By Hannah Scott, OCDC Program Manager
The Ohio Cooperative Development Center was recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development with an Award of Excellence. The award was granted, “In honor of nearly two decades of steadfast promotion and support of co-ops, leading to the success of innumerable rural and agricultural-based businesses in the Buckeye state.”
The Ohio Cooperative Development Center was founded in 2000 at The Ohio State University South Centers. The mission of the center is to improve the economic condition of rural areas in Ohio and West Virginia through the development of all types of cooperative businesses and cooperative-like groups. OCDC is a part of the Business Development Network at the OSU South Centers, which also has programs in small business development, farmers’ market promotion, and direct agricultural marketing.
Sam Rikkers, Administrator of USDA Rural Development’s Rural Business Cooperative Service presented the award to OCDC staff along with Tony Logan, Director of USDA Rural Development in Ohio. The two visited Piketon to help kick off Co-op Month and to announce awards for USDA’s Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG).
Under the RCDG program, the Ohio Cooperative Development Center will receive $199,984 over the next year to assist businesses in Ohio and West Virginia, focusing particularly on businesses in agriculture, forest and wood products, transportation, and energy. OCDC provides cooperative education, formation counseling, member and director training and assistance with feasibility studies, marketing plans, and business plans, among other activities. The center also facilitates the Ohio and West Virginia Food Hub Network and administers a seed grant program for new and emerging cooperatives.
The Rural Cooperative Development Grant program awarded $5.8 million to 29 projects across the country in order to support rural economic development.
National Cooperative Month is recognized by the US Department of Agriculture, along with a number of other cooperative associations, each October. Activities throughout the month raise awareness about the co-op business model and highlight their economic impact and importance to communities throughout the country. The Ohio Cooperative Development Center is celebrating Co-op Month by sharing a variety of information related to cooperative development through social media and the OSU Business Development Network blog. You can follow the “Biz Team” on Twitter at @OSUBizNetwork, Facebook at OSU Business Development Network, and the blog at u.osu.edu/osubusinessdevelopmentnetwork.