Cooperative Facts and History

From the very beginning of the United States, the cooperative enterprise has been an important factor in the life and livelihood of its farmers and rural communities. Co-ops have helped shape the character, the economics and the social and political life of our state and nation.


What is a cooperative?

A cooperative is a voluntary association of people organized to serve themselves through their own business, with all profits returned to its members.

A cooperative is owned and democratically controlled by the people who use its services.

The earnings of a cooperative are distributed to the user-owners on the basis of how much business they do with the cooperative.

Farmers Union grew hand-in-hand with the locally-owned Farmers Union cooperatives  that evolved into tap roots for CHS Cenex Harvest States. Cooperatives allow member-customers to profit from owning and controlling their own company. Over the years, cooperatives have continued their success throughout North Dakota. NDFU continues to find ways to guide, assist, and support locally owned cooperatives.

Cooperative Principles

Open membership
anyone can join

Democratic control
one member, one vote

Limited return on invested capital

Patronage refunds in proportion to each member’s volume of business

Sales at competitive prices

Political and religious neutrality

Continuing cooperative education program

Continuous expansion