About the Iowa Alliance for Cooperative Business Development

The Iowa Alliance for Cooperative Business Development was initiated through a USDA Rural Business Development grant in 2003. The Alliance combines outreach and research programs that provide rural Iowans with viable alternatives for economic development.

The goal of the Alliance is to initiate and strengthen producer cooperatives in Iowa.

The current Alliance objectives are:

  • Conduct cooperative training workshops to educate directors, officers, and managers about finance, strategic management, and other issues important to cooperatives and mutually-owned businesses.
  • Create educational materials and case examples that startup groups can use to compare the economic and management distinctions between cooperatives and investor-owned structures, permitting them to determine the best business structure for their goals.
  • Continue a pilot a program that sends a student team studying entrepreneurship to work with an Iowa farm supply and grain elevator cooperative to identify potential business opportunities that could lead to a new business or a business expansion.
  • Develop machinery and labor sharing arrangements educational materials for small fruit and vegetable growers to assist them with production system mechanization. This will allow business expansion to better serve local and regional foods markets.

Achievement of these objectives will provide infrastructure and training rural Iowans need to successfully initiate and operate value-added agricultural businesses. It will also bring jobs to rural communities, provide an improved market for agricultural commodities, and create business earnings that remain in the community.