Sustainability is in the soul of every farmer and at the heart of co-op success.

Farmers have worked for generations to ensure their way of life is sustainable. They understand passing a farming business on to their children and grandchildren requires it to be profitable; the natural resources producing those profits have to be treated with respect; and that engaging both socially and economically with the communities around them is critical to their success. We invite you to explore this website to learn more about the important role farmer co-ops play in helping today’s farmers continue to operate in a sustainable manner.

A Field Guide for Co-Op Sustainability Programs

NCFC and its Sustainability Working Group created a Field Guide to provide a framework uniquely oriented to farmer cooperatives for use in developing and assessing sustainability programs. The Field Guide describes the basic steps, processes and considerations relevant to effective programs across the range of co-op business models.

NCFC invites you to view the Guide here.

America’s farmer-owned cooperatives, along with their members, have a sustainability story to tell. Below are a few resources that dive into the sustainability stories of farmer cooperatives and their members.

Sustainable co-ops in action

Farmer cooperatives provide products and services spanning the entire food chain. From those selling the seeds to the farmer to those selling items in the grocery store, farmer cooperatives are critical to America’s food supply. Farmer co-op leaders understand the role they play in bolstering their members’ ability to provide food, fiber and fuel in a sustainable manner, and provide the education and resources needed to help their members meet changing demands. Below are a few examples of how farmer cooperatives and their members are operating in a sustainable way.

About Farmer Cooperatives

Cooperatives are an integral part of the rural American landscape. From farm inputs and marketing to banking and insurance, America’s 2,500 farmer cooperatives have worked for decades to help their members be successful. The people using their services or buying their products also own the cooperative and, as such, profits made by the cooperative are returned directly to the member-owners. This business structure ensures members receive the products and services they need and, in return, are invested in the business. This business structure benefits local communities by keeping resources in the community in which they operate. The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) supports farmer cooperatives across the nation.

To learn more, visit