To connect, educate and promote the success of all cooperatives

PO BOX 10426, Raleigh, NC 27605 | 919-834-5544 | Email

North Carolina Cooperative Council © Copyright 2014 All rights reserved.

About Us

 The Cooperative Council of North Carolina started May 2, 1935 when a group of agricultural leaders in our state joined together to form an organization that would assist all involved agencies in efforts to contribute to the agricultural cooperative movement and other movements that would improve agricultural conditions in North Carolina.  Founded on the heels of the Great Depression, it became vital to start an organization that would assist rural citizens and farmers, especially through the development of new cooperatives.  Originally called the Farmers Cooperative Council of North Carolina, the “Farmers” name was later dropped.


 In its history, the Council has had a line of agricultural and cooperative leaders to serve as board chairmen to help conduct council business.  It has also had several prominent Presidents and Executive Officers to lead the organization, staring with Harry B. Caldwell who led the organization for 36 years, starting in 1938.  Caldwell’s influence was not only instrumental in founding the organization, but his leadership helped grow the organization to what it has become today.


 After Caldwell’s retirement, the Council moved its office from Greensboro to Raleigh in 1976.  Following in Caldwell’s footsteps to lead the Council were Charles D. Colvard in 1974 and Carlyle Teague in 1982.  Jennie Gentry served from 2008 to 2015 and the current is Emily Nail.


  Educational programs for the Council started as early as 1935, with a state-wide planning meeting to help develop better programs and activities for NC State University with agricultural agencies and farm organizations.  In 1955, the Council began its support of the 4H and FFA organizations by offering financial assistance as well as promoting cooperative projects and contests across the state for youth.  In 1976, the first Cooperative Youth Camp was held with 65 youth representing various cooperatives across the state.  The week long camp was full of seminars conducted by prominent agricultural and state leaders, educating youth about cooperatives.  This camp remains active today.


  The Council has always taken great pride in working with other organizations.  It has always worked closely with NC State University, the NC Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Agriculture to spread the cooperative story.  The Council was also instrumental in the formation of the NC Milk Producers Federation in 1942, uniting dairy farmers across the state.  It currently helps lead the Dairy Promotions Committee in our state and works closely with such groups as the NC Agribusiness Council, the Agricultural Alliance, the National Cooperative Business Association, the National Council for State Cooperatives and the National Council for Farmer Cooperatives.


  The Council’s structure, organization, goals and programs have evolved as members’ needs have changed over the years.  The staff, in step with the board of directors and other volunteer leadership, has built a strong program designed to fulfill the Council’s objectives.


  Through the Cooperative Council, members are networked with their home-state peers, as well as with the nation’s 29,000 other cooperatives.  Council members are also connected to national organizations with which we partner.   The organization is recognized as the primary voice for cooperatives in North Carolina.  Through extensive programs, the sense of “cooperation among cooperatives” has come alive in a tangible way.  The Council also makes it possible for varied organizations serving rural areas to coordinate their efforts in support of programs and services essential for rural progress and development.


 Since its start in 1935, the Council maintains its original purpose:  to promote cooperatives, educate our state on cooperatives and their importance and connect cooperatives in the state.  The Council works hard to provide an effective coordination of educational, public relations and legislative activities benefiting cooperatives in our state.  Working with leaders across the state, our organization strives to preserve and ensure a thriving future for cooperatives.


Our Strengths


•  Provides a premier voice in North Carolina for cooperatives


•  Improves cooperation among cooperatives


•  Boosts cooperatives' image and recognition


•  Maintains good legislative contacts


•  Helps cooperatives better serve their members


•  Maintains effective staff and volunteer leadership


•  Offers educational programs to educate today’s youth on cooperatives


•  Provides networking opportunities for all types of cooperatives


•  Promotes the cooperative business structure to the public

Our Mission


The mission of the Cooperative Council of North Carolina is to bring the state’s cooperatives together to connect, educate and promote the success of all cooperatives.