A WHOLE-OF-GOVERNMENT APPROACH
As historic partners of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), cooperatives are a key avenue to delivering economic opportunities to rural America. The USDA’s Interagency Working Group on Cooperative Development promotes a whole-of-government approach to using cooperative enterprise to solve specific public policy challenges. With more than a dozen government agencies as members, this group ensures the government is on the same page in its engagement with cooperative businesses.
The Interagency Working Group was first authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, thanks to diligent advocacy efforts by NCBA CLUSA, USDA and their partners. In 2017, we leveraged the group to get co-ops back in the U.S. Census, ending a decades-long absence of federally reported data on cooperative economic impact.