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Celebrating the co-op business model

Chris Meyers

When I think of this fitting designation, it reminds me of celebrating someone’s birthday. On your birthday, your friends and loved ones take time to remind you of how special you are to them. They celebrate your life and the gifts you bring. It’s no different with National Cooperative Month; we are proud of the long-lasting contributions co-ops have had in the past, but also the contributions they continue to have today, making our lives better. From electric co-ops to dairy, food, credit unions, news services, agricultural, childcare services and more, co-ops are a vital part of our communities’ economic growth and quality of life.

Numbers do tell a story, and the numbers provided by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Cooperatives share how crucial cooperatives are in our nation. According to Center’s research, approximately 40,000 cooperatives operate in the United States. What’s more, Americans hold 350 million memberships in cooperatives. Your rural electric cooperative is a part of this big picture.

In Oklahoma, 30 electric co-ops are committed to delivering safe, reliable and affordable electricity to more than 550,000 consumers. Managing the right mix of assets in a complex industry to deliver power in a safe, environmentally responsible, affordable and reliable manner is the electric cooperatives’ mission, but it doesn’t stop here. Electric cooperatives want to be more than your electric utility. They want to be invested partners in the local communities they serve because it’s their community, too, and they genuinely care for the communities’ prosperity and well-being. From youth programs, to energy audits, to scholarships, aiding in safety education and enabling economic growth, co-ops are invested in seeing their communities soar.

So, just like celebrating someone’s birthday, we take a day to celebrate them, but we actually show our appreciation for them every day. In the same manner, I invite you to celebrate the benefits that your electric cooperative brings to you, not only this month, but every day of the year.