What is a cooperative?

Cooperatives exist primarily to serve their members. They are private businesses that are owned by the people who use its products or services. It is considered a democratic approach to business in which the members have a say in how the company is operated. Cooperatives are often formed to provide needed services to a geographical area, to provide better financial returns on products or services or to create a more competitive situation for the owners.

Cooperatives operate in a wide variety of industries including:

  • Agriculture
  • Education
  • Financial services
  • Grocery
  • Healthcare
  • Housing
  • Insurance
  • Utility services

The South Dakota Farmers Union was established over a century ago for the purpose of founding coops. We continue that mission today to provide South Dakota’s farmers, ranchers and rural citizens a better way to make a living and to ensure access to needed services and products.