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Editorial: October 2017

Celebrating commitment to co-op members


Josh Kramer, NDAREC executive vice president and general manager
Josh Kramer

October is Co-op Month across our nation. The theme of this year’s observance is “CO-OPS COMMIT.” That is a great description of today’s cooperatives, and still strongly related to the historic seven core principles of cooperative enterprise established in the 19th century. Recently, Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), sent us a message about our cooperative work. Let me share Jim’s thoughts with you.

“In October, America’s electric cooperatives join forces with more than 40,000 other cooperatively owned enterprises across the United States to observe Co-op Month. We celebrate our business model that puts people ahead of profits, and recognize the countless ways the cooperative economy touches our lives.

“Cooperatives can be found serving members and delivering essential goods and services in just about every segment of our nation’s economy. Cooperatives gather and report our news, give us places to live, care for our children and help us access healthcare when we are sick. More than 100 million Americans keep their money in credit union cooperatives.

“Some of the food on your table was likely fertilized, brought to market, processed and delivered to your neighborhood store using the products and services of several cooperatives. Many grocers, hardware stores and other small retail shops get their merchandise from wholesale cooperatives that allow them to pool their buying power to compete with big national chains.

“The diversity of America’s cooperative economy is remarkable. And all cooperatives share a commitment to serving their members and solving problems that are too complex for one person or business to effectively address on their own.

“One way your local electric cooperative brings that commitment to life is through its memberships in the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. These groups allow your local cooperative to complement its own skills, experience and resources with those of more than 75,000 employees working at 900 co-ops nationwide.

“We live in a complex world where rapid advances in technology are changing the way we live, communicate and use energy. Cooperatives are experimenting with these technologies to determine which ones make sense for their communities and consumers.

 “As Hurricane Harvey tore through the Gulf Coast in late August, America’s electric cooperative network was working together to help the region get back on its feet. Hundreds of mutual aid crews rushed to the scene to help local co-op employees get the lights back on. And as those crews worked long hours in the field, representatives from state and national co-op associations were in constant contact with senior public officials coordinating the response.

“Co-ops are people-centered enterprises, and everything we do is made possible because of individual members like you.”


Josh Kramer, editor-in-chief of North Dakota Living, is executive vice president and general manager of the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives, Mandan. Comments can be mailed to Josh Kramer, NDAREC, P.O. Box 727, Mandan, ND 58554-0727 or by email