Cooperative value

Cooperative value

Cooperatives operate in many sectors of the global economy, from food and agriculture to energy and housing. Good things happen when people pool their resources on products and services using the cooperative business model.

What is a cooperative?

Cooperatives are built on principles rooted in collaboration, democracy, economic participation and social responsibility. They are owned and governed by members who use their products, supplies or services, and they exist to provide value for their members. In a cooperative system, people come together to increase buying power, access goods and services, and create economic opportunity.

The cooperative difference

Cooperative model

Cooperatives are unique because they are owned and controlled by members. In contrast, traditional businesses are owned by an individual or small group of partners, controlled by shareholders who purchase stock in the company, and operated with the primary goal of turning a profit.


Cooperatives are voluntary organizations open to anyone eligible to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership. A member can be an individual or an entity, such as a corporation or smaller cooperative. Members share in ownership and have a say in cooperative business. Unlike shareholders of a business, each member has an equal vote.


Most cooperatives operate according to the same core principles and ethical values. One of those principles is concern for community. Because they are actively engaged in the communities where they do business, and because owners are members of the community, cooperatives have a vested interest in community development and in giving back.

Benefits of ownership

Cooperatives create opportunity. By pooling resources, members gain buying power, control costs and earn access to resources they might not have individually. When a cooperative is profitable, members earn patronage – a dividend paid to members based on the amount of eligible products or services purchased from the cooperative.

Every day, cooperatives help farmers and ranchers succeed

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Empowering agriculture

CHS is a farmer- and cooperative-owned company providing grain, foods and energy to fuel and feed a growing world.

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CHS Cooperative Resources

Our team provides member cooperatives with strategy, talent and leadership solutions.

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CHS is committed to influencing state and federal policies impacting agriculture.

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Cooperatives are structured around a set of core principles that guide their operations.

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