IMPACT 2017 will open with State of the Co-op Economy discussion

Written by NCBA CLUSA Staff

Preliminary results from a new study on the collective impact of cooperative enterprise will kick off IMPACT 2017. Preliminary results from a new study on the collective impact of cooperative enterprise will kick off IMPACT 2017. What does the geography of cooperatives and their collective economic impact look like in the U.S.? That’s a question our first-ever State of the Co-op Economy presentation and panel discussion will explore during NCBA CLUSA’s Cooperative IMPACT Conference in October. Register now and be a part of this conversation!

Designed to kick off IMPACT 2017, this discussion features members of NCBA CLUSA’s Council of Cooperative Economists (CCE) and begins with a presentation by CCE Member Brent Hueth, Associate Professor of Agriculture & Applied Economics at the University of Wisconsin (UW).

Hueth will report on the preliminary results and efforts currently underway at the UW Center for Cooperatives to measure the economic activity of cooperative enterprise in the U.S. economy, including the challenge of measuring the broader economic impact—not just the easier-to-define business activity of cooperatives.

In 2007, Hueth and a group from the UW Center for Cooperatives conducted the most recent federally funded research on the economic impact of cooperatives. That study found that there were 29,000 co-ops in the U.S. that account for more than $3 trillion in assets, more than $500 billion in revenue and sustain nearly two million jobs.

NCBA CLUSA now estimates that there are closer to 40,000 cooperative businesses in the U.S., but census data is needed to confirm that number. For close to a decade, Hueth, the USDA, NCBA CLUSA and other stakeholders have worked to transfer the collection and ownership of that data back to the U.S. Census Bureau. That effort enjoyed a breakthrough moment this May when a question identifying cooperative businesses was added to the 2017 Economic Census. Hueth’s latest research is conducted in collaboration with the Business Dynamics Research Consortium and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Following Hueth’s presentation, members of the CCE will consider how key cooperative sectors influence the economy and society, including credit unions, which are owned by and benefit more than 100 million Americans; rural electric cooperatives that provide power to 18 million homes, schools and businesses; agriculture co-ops that account for 80 percent of milk production in the U.S.; and the emerging worker co-op sector—already generating more than $500 million in annual revenue.

Panelists joining Hueth for this discussion are Terry Barr, Senior Director of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division; Camille Kerr, Associate Director of the ICA Group; Mike Schenk, Vice President of Research and Policy Analyst for CUNA; and Russel Tucker, Chief Economist for NRECA.