"The United Voice for Cooperatives"
Who Are We?
The largest statewide association of its kind, Cooperative Network is committed to building Wisconsin’s and Minnesota’s cooperative businesses. Cooperative Network serves more than 600 member-cooperatives, owned by more than 6.1 million Wisconsin and Minnesota residents, by providing government relations, education, marketing, and technical services for a wide variety of cooperatives including farm supply, health, dairy marketing, consumer, financial, livestock marketing, telecommunications, electric, housing, insurance, worker-owned cooperatives, and more.
Cooperative Network is governed by a board of directors made up of cooperative leaders from across both states. Our members gather each year to determine Cooperative Network’s legislative and educational priorities, and membership committees meet throughout the year to develop and guide sector strategies.
In 1969 the Wisconsin Council of Agricultural Cooperatives and the Wisconsin Association of Cooperatives consolidated to become the Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives (WFC). It created a 19-member board of directors, consisting of eight district directors and 11 functional (sector) directors to fairly represent the membership at that time. Over the years the board size and composition changed to reflect the growth or decline in various member sectors.
The Minnesota Association of Cooperatives (MAC) was founded in 1945 during a time when cooperatives were very much under scrutiny. In 1953, MAC’s Articles were revised and the purpose was shortened; this language read that the MAC purpose was “...to do any and all things necessary or appropriate to be done to protect, to develop understanding of, and to improve the cooperative way of doing business.”
In 1998, MAC entered into a management agreement with WFC. Under this new arrangement, MAC shared a president and CEO with WFC, as well as several other staff out of the Madison, Wis., WFC office. In 2004, a formal unification was approved by a vote of the membership and the two organizations became one.
At the November 2008 WFC-MAC annual meeting, the membership voted to change the name and governance structure of the organization. As of January 1, 2009, the Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives (WFC) and Minnesota Association of Cooperatives (MAC) have a single new name: Cooperative Network. Changing in addition to the name was the organization’s governance structure, taking effect at the November 2009 annual meeting. At that time, the 20-seat MAC Council and the 29-seat WFC board were combined and reduced to a 27-seat board.