; Not Your Father’s Cooperative: Strategic Alliances | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Not Your Father’s Cooperative: Strategic Alliances

Steve Richards


Cooperative efforts between farms is needed today as much as it was 100 years ago. Crop prices are flat, regulations are up, retail and wholesale consolidations are restricting market access, and there are still only 24 hours in a day. Specialty crop producers and socially disadvantaged farmers are particularly vulnerable to these issues as they tend to be smaller, lack traditional industry support mechanisms, and do not have strong trade organizations.

Steve Richards, a Clemson Agribusiness Extension Associate, will share his outreach efforts helping farmers create strategic alliances to market their products, find creative financing opportunities, and team-tackle regulations. The session will share the specific successes and challenges discovered while helping The Gullah Farmers’ Cooperative (African American farmers) and Turf Grass Sod Producers (specialty crop producers) in South Carolina. Impacts for the Gullah Farmers’ Cooperative include a business plan, a marketing plan, a USDA financed vegetable processing plant, and Group GAP certification for the for the 17 farm members. Impacts for the Turf Grass Sod Producers include a production risk plan (crop insurance) and a collaborative marketing plan for the 20 farm members.

The opportunities for risk management education in this area are exceptional. Sometimes an age-old solution, when given a new name, sounds more appealing. Attend this session to discuss strategic alliances and how similar risk management education efforts can help producers in your area.