The Cooperative Model
Organic growers face a shortage of quality, organic, open pollinated seed and it's essential to address this. In recent years consolidation in the seed industry has increased dramatically, while organic purchasing and certified acreage have shown incredible growth. However, organic seed availability has not kept pace with demand. As a result of these factors, organic producers have been left highly dependent upon plant varieties bred for industrial agriculture, and only a narrow range of open-pollinated varieties because larger seed companies have focused on the most profitable types. Given the supply challenges organic farmer face, it's critical to produce seed within organic farming systems, and select seed for desirable traits, including adaptation to climatic and soil conditions, weed competition, disease and pest resistance, beneficial soil microorganism-root interactions, nutrient uptake, yield stability, nutrition and quality traits.
Why a Cooperative?
Farming as a cooperative presents special advantages that benefit customers and farmer-members alike.
Benefits for Members
- Farmer-owners control the company and share in profits
- Democratic governance through a board of members elected by members, who have an equal voice and vote
- Financial savings through shared services, facilities, equipment, promotion and purchasing of inputs
- Improved margins and efficiency through economies of scale
- Increased bargaining power and competitive strength
- Greater access to affordable credit
- Share diverse experience and skills and resources needed to optimize quality, service, costs and success
- Work together toward a common goal
Benefits for Customers
- Multiple growers pool a diversity of products to meet customers' wideranging needs
- Pooled production ensured sufficient, reliable supplies
- Farmer members steer the business to benefit fellow farmer seed users
- Producers coordinate seed production with the agronomic needs and market demands of organic farmers
- Seed Growers can invest in and collaborate on seed development, quality trials and quality improvement, yielding high quality seed with traits that meet organic farmers' needs