures
for Group-based Agricultural Businesses (cont.)
Taxation of Profits at Corporate and Individual Level?
Partnership: No
Joint Venture: No
Limited Partnership: No
Limited Liability Partnership: No
Limited Liability Corporation: No
Cooperative: No
For Profit C-Corporation: Yes
For Profit S-Corporation: Generally, No
Non-Profit Associations: No
Tax-Exempt Non-Profit: No
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Legal Structures for Group-Based Businesses
Talk with a lawyer about which option is best suited for your business.
Comparison of Different Legal Structures
for Group-based Agricultural Businesses (cont.)
Expensive to Establish and Maintain?
Partnership: No
Joint Venture: No
Limited Partnership: No
Limited Liability Partnership: No
Limited Liability Corporation: Somewhat
Cooperative: Yes
For Profit C-Corporation: Yes
For Profit S-Corporation: Yes
Non-Profit Associations: Yes
Tax-Exempt Non-Profit: Yes
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Legal Structures for Group-Based Businesses
Talk with a lawyer about which option is best suited for your business.
Comparison of Different Legal Structures
for Group-based Agricultural Businesses (cont.)
Sources of Capital
Partnership: From Partners
Joint Venture: From Partners
Limited Partnership: From Partners
Limited Liability Partnership: From Partners
Limited Liability Corporation: From Partners
Cooperative: From Members
For Profit C-Corporation: From Stock
For Profit S-Corporation: From Stock
Non-Profit Associations: From Members
Tax-Exempt Non-Profit: From Members and Grants
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Legal Structures for Group-Based Businesses
Talk with a lawyer about which option is best suited for your business.
Comparison of Different Legal Structures
for Group-based Agricultural Businesses (cont.)
Profits able to be distributed to members?
Partnership: Yes
Joint Venture: Yes
Limited Partnership: Yes
Limited Liability Partnership: Yes
Limited Liability Corporation: Yes
Cooperative: Yes
For Profit C-Corporation: Yes
For Profit S-Corporation: Yes
Non-Profit Associations: No
Tax-Exempt Non-Profit: No
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
The Business Development Process
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Here are the steps a group-based business can go through to ensure they
have a good chance of getting off to the right start:
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
1.
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
Engage in strategic planning: Who are the members? What are our needs? What is
our vision? What values are important to us? What will we sell, to whom and how?
Create founding board to oversee development.
Invest dollars for pre-development.
Conduct feasibility study to ensure there is enough product to sell to a large enough
market for us to make money.
Incorporate and adopt by-laws.
Create a business operations plan that shows how we will successfully launch the
business.
Sign membership agreements.
Make equity investment.
Raise additional equity and get financing.
Hire a manager and staff.
Open for business.
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
The Business Development Process (cont.)
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Activities
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Stage One: Exploration (3 - 6 months)
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Explore your new business idea.
1. Organizational Development: Form an Organizing Committee with people who
represent the business’s potential members and key stakeholders. Identify your
mission and core values.
2. Business Development: Define your key business concept – What products and
services might the business supply that could make a significant economic
difference in the lives of its members? Create a project development plan and
budget. Secure funds for stage one and begin fundraising for stage two.
3. Business Planning: Conduct market research to determine the need for your
business’ products and services and complete your feasibility analysis to see if you
have a viable business idea.
4.
Member Development: Share information with potential members and key
stakeholders about your business idea.
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
The Business Development Process (cont.)
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Outcomes of Stage One
At the end of Stage One, you’ll have…

A committed group of people who agree on what they want this business
to sell to whom,

Market research that shows there is a large enough market and sufficient
product to sell that the business will be financially viable and make a
significant economic contribution to its members,

A clear plan and budget for each stage of development,

Funds raised to cover the cost of development for Stage One and some of
Stage Two, and

Growing interest from potential members and key stakeholders
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
The Business Development Process (cont.)
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Activities
Stage Two: Business Planning (3 –6 months)
1.
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
2.
3.
4.
Business Planning: Create a business plan and marketing plan that
describes how you will launch your business, what it will cost, and
where you’ll get the money.
Organizational Development: Set up your founding board, incorporate
your business, and adopt by-laws that describe how you will work
together.
Member Development: Recruit members and other key stakeholders for
your business.
Business Development: Secure development funds for stage two and
three. Raise money (equity) from members and get a loan to launch your
business.
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
The Business Development Process (cont.)
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Outcomes of Stage Two
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
At the end of Stage Two, you’ll have …

A business plan and marketing plan showing how the business will be
launched,

Enough members, stakeholders and money to launch your business,

A legally incorporated business with a seated board and

Funds raised to cover the costs of development for Stage Two.
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
The Business Development Process (cont.)
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Activities
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Stage Three: Business Launch (2-6 months)
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
1.
2.
3.
Organizational Development: Set up office and hire staff.
Business Development: Contract for and market products and services.
Pre-sell members and/or customers products and services.
Member Development: Orient new members and key stakeholders to
their roles and responsibilities.
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
The Business Development Process (cont.)
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Outcomes of Stage Three
At the end of Stage Three, you’ll have…

