Reactions from the Ohio cooperative community

“Good ideas stand the test of time. How often have you heard a quote from Ben Franklin or read a version of Aesop’s fables to your kids or grandkids? Some concepts are timeless and are as true today as they were when they were first developed. This is certainly true for cooperatives. The concepts developed more than 100 years ago are still the foundation of today’s cooperatives. The attached speech was delivered by Dr. Charles Ingraham, OSU Business Management Extension Specialist, on Aug. 7, 1973, to the American Institute of Cooperation. The messages it conveys were true then, have remained true throughout my lifetime and I am confident they will remain true long after I’ve retired. This is a testament to the fact that, while the services and products offered to cooperative members may have changed over time, the value of banding together to procure those products and services remains essential. Few of us were cooperative members or employees at the time this speech was given so I encourage you to invest the 15 minutes to travel back in time to see how the cooperative world has changed in those 50 years…and how it hasn’t.”

Heather McCann, Chair, Mid America Cooperative Council

“People working together to achieve goals that they have in common are what spawns a cooperative business entity in the beginning. The importance of people is just as strong now as it was 50 years ago and indeed from the very beginning of the modern cooperative movement … Still today, Dr. Ingraham’s observation that members must understand the cooperative for it to “go and grow” and that education is a major key to understanding an abstract business organization like a cooperative is education rings true. Cooperative members must be reminded about how cooperatives are unique and how members can use the cooperative to increase their own net income in the long run. The legacy of cooperative education continues for today’s cooperatives across our region for employees and boards of directors as well as general awareness and understanding of the cooperative difference among the public. We continue to believe in the “duty to Educate” and plan to continue strong emphasis on education and training as we move forward to reach a new generation of students, employees, and members of both today’s and tomorrow’s cooperatives.”

Dr. Tom Worley, Director, CFAES Center for Cooperatives and OSU South Centers

“To say cooperatives have withstood the test of time is an understatement. There are many types of cooperatives that are very successful today and have been for many years. Many facets of today’s business world and society have been discovering the cooperative business model. As Dr. Ingraham noted several years ago the common denominator in these successes is the people. ‘Many businesses tout the reality that people are our most important asset.’ For cooperatives this is not only true but form a critical equation for longevity. The employees who serve the members; the Board who serves the members and leads the cooperative; and, the members who benefit. So, the critical factor for success and growth remains people working for mutual benefit. In today’s global economy and changes too numerous to mention this common denominator does in fact sustain the business.”

Dennis Bolling, Retired Ohio cooperative leader, Member of the Cooperative Hall of Fame

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *