A Minnesota Cooperative
Newland Cooperative is organized as a Minnesota Chapter 308B Cooperative Association. Chapter 308B speaks to many features of a cooperative. Every Cooperative must have a purpose.
Chapter 308B is a Minnesota cooperative law that provides significant tools for patron members seeking outside equity capital for the creation, modernization, or expansion of their cooperative. Unlike current Chapter 308A, Chapter 308B cooperatives may have two classes of members: patron members and investment members.Patron members have the financial right to no less than 60% of the cooperatives’ profit allocations and distributions unless patron members vote to reduce their financial rights. Without exception, non-patron investor members may receive no more than 85% of the cooperative’s profit allocations. Patron members may also become investment members.
A co-op is essentially a business that produces or distributes goods or services. It is owned and operated by its owners, for their mutual benefit. Cooperatives provide just about any good or service their members need. Cooperatives offer credit and financial services, health care, child care, housing, insurance, professional services, software used by cooperatives, hosting of Internet producer cooperatives, and hosting of consumer cooperatives.
Chapter 308B requires that patron-members must hold at least 50% of the voting powers on general matters of the cooperative. Patron-members retain considerable influence over cooperative decisions. Another provision provides that patron-members generally vote as a bloc in board decisions or decisions by the general membership.
The statute provides flexibility in governance, through reliance on the cooperative’s bylaws with mandated minimum levels of patron member’s governance rights. The new statute sets a minimum patron member voting rights floor which the cooperative can set significantly higher levels of patron member control in the bylaws. A Chapter 308B cooperative must establish an Audit Committee which may consist of the entire Board.
Often cited cooperative principles are: 1) voluntary and open membership, 2) democratic member control (one member, one vote), 3) member economic participation, 4) autonomy and independence, 5) education, training, and information, 6) cooperation among cooperatives, and 7) concern for community.
A cooperative may be formed and organized on a cooperative plan for any lawful purpose, including:
(1) to market, process, or otherwise change the form or marketability of products, including crops, livestock, and other agricultural products, the manufacturing and further processing of those products, other purposes that are necessary or convenient to facilitate the production or marketing of products by patron members and others, and other purposes that are related to the business of the cooperative;
(2) to provide products, supplies, and services to its members; and
(3) for any other purposes that cooperatives are authorized to perform by law.
A cooperative shall have bylaws governing the cooperative’s business affairs, structure, the qualifications, classification, rights and obligations of members, and the classifications, allocations, and distributions of membership interests, which are not otherwise provided in the articles or by this chapter.
(a) In addition to other powers, a cooperative as an agent or otherwise:
(1) may perform every act necessary or proper to the conduct of the cooperative’s business or the accomplishment of the purposes of the cooperative;
(2) has other rights, powers, or privileges granted by the laws of this state to other cooperatives, except those that are inconsistent with the express provisions of this chapter; and
(3) has the powers given in section 308A.201 and in this section.
(b) This section does not give a cooperative the power or authority to exercise the powers of a credit union under chapter 52, a bank under chapter 48, or a savings association under chapter 51A.
Minnesota Cooperative Forms available under “Forms & Fees”.
CoMinnesota is an expanding community of Minnesota cooperators from all sectors who are working together to create and promote activities that tell the story of how cooperative enterprises build a better world.
Cooperative Development Services is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1985. Since its inception, CDS has been committed to providing a range of innovative, results-oriented, and cost-effective services to cooperatives and related organizations.