University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives
A report for the
U.S. Department of Agriculture Fund for Rural America
in support for the
Fund for Rural America Center for Cooperative Enterprise. Februrary 1998
By Kristi Livingston and Michael Cook, University of Missouri, Columbia; Robert King, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Anne Reynolds, University of Wisconsin, Madison, David Trechter, University of Wisconsin, River Falls
Northeast Missouri Grain Processors, Inc. is an organizational
pioneering endeavor as it seeks to successfully become the first defined
membership, value-added or "new generation" cooperative in Missouri.
The cooperative was formed to explore the economic feasibility of the construction
of an ethanol plant. The goal is to create a new market for corn
and to provide a value-added use to increase profitability. The group
is currently holding informational meetings to raise equity from producers.
Macon has been selected as the site of proposed plant. Key lessons
- Do not underestimate the need for and the time required to
educate people about value-added cooperatives.
The legal setting of a particular state must be understood.
Many of the procedures used in the formation of new generation cooperatives
in other states were deemed not to be permissible under Missouri statutes
Absence of an adequate base of knowledge about the structure
of new generation cooperatives and Missouri laws/regulations has been a
major constraint. This has greatly increased the time necessary for
bringing the cooperative to this point.
As the first to explore the organizational feasibility within
the state's legal and regulatory environment, there are unique research,
technical assistance and educational program needs.
There is a keen interest among producers and the community
in expanded, future opportunities for farmer-owned, valued-added enterprises.
The new cooperative is viewed as a threshold that can significantly advance
future self-help possibilities.