Initial products and services ready to offer,

An office set up and staffed,

Customers signed up for products and services, and

Members and key stakeholders educated about their rights and
responsibilities.
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
The Business Development Process (cont.)
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Activities
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Stage Four: In Business
1.
Business Development: Provide products and services in response to
member needs, engage in sales and marketing and ongoing business
development.
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
2.
Organizational Development: Provide staff and management education
and engage in strategic planning.
The Business
Development
Process
3.
Member Development: Engage in member and board education.
4.
Celebration: Take time to acknowledge your accomplishments!
Challenges
Opportunities
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
The Business Development Process (cont.)
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Outcomes of Stage Four
At the end of Stage Four, you’ll have…

A viable business, up and running, bringing economic benefit to its
members.
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
The Business Development Process (cont.)
Support available from Cooperative Development Institute
(CDI):
To support Stage One, CDI can . . .
1.
Help you put together your Organizing Committee and facilitate a
meeting where you define your mission and values,
2.
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
Help you define your key business concept, facilitate project planning
sessions, and help you raise funds to support your development project,
3.
The Business
Development
Process
Help you do your market research and feasibility analysis or help you
hire a consultant to assist you,
4.
Help you create print resources for potential members informing them
about your project and
5.
Share lessons learned by other projects and provide sample project plans,
market research, feasibility analysis, and member education materials.
Challenges
Opportunities
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
The Business Development Process (cont.)
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
To support Stage Two, CDI can . . .
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
1.
Help you create your Business Plan and Marketing Plan or hire a
consultant to assist you,
Challenges
2.
Help you train your founding board and create your legal documents and
hire a lawyer to review them.
3.
Help you reach out to potential members and key stakeholders, share
lessons learned by other projects, and also provide sample business
plans, board policies, and legal documents.
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
The Business Development Process (cont.)
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
To support Stage Three, CDI can . . .
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
1.
Provide start-up accounting, communications, and support staffing,
2.
Provide management, staff, member and board training programs,
3.
Share lessons learned by other projects in Stage Three, and
4.
Provide sample marketing materials, member orientation materials, job
descriptions and personnel handbooks.
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
The Business Development Process (cont.)
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
To support Stage Four, CDI can . . .
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
1.
Provide ongoing support until the business starts earning a profit
2.
Celebrate with you, and help you connect with other group-based
businesses.
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
Success Stories
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Here is a modest, yet diverse collection of success stories showcasing the variety of ways
groups of farmers, consumers, and others have organized to sustain agriculture in
the northeast. The Cooperative Development Institute is interested in showcasing
your story. If you have a success story to share, email us at [email protected] Be
sure to include your contact information and a brief description of your successful
group-based business.
Farmers Markets
The number of farmers markets in the United States has grown dramatically, increasing 79
percent from 1994 to 2002. According to the 2002 National Farmers Market
Directory, there are over 3,100 farmers markets operating in the United States. This
growth clearly indicates that these markets are meeting the needs of a growing
number of farmers with small- to medium-size operations.
Who benefits from farmers markets?

Small farm operators. Those with less than $250,000 in annual receipts who work
and manage their own operations meet this definition (94 percent of all farms).

Farmers and consumers. Farmers have direct access to markets to supplement farm
income. Consumers have access to locally grown, farm-fresh produce and the
opportunity to personally interact with the farmer who grows the produce.
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
Success Stories (cont.)
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Farmers Markets (cont.)

Challenges
The community. Many urban communities where fresh, nutritious foods
are scarce gain easy access to food. Farmers markets also help to promote
nutrition education, wholesome eating habits, and better food preparation,
as well as boosting the community’s economy.
Opportunities
2000 USDA Farmers Market Study Statistics:
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses

Farmers markets are an important source of revenue. 19,000 farmers
reported selling their produce only at farmers markets.
The Business
Development
Process

