Cooperation in agriculture has a long history. Farmers and ranchers have helped each with big chores, shared equipment and tools, formed buying clubs to reduce costs by buying in bulk, leased or purchased land together, and formed marketing co-ops to share the challenges of reaching customers. It can be a great way to reduce cost and make our lives easier.
The success of cooperative farming rests not just on what is produced, but on the way these businesses are set up, and on how participants communicate with each other. That’s where the Greenhorns publication “Cooperative Farming: Frameworks for Farming Together” comes in. Authored by Faith Gilbert, this guidebook provides information about a variety of business models that producers can use when setting up cooperative arrangements. It draws on interviews with 42 start-up and established collaborative farm projects, input from professionals and advisors, and a library of publications on cooperative development, farm business, finance, land access and more. All this is condensed into five chapters that will give you examples of how you can share resources and services, or farm together.
You’ll find examples from other producers, explanations of different ways to structure group enterprises, and a lot of tips about difficulties and challenges that might crop up and how you can prepare for them and resolve them. It even throws in some forms for self-governance that you may not be familiar with, but that have great potential.
If you haven’t considered cooperative farming or ranching before, you might think about it differently after looking through this guidebook. The examples and options could spark some ideas for you about how, by working with others, you could have a better future. Download it here!