U of Idaho studies ag co-ops' membership struggles

FROM A NEWS RELEASEJanuary 15, 2014 

The project began when Aaron Johnson, a University of Idaho agricultural economist, heard a conversation among his fellow members of the Idaho Cooperative Council.

“One said, ‘If growers knew what we really did, there wouldn’t be any issues with membership,’ ” Johnson said. “So the question for me became: What are they doing to promote the value they offer members? How do they communicate with producers?”

In agriculture, Johnson says, some co-ops formed to buy fertilizer or fuel. Others formed to market grains. Co-ops provide members with benefits including bulk buying to reduce expenses.

The study is part of a graduate student fellowship funded by the CHS Foundation, an energy, grains and foods company. The $50,000 fellowship supports a master’s degree project by applied economics student Hannah Hallock. A separate grant for $30,000 from Darigold will pay the project’s expenses.

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