A cooperative is an association of individuals voluntarily cooperating for mutual benefit, whereas a corporation operates with the objective of earning a profit.
Just as the stockholders or shareholders of a business have a say in how the business is owned and operated, our family farm-owners have a say in how our Cooperative is run.
The crucial difference is that in the case of other types of corporations, how much of a say or how much control an owner has over the company is determined by how large their ownership stake is. That’s not the case with a cooperative, where each member-owner gets one vote. The opinion of one cooperative member does not have more weight than the opinion of another cooperative member.
Cooperatives often elect a board of directors. Members of DFA’s Board of Directors are members of the Cooperative itself, similar to other cooperatives. The responsibilities of the Board include ensuring that the Cooperative is working towards achieving its mission, following the by-laws, setting up operational policies for the and hiring any outside managers or other employees.