82 percent of markets are self-sustaining; market income is sufficient to
pay for all costs associated with the operation of the market (not
including grant or in-kind support).
Success Stories
Information from: http://www.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/facts.htm
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Success Stories (cont.)
CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)
A CSA consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm
operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the
community’s farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual
support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. Members
or shareholders of the farm or garden pledge in advance to cover the
anticipated costs of the farm operation and farmer’s salary. In return,
they receive shares in the farm’s bounty throughout the growing season,
as well as satisfaction gained from reconnecting to the land. Members
also share in risks, including poor harvest due to unfavorable weather or
pests. — USDA definition
The first U.S. CSA was founded in Massachusetts in 1985. There are now
more than 1,000. This growth clearly indicates that CSA’s are meeting
the needs of a growing number of farmers with small- to medium-size
operations.
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Success Stories (cont.)
CSA (cont.)
CSA’s can be organized in different ways, but they all share several
fundamental principles:
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
1.
They are formed by one or more farmers and a group of consumers.
Challenges
2.
Consumers purchase a share in the CSA. The cost of a share is a portion
of the farmer’s cost of production plus a living wage.
3.
CSA farmers agree to provide a portion of their farm products to the
consumers who have purchased a share.
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
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The Business
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Success Stories
Resources
These agreements give farmers a stable market for their products and a stable
income through lean or abundant seasons. They help consumers
understand the joys and challenges of farming and build a relationship
between farmers and consumers. Consumers can get to know who is
producing their food and how it is produced, increasing consumer
confidence and loyalty. Consumers can also work on the farm, reducing
the cost of outside farm labor.
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Success Stories (cont.)
Vermont Quality Meats Cooperative
P.O. Box 167
Clarendon, VT 05759
Phone: 802-747-5950 Fax: 802-747-5994
Paul Paulsen, General Manager, [email protected]
North
Challenges
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Success Stories
Recognizing that open markets for quality meats existed in high-end
restaurants in NY and Boston, a group of meat producers organized a 46
member co-op to market and sell a diverse range of products, including
lamb and veal, game birds such as pheasant and quail, eggs, and suckling
pigs directly to the restaurants. For three years, Vermont Quality Meats
(VQM) has been producing, transporting and selling whole carcasses
right to a chef’s back door, which eliminates the middlemen.
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Success Stories (cont.)
Vermont Quality Meats (cont.)
VQM products have received excellent reviews from top chefs in New York
and New England. Their products are grown on small family farms,
processed at a USDA-inspected slaughterhouse and delivered fresh to
customers. Their animals are fed primarily on milk and grains. They do
not use growth hormones. They serve 80 customers in NY and Boston
on a weekly basis. As a cooperative, VQM can guarantee their customers
a consistent supply of diverse, fresh quality meats that was impossible
for individual producers to manage.
For small, part-time producers, joining the cooperative is a way to market
their products at a higher price than they’d get from wholesalers or on
the auction floor. It also gives them access to markets that they wouldn’t
have the resources to get into on their own.
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Success Stories (cont.)
Vermont Quality Meats (cont.)
“A part time farmer can’t take the truck to New York to sell one lamb,” says
General Manager Paul Paulsen. Chefs are willing to pay higher prices
because the co-op offers a higher quality product, with better service,
and sizes that may not be available elsewhere.
One of the challenges of the cooperative has been to convince members to
think in terms of the market. The biggest problem, according to Paulsen,
is getting a consistent supply from member/producers - not just to have
the product available, but to have it available exactly when the consumer
wants it. The cooperative has to keep working to make sure its members
understand how important this is to the success of the cooperative. Aside
from that, the most critical factor for success is the commitment of
members to the idea of the cooperative to make it work.
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
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Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Success Stories (cont.)
Vermont Fresh Network
116 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05620-2901
Phone: 800-658-8787 or 802-229-4706
[email protected], www.vermontfresh.net
Amy Trubek, Executive Director
Opportunities
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for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
The Vermont Fresh Network (VFN) builds innovative partnerships among
farmers, chefs and consumers to strengthen Vermont's agriculture. A
strong farm economy creates local jobs, provides nutritious food and
preserves the close-knit communities of Vermont. The VFN helps farms
and restaurants team up to provide the freshest local food at restaurants.
They have produced a Dining Guide and website to link consumers and
chefs with Vermont farms.
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
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The Business
Development
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Success Stories
Resources
Success Stories (cont.)
Vermont Fresh Network (cont.)
Annee Hayden Rhoades is the owner of Cooking from the Heart, a restaurant
in Waitesfield VT that is a member of the Network. She describes her
experience with Vermont Fresh this way: “We commit ourselves to
support each other’s livelihoods in our own community and not ten states
away. It is a commitment from the chef to buy local regardless of the
cost because that is the right action. Likewise, a farmer commits back to
the chef to supply their products regardless of the demand elsewhere. It
is a relationship where both partners take risks! When most of the
strawberry crop is wiped out by rain – the chef can count on the farmer
to serve them for Father’s Day and the farmer knows the chef will pay
the asking price and not buy from California.”
The VFN benefits farmers and food producers because chefs are consistent,
knowledgeable and enthusiastic bulk buyers. For farmers, becoming a
member of VFN formalizes their partnership with participating chefs and
provides them with a predictable outlet for their product. Partner chefs
are encouraged to acknowledge their farm partners on their menus, so
farmers receive exposure directly to interested consumers.
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Success Stories (cont.)
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Vermont Fresh Network (cont.)
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Annee Hayden Rhoades also describes the community-building aspect of her
partnership with a local farmer, Dave Hartshorn. “Dave works harder
than any other person I know. Seven days a week, rain or shine, he and
his helpers are out in the fields. Dave delivers vegetables right to the
kitchen doorstep. Knowing he is only three miles down the road is a
blessing. Over the years, our relationship grew from farmer and chef to
friendship – we run into each other socially and most important support
the other in difficult times, like the flood of 1999. And we celebrate
together at the end of the season.”
Challenges
Opportunities
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The Business
Development
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Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Success Stories (cont.)
Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative, Inc.
HCR 71 Box 168-B
Hustontown, PA 17229
Phone: 814-448-2173 fax: 814-448-2333
[email protected], www.tog.coop
Chris Fullerton, Manager – [email protected]
Challenges
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Tuscarora Organic Growers (TOG) is a cooperatively run wholesale distributor
of in season organic produce located in south central Pennsylvania,
serving customers in the Washington, DC area and other parts of the
mid-Atlantic region.
TOG took root in 1988 when a group of neighboring organic fruit and
vegetable farmers discussed the possibility of joining forces in the
marketing of their products. By working together, they could coordinate
crop production to complement one another rather than compete. And
they could enjoy economies of scale in shipping and selling. The
cooperative form of business fit the farmers' needs, allowing ownership
and market access to be divided fairly and decisions to be made jointly.
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
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The Business
Development
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Success Stories
Resources
Success Stories (cont.)
Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative (cont.)
And through cooperation, the growers were able to serve their customers
better, by providing a diversity of crops and a level of service that no one
grower could provide on his own. In TOG's first season, seven growers
moved about 1,500 cases of produce to Washington, DC retailers over a
five-month period. Since then, each season has brought steady growth in
sales as well as crop diversity, season length and professionalism. In
2003, TOG worked with more than 25 producers to bring over 50,000
cases of produce from farm to city, offering its customers locally grown,
certified organic produce all 12 months of the year.
They are legally incorporated as a producer's cooperative, which means that
the business is owned by the farmers it serves. They’re democratically
controlled 100 percent by farmers; they have officers and a Board of
Directors who are farmers. Co-op operating expenses are paid out of
regular commissions on sales, and any profits at the end of the year are
distributed according to the growers' wishes.
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
Success Stories (cont.)
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Red Tomato
1033 Turnpike St.
Canton, MA 02021
Phone: 781-575-8911 Fax:781-575-8915
www.redtomato.org
Michael Rozyne, Managing Director, [email protected]
Challenges
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for Group-Based
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The Business
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Success Stories
Resources
Red Tomato is a not-for-profit marketing organization started in 1998 to
‘reinvent’ local food systems by reconnecting small-scale ecological
family farmers to nearby supermarkets. Red Tomato distributes produce
from 30 family farmers to supermarkets in greater metropolitan Boston.
The organization is expanding into more supermarkets, and exploring
new ideas to establish brand recognition.
In addition to working with local farmers, Red Tomato has also developed a
very important brokering relationship with the Federation of Southern
Co-operatives (FSC), which includes 35 agricultural cooperatives from
the “Black Belt” of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina.
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Success Stories (cont.)
Red Tomato (cont.)
The FSC grew out of the civil rights movement. Black farmers saw
cooperatives as a way to get more control of their lives and land; at the
same time, they were denied access to the existing “white” agricultural
cooperatives.
Challenges
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In 2002, Red Tomato marketed 13 truckloads of seedless watermelons from
the FSC to Stop & Shop in the northeast - an endeavor that realized
$67,540 in much-needed income for southern minority farmers and
enabled Red Tomato to market watermelons before local watermelons
were ready. What's more, the Federation was able to market an additional
130 truckloads of seeded watermelons in the southeast for a total gain of
$450,000.
Red Tomato has demonstrated that consumers are willing to pay a premium for
better tasting, fresher products grown by a local farm that’s using
innovative and safe growing methods.
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
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Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Success Stories (cont.)
Red Tomato (cont.)
Says Managing Director Michael Rozyne, “Local strawberries are such a
short-lived treat, and are so notably distinguished from California and
Florida berries on the basis of sweetness, color, and texture, that they
jump off the shelf when identified as locally-grown strawberries. In
years past, Red Tomato strawberries (from three farms in Massachusetts
and Connecticut) have sold steadily in supermarkets for $4.99 or
$3.99/quart, side-by-side California berries that were on sale for
$1.99/quart, and even California organic berries on sale for $2.99/quart.”
As a result, produce sold through Red Tomato is more profitable to the grower:
“In 2003, Richard Bonanno of Pleasant Valley Gardens (PVG) carefully
tracked his earnings through Red Tomato against sales of lettuce through
other channels. On gross sales to Red Tomato of $60,000, PVG earned
$10,000 more in net income than had the same product been sold
through other channels.” However, while the price to the grower has
improved, Red Tomato itself has not yet learned how to recover the costs
of their promotions through sales alone, and still relies on grants for a
part of its income.
Cooperative Development Institute
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Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Success Stories (cont.)
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Red Tomato (cont.)
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Rather than a farmer-owned cooperative, Red Tomato chose to organize as an
employee-driven non-profit, with an entrepreneurial culture and a small,
tightly knit, highly experienced group of employees. This model, they
believe, has allowed the business to change and adapt quickly, to take
more risks, and to minimize the bureaucracy for the farmers.
Challenges
Opportunities
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for Group-Based
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The Business
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Success Stories
In order to satisfy participating farmers, Red Tomato has found they need to
pay above-average prices at the same time as providing outlets where
farmers can sell significant additional volume of product. Aboveaverage prices for small volume are not worth the farmers’ time and
energy after a few years. In addition, Red Tomato’s transparent business
practices and their principle of ‘under-promise, over-deliver’ have
become the basis of trust with participating farmers.
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Success Stories (cont.)
Foggy Bottom Wild Blueberry Co-op
P.O. Box 569
East Machias, ME 04630
Phone:207-255-4167
Mike Look, [email protected]
Foggy Bottom Wild Blueberry Co-op started up a dozen years ago
when nine Maine growers split away from an existing
cooperative struggling with a Catch-22 that's trapped many a
good co-op. An unequal equity situation had developed. Older
members were paying taxes on assets they didn't own-with no
guarantee of ever getting back their equity. Meanwhile newer
members essentially got a free ride on the co-op's earlier
investment in a new receiving station. It was a tough situation
and many members drifted away.
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Success Stories (cont.)
Foggy Bottom Wild Blueberry Co-op (cont.)
But some of them chose to re-group as the Foggy Bottom Co-op,
which now has about 20 farmer members with ten or twelve of
them bringing in berries in any given year. They're located in the
heart of 'Down East' Maine-Washington County, where fishing
towns close up at 6:00 p.m. and come to life before dawn. It's
one of the lowest income-per-capita areas of Maine, and one of
its loveliest. People here have deep roots: the same names repeat
on mailboxes and shop signs.
One of the most common names is Look. Michael Look is an original
member and president of the co-op. He explains that even though
it was time for them to leave the older group (and clearly it was a
difficult time for everyone), the new group wasn't disillusioned
with the cooperative model.
Cooperative Development Institute
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Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
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The Business
Development
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Success Stories
Resources
Success Stories (cont.)
Foggy Bottom Wild Blueberry Co-op (cont.)
"It gives you moral support, for one thing," he says. Members share
experiences and information to strengthen their individual operations,
which also benefits the co-op. But useful and rewarding as the
networking is, the initial producers incorporated as a cooperative in order
to negotiate a better price for their fruit and to lower the cost of their
inputs. These were motivation enough for them to take on running a
business together. "You can band together and still do your own thing on
your own land," states Look.
Here as elsewhere around the Northeast, co-ops are helping producers hang on
to the family farm. "If a single grower approaches a processor and tries
to negotiate, he will be paid what is called 'field price'," explains Mike
Look, noting that was 32 cents a pound from one processor in 2003.
"The co-op will go to the processor and say 'we have a half million to
one million pounds of fruit, what will you pay us?' The standard
premium for such volume is seven cents over field price. To a farmer
with a hundred thousand pounds of berries that's an extra seven thousand
dollars in his pocket."
Cooperative Development Institute
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Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
Success Stories (cont.)
Foggy Bottom Wild Blueberry Co-op (cont.)
Foggy Bottom expects strong demand for blueberries due to new
information on the high anti-oxidant quantities in the fruit that
make it a cancer preventive as well as its vision-enhancing
powers (see www.wbana.org). "All the health magazines are
saying 'eat blue'," says Look. They're even considering putting
them in hamburgers in schools to make them healthier for kids.
Blueberries are the hottest commodity on the planet right now."
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Success Stories (cont.)
New York Bold LLC
www.newyorkbold.com
315.343.5357
[email protected]
New York Bold LLC, the owners of the locally grown “onions with attitude,”
has the wheels turning for expansion. After an encouraging introduction
into the market within New York State, they are increasing the
distribution of the New York Bold brand into more eastern U.S. markets.
In order to facilitate that growth they are contacting other grocery store
chains and have been looking into purchasing additional packing and
weighing machines. Their initial plan is to install the new equipment in
one of the member's existing packinghouses, with a goal of securing
their own facility within the next few years. New York Bold is now
investigating new ways to raise capital in that behalf. And while rolling it
out prematurely could be detrimental to the business, their hope if all
continues as planned, is to expand the New York Bold to include growers
from other counties and to make this a truly statewide brand in the
future.
Cooperative Development Institute
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Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
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Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
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Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
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Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
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The Business
Development
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Success Stories
Resources
Success Stories (cont.)
New York Bold LLC (cont.)
New York Bold is considering franchising the brand to other parts of the state
and country and are in the process of researching the intricacies involved
in franchising.
Other plans for expansion of the New York Bold brand include product
segmentation. They are looking into various forms of onion processing,
as well as the marketing of jumbo size onions and boilers. They believe
that the catchy logo and slogan created for New York Bold has great
potential for multi-level marketing of other Bold onion products. New
York Bold is also striving to expand their presence within the
institutional and restaurant trades. They will be packaging the Bold into
50-pound bags of onions to market to these customers. The excellent
cooking qualities of these onions lend themselves perfectly to this
channel of distribution.
These plans are the result of a cooperative effort by local farmers with some
support from local Cornell Cooperative Extension agents.
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What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
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Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
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The Business
Development
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Success Stories
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Success Stories (cont.)
New York Bold LLC (cont.)
The New York Bold "Onions with Attitude" slogan came about in April 2000.
Onion growers from the 14 farms in Oswego County decided to meet.
The farms, collectively, represent 2,400 acres, producing 90 million
pounds of onions annually. The farmers recognized the need to create an
identity for the onions after losing business to overseas producers and to
the “so-called sweet” onions. They hired an advertising agency to help
brand and create a marketing campaign. The goal was to educate the
consumer to use New York Bold onions for cooking. The growers
formed an LLC, and launched a “pilot program” designed to test whether
their onions, when packaged, sold and marketed uniquely, could be a
success in the market. And while the end of the “test” program doesn’t
complete until May of this year, all signs indicate that consumers will be
seeing a lot more of New York Bold’s “onions with attitude.”
With the help of some funding from Operation Oswego County and some state
and federal funding, the growers purchased a Europak pre-packer. It is
one of the first to be used to package onions in the U.S.
Cooperative Development Institute
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Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
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Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Success Stories (cont.)
New York Bold LLC (cont.)
The packaging on the New York Bold bag is bright red and yellow, with a logo
that is distinctive and eye-catching. They also produced and sent displays
to showcase the brand, and tout the qualities of the New York Bold
onion. In mid-October, onions packaged in 2 pound bags began
appearing on the shelves of 94 Tops Friendly Markets across New York
State, and in the five Peter's Markets in Syracuse. Following the
successful launch of the 2 pound bag, New York Bold has been asked to
pack onions into 3 pound bags which soon will be delivered into the
Tops Markets in Ohio.
To increase brand recognition, New York Bold began radio advertising in the
Buffalo market, have had appearances on WTVH Channel 5, and have
made great strides in public relations.
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Success Stories (cont.)
Our Family Farms of Western Massachusetts
Phone: 413-772-2332 Fax: 413-772-8778
Faith Lally-Williams
[email protected]
www.ourfamilyfarms.com
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Our Family Farms started in the spring of 1997 as the Pioneer Valley Milk
Marketing Cooperative. Members were local dairy farms in Western
Massachusetts, most of which had been in the same family for
generations. There are seven members of the cooperative, with 767
years of dairy farming experience among them. Our Family Farms is
