Cochran and Wicker Promote Co-ops as Beneficial to Job Creation, Economic Growth

Bipartisan Resolution Designates 2012 as “International Year of Cooperatives”

March 4, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran today joined U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-N.D.) in introducing a Senate resolution that acknowledges and promotes the economic and social benefits of cooperative business organizations in the United States and around the world.  U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) is an original cosponsor of the measure.

Supported by a wide range of farming, utility and financial cooperatives or co-ops, S.Res.87 would designate 2012 as the “International Year of Cooperatives.”  It also encourages the formation of a national committee to study how to encourage new domestic and international cooperative developments.

“Cooperatives have benefitted states like Mississippi by bringing people together to market goods or attain services.  They represent a business model that has helped create jobs and improve the quality of life throughout the nation,” said Cochran.  “This resolution recognizes the historic role of co-ops in the United States and their continued importance in the growing global marketplace.”

“Rural communities throughout Mississippi see the benefits of their local co-ops on a daily basis,” said Wicker.  “Cooperatives and their employees deserve acknowledgement for their service.”

The bipartisan resolution states that the U.S. Senate “recognizes the importance of raising the profile of cooperatives and demonstrating the manner by which cooperatives build local wealth, generate employment, and provide competition in the market place.”

There are more than 29,000 cooperatives in the United States that employ about 2 million workers—primarily in consumer cooperatives like credit union, food and utility co-ops.  Cooperatives in the United States generate more than $650 billion in revenue annually.

Among the major organizations supporting the “International Year of Cooperatives” resolution are the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, National Telecommunications Cooperative Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, Farm Credit Council, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Farmers Union, Credit Union National Association, National Association of Federal Credit Unions and National Cooperative Business Association.

The Johnson-Cochran resolution is cosponsored by Senators Wicker, Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Susan Collins (R-Me.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).