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Tuesday, March 2, 2021
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Farmer’s Co-ops – Should the Credit Union Offer Loans to a Farmer’s Cooperative?

It is no surprise that many people are confused about the Farmer Protest. The Farmer’s Co-op started in Iowa in the 1930s as an attempt to provide affordable rural living. It was designed as an actual marketplace where local farmers could negotiate better deals for their produce and services, as well as have access to financial capital from the owners of the land they worked the land with. These owners were known as the “Farmers”. This is not what we think of when we hear the term” Farmer’s Market”. The Co-op and Farmer’s Market were actually one and the same.

The idea was that by establishing a central location people would be able to shop for and consume all of the food they produced. The market was open Sunday – Friday to allow everyone time to get everything they needed. They also wanted to ensure that all of the food was organic and free from any additives or pesticides. People had the right to strike if they did not like what they were being supplied with. The strikes by farmers were brutal and bloody and the market quickly died down.

Now, nearly eighty years later the Farmer’s cooperative is back in life, albeit in a modified form. To begin with it is basically the same concept but instead of being run by a governing board they are now run by individual members. They still maintain a meeting at the beginning and end of each week and each member is responsible for their own portion. But this week they met in Cleveland and voted to form a new economic center in the heart of the Cleveland downtown. The purpose of this meeting was to bring together different groups of farmers and business people to come and discuss their problems and find solutions. This has been a great success and hopefully it will continue to grow.

Some farmers in the area have asked why they need to have a meeting with the cooperative in the first place. There has been a demand from the membership for financial services and job openings. That is why the farmers market was created. These group meetings help those farmers find jobs. Farmer’s cooperatives also need credit unions to stay financially sound. The only way the market can work is for the credit unions to continue to lend money to farmers and other needy families.

This type of lending service has been helping the farmer’s market for decades and many people feel that a credit union can extend a helping hand in times of need. However, there are a lot of questions that remain unanswered. Farmers are looking for a way to grow their market share and create more jobs. They just need the right information and the right connections.

You may be able to help the farmer’s market out financially and you can make some money in the process. Credit unions don’t have to do this with the farmer’s cooperatives. They can do this separately and still have plenty of people paying on their debt to the cooperatives. If the credit unions still want to help then they can extend their loan program to the cooperative members also. It will take some time but they will see that it is in their best interest to do so.

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