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The Development of New Rural Cooperatives


The University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives released the results of its multi- year research and outreach project, Collective Action in Rural Communities: Mapping Opportunities for Cooperative Conversion and Start-up, based on its review of cooperatives incorporated between 2011 and 2019. The project, which evaluated the ecosystem and factors that lead to new cooperative development, provides research-based information and decision-making tools to help support rural cooperative development.

The report found that between 2011 and 2019:

  • 21% of the 945 new cooperatives were in rural areas

  • Of the five clusters of rural cooperative development identified by UW, the Northeast cluster had the largest number of new cooperatives

  • Consumer-owned were the most common type of new cooperative (36% overall, 42% of those in rural areas)

The project’s webpage includes the report, recommendations, case studies, and an interactive state-by-state resource map with links to co-op developers, co-op associations, co-op-friendly capital providers and State statutes.

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