The Ohio Cooperative Development Center (OCDC) supports improving economic conditions through the development of all types of cooperative and "cooperative like" groups. OCDC strives to provide services based on the individual needs of clients and to develop an ongoing relationship with clients in order to ensure their success.  

Type of Organization  Extension Service (Partnership between land grant university and USDA) 
Primary Contact  Hannah Scott 
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Mission: Our mission 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 a business development, research, and extension education team at the Ohio State University South Centers, allowing the center to effectively provide comprehensive resources for new and emerging cooperatives in Ohio and West Virginia.

Issues of Focus: 

  • Formation of Cooperatives as a means of community viability for rural communities 
  • Rural Business Development 
  • Cooperative Extension
  • