NC Cooperative Extension

The N.C. Cooperative Extension Service houses a multidisciplinary group of professionals at the N.C. Research Campus as part of the Plants for Human Health Institute. Providing expertise in farm business management, communications and marketing, and fresh produce safety, these Cooperative Extension staff serve as an outreach component to complement the research conducted at PHHI.

Starting A Cooperative

Starting A Cooperative

Starting A Cooperative

How To Start A Cooperative

Sequence of Events Outline

  1. Invite leading potential member-users to meet and discuss issues. Identify the economic need a cooperative might satisfy.
  2. Conduct an exploratory meeting with potential member-users. If the group votes to continue, select a steering committee.
  3. Survey prospective members to determine the potential use of a cooperative.
  4. Discuss survey results at a second general meeting of all potential members and vote on whether to proceed.
  5. Conduct a needs- or use-cost analysis.
  6. Discuss results of the cost analysis at a third general meeting. Vote by secret ballot on whether to proceed.
  7. Conduct a feasibility analysis and develop a business plan.
  8. Present results of the feasibility analysis at the fourth general meeting. If participants agree to proceed, decide whether to keep or change the steering committee members.
  9. Prepare and incorporate legal papers.
  10. Call a meeting of charter members and all potential members to review and adopt the proposed bylaws. Elect a board of directors.
  11. Convene the first meeting of the board and elect officers. Assign responsibilities to implement the business plan.
  12. Conduct a membership drive.
  13. Acquire capital and develop a loan application package.
  14. Hire the manager.
  15. Acquire facilities.
  16. Begin operations.

Cooperative Membership

Additional Resources

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