located in the historic Snow’s Dairy on School Street in Greenfield,
which several of the member farms shipped milk to for processing in the
1950’s and 1960’s. Today, the plant produces premium Snow's Ice Cream
and super premium Bart’s Ice Cream.
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
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Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Success Stories (cont.)
Our Family Farms of Western Massachusetts (cont.)
Our Family Farms has formed a partnership of local farmers, processors,
distributors, retailers and consumers to bring a high quality product to
market - and in the process they are returning dollars back into the
community and reaching out to their neighbors in a new and exciting
way. Their focus is on traditional way of selling milk – from a local
farm to a local home.
Special care is taken in the production of their product: None of the cows
milked by Our Family Farms are treated with rbST, a synthetic bovine
growth hormone. In fact, since the formation of Pioneer Valley Milk
Marketing Cooperative, none of the members have used rbST. Now all
of the farms have gone even further and signed a pledge to guarantee that
they do not and will not use rbST in the future. In addition, Our Family
Farms milk is processed and kept separate from all other milk, all the
way from the farm to the store, to guarantee that the milk will meet the
high taste, quality, and freshness standards of its customers.
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Success Stories (cont.)
Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance
P.O. Box 160
Shelocta, PA 15774
Phone:724-465-4687 Fax: 724-465-8974
Ken Marshall, President
[email protected], www.pennscorner.com
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
The Penn's Corner Farm Alliance is a group of 21 farmers in nine counties
surrounding Pittsburgh, which was organized in 1999 to supply fresh
produce to restaurants and grocery stores. They also run several CSAs
and participate in a Friday Farmers Market.
The idea for the Alliance came out of a 1997 survey by the Pennsylvania
Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), which surveyed local
farmers to see if they were interested in promoting their products through
a publication, and Pittsburgh-area chefs to learn what local products they
wanted to purchase.
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
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Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
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Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Success Stories (cont.)
Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance (cont.)
From the beginning, Penn’s Corner listened to the needs of area chefs. Bill
Fuller advised the group during their formation and told them, “Focus on
the weird stuff. Microsprouts, unusual varieties, edible flowers, odd
greens like purslane.”
By joining the farms together, the co-op is able to provide an abundant supply
as well as a wide variety of products. “I tried to teach them what a chef
will pay money for,” said Fuller. With greenhouses and other methods
the co-op is able to supply many items all year long.
Margie Dagnal is one of the founders of Penn’s Corner, and adheres to this
view: “You have to know your market and ask your customers every
week ‘What do you want?’ I'd like to grow so many different herbs, but I
only have so much space, so I have to concentrate on what the chefs
really want,” she says.
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Success Stories (cont.)
Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance (cont.)
The partnership with area chefs had some crucial elements. In order for chefs
to want to do business with the Alliance, they had to become a yearround supplier. They did this by adding greenhouses, year-round meat
suppliers, and two farmers who grew products during the off-season –
mushrooms and hydroponic tomatoes.
Doyle Freeman, another founding member says, “It is very difficult for
marketing managers to go to a chef in the spring and say ‘Hi! Here I am
again’.” Dependability is the most important trait when dealing with
chefs, they learned. Deliveries must be made on time and exactly where
the chefs wanted them. At first, the members rotated delivery duties.
Now there is one driver (with a back up) to make sure it gets done right
every time.
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories (cont.)
Proud Cow of Rhode Island
When a friend asked longtime Coca-Cola International distributor David
Clapp to sit in on a grange meeting with some Rhode Island farmers, no
one could have guessed where it would lead. Clapp was moved by the
plight of the state’s remaining 17 independent dairy farms, many of them
4th generation family businesses. They knew most of what they needed
to know to run a successful milk operation, and they knew they needed
to band together. But after attending several meetings, Clapp also
recognized that these independent-minded farmers needed some help
when it came to co-operating a business. “I said, ‘You have to come to
meetings not to debate and dispute but to find unanimity,” replied Clapp.
They asked him to help.
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
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Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Success Stories (cont.)
Proud Cow of Rhode Island (cont.)
“Some of them thought it was a lot of, you know, MBNA sales stuff at first,
but near the end we just kept getting closer and closer to pay dirt, and
they could see that,” commented Clapp. He encouraged them to stop
doing things like deciding on packaging material or analyzing the dairy
industry, admittedly complex and crisis-ridden, and instead to work
together and create a brand.
“It was a piece of luck, hitting on that idea,” he says. “The farmers needed
something tangible like that to hang onto. And the brand, the name, the
caricature, ‘Proud Cow of Rhode Island’ pretty much says it all. It stands
for what these families are up against, the fighting spirit (and the sense
of humor) that brought them through.”
The co-op plans to market milk only in Rhode Island, impressed with the
growing “buy local” trend in the dairy, egg, and meat markets as well as
fruits and vegetables. They have applied for a value-added USDA Rural
Development grant to build their marketability.
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
Success Stories (cont.)
Proud Cow of Rhode Island (cont.)
They’ve already registered a trademark, an act Clapp credits with coalescing
the group. “They saw what their collective equity could do and realized
that they owned something together. Attendance at meetings went up. It
was one of those moments, when you know it’s going to be a tough haul
but with enough luck and enough strategy, you can do it.”
This success story originally appeared in the Cooperative Life Leader, CDI’s
monthly email newsletter. To read more stories from CLL, visit
http://www.cooplife.co-op/magazine.htm.
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Success Stories (cont.)
Massachusetts Woodlands Cooperative, LLC
P.O. Box 9660
North Amherst, MA 01059-9660
Arthur W. Eve, [email protected]
www.masswoodlands.coop
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
The forest of northern hardwoods, white pine and hemlock that blankets much
of the western Massachusetts landscape is in reality a patchwork quilt of
non-industrial family plots--about 220,000 of them in all, ranging in size
from several dozen to several hundred acres. In 1999, a group of forest
landowners became convinced that the “problem” of many small,
privately-owned parcels was in fact an opportunity. They recognized that
a cooperative structure could enable them to strengthen their bargaining
power, pool their resources, add value to their forest products, enrich the
local economy, and maintain the region’s rural quality of life.
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories (cont.)
Massachusetts Woodlands Cooperative, LLC (cont.)
So they took the initiative to learn more about best forestry practices and the
business of selling forest products, cooperatively. Support came from the
University of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Department of
Conservation and Recreation, the Massachusetts Forest Stewardship
