For some, a co-op might mean the tallest building in town, envisioning the towering grain elevators dotting the rural Kansas landscape. It might mean the local telephone company, the folks that keep the lights on, the local filling station, or the local credit union, bringing services to communities that otherwise may have limited options. But to me, a co-op is all these things and more.
When I see a co-op, no matter the type, I think of a business that provides jobs to their local community, keeps profits in their local economy, pays local taxes and supports their community. In Kansas, co-ops operate in every county, serving over 600,000 members. Member-owned, member-controlled co-ops are established because there is a need for service, often in rural areas and working cooperatively is the best way to provide service for the benefit of all members.
Cooperatives have been a vital part of the Kansas economy for over 100 years and while they focus on serving their members locally, their impact can be felt around the world.
October is National Co-op Month, a time to celebrate the contributions of cooperatives to Kansas communities and the commitments they make to their members. The Kansas Cooperative Council is thrilled that the cooperative spirit is alive and well in Kansas. Help us celebrate by visiting your local co-op and thanking them for their commitment to your community.
Guest Editorial from KCC Chairman James Jirak, Valley Coop, Inc.