Co-op Development Center

RMFU Co-op Development Center Putting USDA Grant to Work

Helping farm workers and people who provide rural home care develop their own cooperatives is taking a major step forward, thanks to the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Foundation and the United States Department of Agriculture. The Foundation applied for and was awarded a $200,000 Rural Cooperative Development Grant for calendar year 2018 to work on a wide variety of projects. Besides farm labor worker cooperatives and rural home care worker cooperatives, the RMFU Foundation’s 2018 work will include food hubs and value food chain businesses, land access for small and beginning farmers, and outreach to numerous groups regarding the benefits of the cooperative business model.

“These funds are essential to helping groups with common goals organize and own their own businesses,” says RMFU Executive Director Ben Rainbolt. “The cooperative business model works especially well in rural communities.”

“We applaud RMFU for their 20 years of assisting rural Colorado in cooperative and economic development, which strengthens our state’s agriculture industry,” says Senator Michael Bennet. “This funding from USDA will enable them to build upon their work and provide more opportunities for Colorado’s rural communities.”

Cooperative businesses are locally-controlled and managed to benefit both customers and the local owners. Typically, cooperative businesses provide services otherwise not available or at a lower cost and the earnings stay in the community.

“We are grateful for the support of U.S. Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado,” adds Rainbolt. “We are thrilled to be in this partnership to grow local economies and new opportunities across the state.”

The RMFU Cooperative Development Center is celebrating 20 years of bringing cooperative businesses from the planning stages to full operation. The Center provides services ranging from feasibility studies and fundraising to start-up and ongoing support.