What is a Cooperative?

Cooperatives actually date back thousands of years. The first recognized cooperative business in the U.S. was a mutual fire insurance company, founded in 1752 by Benjamin Franklin, which continues to operate today. Although River Valley Cooperative isn’t quite that old, our roots do go back to 1906, when a group of local farmers pooled their grain together. They had a need, fulfilled it, and a cooperative was born.

River Valley Cooperative is just one of over 47,000 cooperatives operating throughout the U.S. There are many type of cooperatives and they are in every business sector of our economy. These include agronomy cooperatives (like ours), housing, food, health care, energy, child care, credit unions, and insurance companies, just to name a few. Cooperatives are like most other businesses, but being a cooperative makes us unique in many different ways. Our business is based on the standard seven cooperative principles of:

  • Voluntary and open membership
  • Democratic member control
  • Economic participation by members
  • Autonomy and independence
  • Education, training and information
  • Cooperation among cooperatives
  • Concern for community

Our Mission Statement

River Valley Cooperative is dedicated to delivering personalized services and expert solutions that enhance and ensure the long-term viability of our customer-owners, employees and communities.