Program, and the Cooperative Development Institute. The group
surveyed nearly 1,000 of the region’s small landowners in order to
develop a list of potential services the co-op might offer. Priority was
given to forest and wildlife management, preservation and protection.
They also emphasized gaining access to federal and state programs, and
working with local loggers, sawmills, and manufacturers. In 2001 they
incorporated, and since then they have continued to research and learn,
develop their land, and plan their business. Their dedication has paid off.
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
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Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Success Stories (cont.)
Massachusetts Woodlands Cooperative, LLC (cont.)
On January 16th, the Massachusetts Woodlands Cooperative was awarded
$499,523 from the US Department of Agriculture Rural Development’s
value-added program to expand niche markets that focus on Forest
Stewardship Council (FSC) green certified materials and other forest
products. “Our support of value-added agricultural ventures is only truly
successful when coupled with innovative ideas and initiatives like those
being developed by the Massachusetts Woodlands Cooperative,” said the
state’s USDA Rural Development Director David Tuttle. “This grant
benefits not just the cooperative, but the environment, the community,
and the local economy.”
USDA Rural Development's mission is to deliver programs that support
increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural
residents. As a venture capital entity, it provides equity and technical
assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business
development, and critical community and technology infrastructure.
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Success Stories (cont.)
Massachusetts Woodlands Cooperative, LLC (cont.)
The co-op will use its grant to develop and implement niche markets for
flooring, timber frame materials, and residual wood products such as
bark mulch, firewood, and pallet wood. To this end, they have already
obtained FSC Group ‘Chain-of-Custody’ certification to monitor the
value-added process from the forest on, and they’ll establish a network
of producers interested in buying these products. In addition, the co-op
will assess the market potential for using forest-based biomass fuels in
southern New England. An expanded database will provide detailed
information on forest material available for harvesting from co-op
members, track the transformation into value added products, organize
their business information (inventory, sales, marketing, etc.), and link to
the co-op’s website so that members and those who work on members’
land can access proprietary information more easily.
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories (cont.)
Massachusetts Woodlands Cooperative, LLC (cont.)
During the three-year grant period, the co-op also proposes to expand
membership from the current 27, who together manage around 3,500
acres of forest land, to 125 members owning 20,000 forested acres. And
it will recruit 25 regional artisans, craftspeople and other woodworkers
as associate members (who will receive Group FSC Chain-of-Custody
certification as a part of their membership) to create valuable products
from green-certified material harvested from the co-op’s forest.
This success story originally appeared in the January 2004 edition of the
Cooperative Life Leader. To read more stories from CDI’s email
newsletter, visit http://www.cooplife.co-op/magazine.htm.
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
Resources
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Primary contacts
SARE and the Sustainable Agriculture Network- http://www.sare.org/
SARE and SAN have great information available for people interested in
starting a business in sustainable agriculture. Also check their project
database for information on what other groups are doing.
Northeast SARE - http://www.uvm.edu/~nesare/
Cooperative Development Institute – http://www.cooplife.coop/
CDI is the Northeast’s Cooperative Development Center providing business
planning, education and training, and many other services to existing and
start-up group-based businesses.
National Agricultural Library’s Alternative Farming Systems Information
Center, US Department of Agriculture - http://www.nal.usda.gov
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
Resources (cont.)
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
Additional Contacts
U.S. Department of Agriculture - http://www.usda.gov/
Cornell University Cooperative Extension – http://www.cce.cornell.edu/
University of Vermont Cooperative Extension – http://www.uvm.edu/~uvmext
University of Massachusetts Cooperative Extension http://www.umassextension.org/
University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives – http://www.wisc.edu/uwcc/
The Business
Development
Process
University of California Davis Center for Cooperatives –
http://cooperatives.ucdavis.edu/
Success Stories
National Cooperative Business Association – http://www.ncba.coop/
Resources
National Council of Farmer Cooperatives – http://www.ncfc.org
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
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Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Resources (cont.)
Agriculture Related Sites
Regional Farm & Food Project - http://www.capital.net/~farmfood/
New England Small Farm Institute – http://www.smallfarm.org/ - The
“Growing New Farmers” section lists grants, loans, and other sources of
capital available to starting farmers
The New Farm – http://www.newfarm.org/ - A farmer-to-farmer exchange
maintained by the Rodale Institute
Northeast Integrated Pest Management - http://northeastipm.org/
Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture http://www.pasafarming.org/
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Resources (cont.)
National Agroforestry Center - http://www.unl.edu/nac/
Robyn van En Center for CSA Resources – http://www.csacenter.org/
Includes CSA farms by state
Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas -http://www.attra.org/attra-pub/csa.html
Small Farms - www.smallfarms.cornell.edu
Farm Transfer (new farmer, retiring, intra-family,etc.) - www.nyfarmlink.org
Organic farming resources - www.organic.cornell.edu
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
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Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Resources (cont.)
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems
http://www.wisc.edu/cias
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
http://www.ag.iastate.edu/centers/leopold/
Challenges
Organic Farmers Research Foundation
http://www.ofrf.org
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Northeast Organic Farmers Association (NOFA)
http://www.nofa.org/
Soil and Water Conservation Society
http://www.swcs.org/
Yahoo’s list of Sustainable Agriculture sites
http://www.yahoo.com/Science/Agriculture/Sustainable_Agriculture/
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Resources (cont.)
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Northeast Center for Food Entrepreneurship
http://www.nysaes.cornell.edu/necfe/
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Agriculture Network Information Center
http://www.agnic.org
Challenges
Opportunities
ATTRA-Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Area
http://www.attra.org
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
American Farmland Trust Farmland Information Library
http://www.farmlandinfo.org
The Business
Development
Process
Alternative Farming Systems Information Center
http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic
Success Stories
Resources
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Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Resources (cont.)
Small Livestock - www.sheepgoatmarketing.org
Women's Agricultural Network – http://www.uvm.edu/~wagn/
Cooperative State Research Education and Extension Service http://www.reeusda.gov/
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
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Introduction
Resources (cont.)
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA)
NODPA has three resources which may be of interest to you and dairy
farmers in the Northeast:
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges

