Data collection is nearly complete for the fourth biennial study of the impact cooperatives have on Montana’s economy and community well-being. Dr. George Haynes, Professor of Agricultural Economics at MSU-Bozeman, has been assisting the Montana Cooperative Development Center (MCDC) with survey design and data analysis using responses submitted by willing cooperatives. The Montana Council of Cooperatives and MCDC are jointly sponsoring this study and sharing results with the public as well as their members and supporters.
Data being sought includes employment numbers along with salaries/wages and worker benefits paid out by co-ops during the 2017 tax year. Other requested information includes membership and sales figures, total asset value, property tax payments, patronage paid, scholarships awarded, and other community contributions.
Farm supply stores, telecommunication co-ops, and most consumer co-ops have completed the survey individually, submitting their data online or by mail using a printed version. The Montana Electric Cooperatives’ Association and Montana’s Credit Unions are consolidating data from their member utilities and credit unions prior to submittal. All survey responses were submitted and handled anonymously to protect the confidentiality of each participating cooperative.
Dr. Haynes and his associates will analyze all survey responses early this fall. Results will be presented in a final report that will highlight the economic impact of Montana cooperatives from major co-op business sectors. The report will be shared with Montana legislators, and state and federal government officials to inform them of the important contributions co-ops continue to make to Montana’s economy and way of life.