Rodney Michael

Rodney Michael

  • Treely

  • United States, SC, Society Hill
Rodney Michael Society Hill, SC
Apr 27
 
We've used this approach with small landowners and their timber assets via our company, Treely. It creates access to to services... great idea for farming as well.

https://opinion.inquirer.net/139689/farm-clusters-why-and-how

Categories: Farm Management, Operating a Farm

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I recommend this book for all who are thinking about it. I helped a veteran start a Cooperative that failed, and this came up in my research (I learned a lot that will help me keep from reinventing the wheel the next time - ha!) Cooperatives have been started and failed many times since our countries founding and studies were finally made about why so many failed. First - you identified the key component - economies of scale. Many organizations call upscale farmers markets a cooperative when in fact they are not. Because of these studies, many states have enacted laws (one person, one vote, etc.) when forming a cooperative. Essentially, they are harder to manage than other businesses as farmers historically take a far more active roll in the management of a cooperative than most shareholders or stakeholders in traditional businesses. What was found at the turn of the century, still holds true apparently: must be born of necessity (in the minds of the farmers), it must be in a small area where all members know and trust one another and are of like business interests (farmers Coop comprised of farmers, packing Coop comprised of packers, etc.). I was actually getting notes together for an #AgHistory on farmers coops (I'll postpone that one for later now - Ha!). Key elements include rotating elections of member leaders, a formal agreement preventing outside entities from being able to buy large blocks of votes, and exclusive membership (farmers for farmers coops, packers for packers coops, etc). That one person one vote rule is the single most critical in my mind - it takes a while to earn a farmers trust, and I cant tell you the late hours discussing how to draft a membership agreement that accounts for concerns over preventing larger corporations from taking 'control' over the Cooperative. There is a lot of psychology in this, and it is not at all different from veterans orgainzations. In fact, veterans have traditionally trusted the USDA more than the VA for similar reasons.
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Ordered it on Amazon today... looking forward to the read.

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Outstanding! Like you, I am a fan of Cooperatives and believe they can truly assist farmers. Unfortunately, our government has repeatedly thrown money at these, and as soon as government money is no longer available the majority dry up because they did not allow for the lessons learned in this book. Sounds similar to government today (and is certainly reminiscent of my failure a few years ago) - Ha!

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