Some farm equipment operators are going to have all of October to celebrate what they do, as it is National Cooperative Month.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently signed a proclamation acknowledging the celebration, which recognizes the work of the 29,000 cooperatives that operate in the country. These farming groups impact the economy to the tune of $650 billion every year and provide jobs to more than 850,000.
In his proclamation, Vilsack noted the self-help business mode of operation for cooperatives provides for a variety of activities, including procuring farm equipment, electricity and telecommunications services, along with producing and marketing crops.
The USDA also announced $8.3 million in funds through its Rural Cooperative Development Grants program, which will go to organizations in 27 states and the District of Columbia. Agriculture Undersecretary Dallas Tonsager unveiled the funding opportunities during a speech on October 5 acknowledging National Cooperative Month.
"The grants I am announcing today will help these recipients continue their work. Their success underscores the importance of the cooperative system as a successful business model," Tonsager said.