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Zach Adams
Zach Adams is the marketing manager for Craw-Kan Telephone Cooperative. Craw-Kan offers cooperative members security systems, local telephone, long distance, high speed internet, digital cable television, IP television and cellular phone service. Zach can be contacted directly at Craw-Kan (620)724-8235 or by emailing zach@ckt.net.
2011-10-20 10:36:20
Explaining a cooperative
A: By the time you read this we may be through October, but you are correct, October is known as National Cooperative Month. A cooperative is a business organization that is owned and operated by its members who mutually benefit from the operations of the organization. This form of business organization grew and expanded in the United States during the Great Depression as part of the “New Deal”, particularly in utility cooperatives. Rural utility cooperatives were the main force that provided rural areas with electricity and telephone service, and continue to provide services to millions of members across the country. A unique aspect of cooperatives is the return on investment to owners, commonly called members. A member purchases services from their cooperative, directly contributing to the profits of the cooperative, which in turn, the cooperative allocates to be paid back as Capital Credits to the member. Thus, the member receives lower cost services over time, proportionate to how much they utilize the services. Allocations are usually a percentage of total services consumed. So if a 10% allocation is made by the cooperative, members who spend more with the cooperative receive a larger refund. Cooperatives are very concerned with providing high quality services to all members as opposed to strictly looking at the bottom line. Cooperatives are governed by a board of directors which are nominated and elected by the cooperative’s members, as well as being members themselves. Nearly everyone involved in a cooperative is also a member who has something to gain with the success of the cooperative. Many of the high tech services available to rural America are only there because of a cooperative. Although this is not the most widespread form of business organization, it has been instrumental in building the infrastructure that has facilitated the exponential growth of the internet.
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