www.organicmilk.org or www.nodpa.com - Resources, calendar of
events, newletters, survey results

The NODPA newsletter - available at the www site or by mail.
Contact Lisa McCory, NOFA-VT
848 N.
Randolph Rd., Randolph, VT 05061 or
[email protected]

Odairy electronic discussion group. Odairy [email protected] or contact Bill Casey at [email protected]
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
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Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
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Introduction
Resources (cont.)
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Internet Resources
“How To Direct Market Farm Products on the Internet” is available in
print and on the Internet at www.ams.usda.gov/tmd/MSB/msb/.
For more information or to obtain a copy of the publication, contact :
Errol Bragg
USDA AMS TMP MSB
Room 2646 S, Stop 0269
1400 Independence Ave., SW,
Washington, DC 20250
Phone 202-720 8317 Fax 202-690 0031
Email [email protected]
Value-added:
At this site you can access information about projects and organizations
within New York State, regionally, and nationally:
http://www.cals.cornell.edu/agfoodcommunity/
Resources
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Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Resources (cont.)
Prospects for the Market for Locally Grown Organic Food in the Northeast US
David S. Conner, Ph. D.
Department of Applied Economics and Management College of ...
http://aem.cornell.edu/research/researchpdf/rb0212.pdf
December 2002 RB 2002-12
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
For a wide range of useful resources on farm management,
environmental issues, (and cooperatives) go to:
www.aem.cornell.edu
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
TOGETHER WE PROSPER
Group-Based Businesses Sustaining Agriculture
in the Northeastern U.S.
Introduction
What is Sustainable
Agriculture?
Trends in United
States Agriculture
Group-Based Business
and Sustainable
Agriculture
Challenges
Opportunities
Legal Structures
for Group-Based
Businesses
The Business
Development
Process
Success Stories
Resources (cont.)
State Departments of Agriculture in the Northeast
Connecticut: http://www.ct.gov/doag/
Delaware: http://www.state.de.us/deptagri/
Maine: http://www.state.me.us/agriculture/
Massachusetts: http://www.state.ma.us/dfa
Maryland: http://www.mda.state.md.us/
New Hampshire: http://agriculture.nh.gov/
New Jersey: http://www.state.nj.us/agriculture/
New York: http://www.agmkt.state.ny.us/
Pennsylvania: http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us/
Rhode Island: http://www.state.ri.us/dem/
Vermont: http://www.vermontagriculture.com/
West Virginia: http://www.wvagriculture.org/
Resources
Cooperative Development Institute
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