Since 1960 the Montana Council of Cooperatives has been advancing the cooperative business model across all sectors of the state’s economy. Whether your members are agricultural producers, consumers, employees or independent enterprises, the Council will represent your cooperative’s interests at the Montana Legislature and in the public arena. Our association’s membership includes most of Montana’s electric and telecommunications co-ops, the majority of the state’s 52 credit unions, and many of the traditional farm supply and producer cooperatives.
Natural food and rural grocery co-ops are eligible to join the Council as are those farmer’s markets organized as cooperatives. Agricultural cooperatives that market and distribute local foods can benefit from our trade association as can artisans who collectively market their creations as co-ops.
Like most trade associations in Montana, the Council seeks to link its member co-ops across vast distances and between distinct industry sectors. We seek to promote what we have in common and address any challenges to co-op operations, tax status, or regulatory climate.
As a 501 (C) 6 organization , the Council may lobby the Montana legislature to advance the collective interest of its co-op members. We issue bimonthly, electronic newsletters to keep members abreast of co-op happenings, special events, and networking opportunities. Each year the Council contributes matching funds to the Montana Cooperative Development Center (MCDC) to leverage federal grants that support the formation and training of new co-ops.One of these opportunities is the “Back to Basics” Cooperative Summit held each March in partnership with MCDC and other sponsors to bring together members, directors and managers of both existing and emerging co-ops.
Each January at its annual meeting, the Council offers an array of speakers to inform and inspire governing co-op directors and their managers. Online training tools and videos also are available to help educate co-op leaders and employees. Additionally, members may apply for educational scholarships to attend professional institutes and co-op conferences at the state, regional and national levels.
One of these opportunities is the “Back to Basics” Cooperative Summit held each March in partnership with MCDC and other sponsors to bring together members, directors and managers of both existing and emerging co-ops.
Every two years the Council surveys all Montana cooperatives as to their contribution to the state’s economy. Confidentiality is maintained while data is consolidated from all co-op sectors and analyzed using formulas designed by university economists. The resulting economic impact report is shared with each biennial legislature and member constituencies to underscore the collective importance of cooperatives to Montana.