Co-op Sectors

Co-op Sectors*

Energy & Utilities

Electric co-ops account for more than one third of the nation’s electric utility industry, powering over 18 million homes, schools and businesses with safe, reliable and affordable electric service. The National Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization for more than 900 rural electric cooperatives and public power districts providing retail electric service to more than 42 million consumers in 47 states.

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Credit Unions

More than 100 million Americans belong to a credit union, one third of the total population. Credit unions can be found in every state and nearly every congressional district. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA), based in Washington, D.C. and Madison, Wisconsin, is the premier national trade association serving America’s credit unions. With its network of affiliated state credit union leagues, CUNA serves America’s nearly 7,000 credit unions.

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Food Co-ops

National Co+op Grocers (NCG) is a business services cooperative for retail food co-ops located across the U.S. NCG represents 148 food co-ops operating more than 200 stories in 38 states with a combined annual sales of close to $2 billion. NCG helps unify natural food co-ops to maximize operational and marketing resources, strengthen purchasing power and ultimately offer more value to food co-op owners and shoppers. Each $1 spent at a food co-op is reinvested into its local community at an average rate of 160 percent.

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In an age of retail chains and big box stores, purchasing co-ops understand that consumers still value quality products, exceptional service and expert advice—especially when it comes from local, trusted business owners who leverage their combined purchasing volumes into savings and efficiencies. By buying in bulk, purchasing cooperatives are able to compete effectively in a marketplace flooded with larger stores. One of the world’s largest member-owned cooperatives, True Value serves 58 countries with more than 4,000 retail locations. NCBA CLUSA supports the purchasing co-op sector with its annual National Purchasing Cooperatives Conference.

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Agriculture & Producer

The National Farmers Union (NFU) has worked since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities by advocating for grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership. NFU believes that good opportunities in production agriculture are the foundation of strong farm and ranch families, and that strong farm and ranch families build thriving rural communities that help secure the economic well-being of the entire national economy. Agriculture co-ops account for $246 billion, or 62 percent of total agriculture sales in the U.S.

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The U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC) is the national grassroots membership organization for worker co-ops. Federation membership also includes democratic workplaces and developers and organizations that support worker co-ops. In 2014, the Federation celebrated its 10th anniversary and is comprised of more than 400 workplaces in 17 industries nationwide that are building a dynamic movement for democratic worker-ownership. In recent years, worker co-op transitions have enabled businesses to avoid big box buyout or closure. The largest worker co-op in the U.S., Cooperative Home Care Associates, has reduced the employee turnover rate from 60 percent to 15 percent.

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The National Association of Housing Cooperatives is a 501(c)(3) national federation of housing cooperatives, mutual housing associations and other resident-owned or controlled housing along with organizations and individuals dedicated to promoting the interests of cooperative housing communities. Housing cooperatives offer the more than 1 million families who live in them a collective and democratic ownership structure, limited liability, lower costs and non-profit status.

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*These co-op sectors are recognized by NCBA CLUSA. The U.S. Small Business Association recognizes producer, purchasing, worker and consumer cooperatives. One of the priorities of the NCBA CLUSA-supported Interagency Working Group on Cooperative Development is to address access to capital for all cooperative sectors, specifically inconsistencies in debt financing eligibility.


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