By networking-with other cooperative professionals, our members can talk about everyday problems with people who view them from a different perspective.
Our members are part of the big picture, progressive, successful and right-up-to speed companies...
and we don't take any taxpayer support to operate our organizations.
Hybrid Power: Cross-Fertilization of Ideas...
Local grain marketing and/or farm supply cooperatives make up about 65% of the membership. Rural electric, rural telephone, dairy, farm credit, petroleum, credit union, consumer, plus various regional co-ops comprise the remainder of the membership.
Legislative Action and Protection:
--Network of legislative contacts
--Lobbyists working to monitor legislative and regulatory activities to protect cooperative interests
--Initiation of legal and regulatory changes to allow cooperatives to operate better
Education & Training:
--Training and Information Programs for directors and staff of cooperatives
--Local Co-op Member and other customized Education Programs
--Iowa Institute Annual Meeting--a "think tank" program for managers and directors
--Special programs on current issues and problems
Business Development Assistance:
--Assistance for board retreats, long-range planning, merger, consolidation, acquisitions, or corporate restructuring
--Cooperative development services including initial start-up of new companies, feasibility studies, project coordination, and results analysis.
--Access to specialized consultants in cooperative law, accounting, etc.
--Because cooperatives are businesses controlled by their customers on a democratic basis, they have opportunities and problems that are unique to them. Under the umbrella of the Iowa Institute for Cooperatives, they can share experience, get answers and receive support.
--Co-op-A-Gram, the IIC newsletter mailed 8 times annually to member co-ops and their directors
--Weekly "Legislative Update" tracking the progress of important bills through the process.
--Special bulletins prepared to update member-company managers on critical issues.
--Explanation of laws and regulations
--Sources for further information
--Legal service program available to members
A Little Background
The Iowa Institute for Cooperatives located in Ames, IA is the trade organization for cooperatives in Iowa. It was started by local Iowa cooperatives in the early 1950's to provide educational programs on cooperatives, to promote the cooperative form of business and to provide assistance with legislative and regulatory matters. Financial and management consulting and cooperative development services were added in 1987.
IIC has a staff consisting of four employees, including the executive director, director of member relations, co-op education consultant and office manager. It has an annual operating budget of approximately $550,000. Members provide about half of the operating budget through annual dues. Additional revenues come from charges for educational and service-related programs and grants from various sources.
We Don't Wait For Trouble to Start...
All of the Iowa Institute's programs and activities are designed to address current problems, to help position Iowa's cooperatives for the future and to help them achieve economic gains for their members. The Institute encourages and assists the development of new cooperatives to promote rural economic development throughout Iowa and also works cooperatively with other state cooperative councils throughout the Midwest.
Looking Ahead to 2020
The future environment will be significantly different from that of today. The efforts of the Iowa Institute for Cooperatives will continue to focus on developing programs, providing services and guiding legislative actions which will build upon and strengthen our cooperative system.
Recognizing that a cooperative's future survival will depend on its ability to predict, imagine and initiate change, the Iowa Institute will continue to help members evaluate opportunities and trends, recognize threats, and provide information to promote efficiencies in operation. In this way the Iowa Institute will help cooperatives better prepare for the dynamic changes that will take place in the future among their membership and in the marketplace.
The Iowa Institute will also continue to promote new cooperative development and value-added production, both traditional and non-traditional, while remaining faithful to environmental and social responsibilities.
Finally, the Iowa Institute will continually seek to educate co-op management, staff and members. Cooperatives who expect to survive and prosper in the next 5 or 10 years must provide co-op education to help individuals understand how the cooperative structure works and how this structure can benefit them. A cooperative will only be as strong as its informed membership.
David Holm, Executive Director of the Iowa Institute reiterated the value of the cooperative structure in the following statement: "Cooperation by whatever means and by whatever name you call it -- networks or co-ops -- is what built our system of family farms in the Midwest, and is probably the best strategy for preserving it to the greatest degree possible as we meet business challenges.
But if we are to act as a community, there is no more "them" to talk about. Only "us"!"
A Big Drum Roll Please...
Cooperative Education Consultant
Director of Member Relations
Coordinator, Iowa Cooperative Foundation
John Priest, President, farmer from Diagonal
Edwin Klyn, Vice-president, farmer from Bussey
Mark Nelson, Secretary-Treasurer, farmer from Clermont
Facts Of Interest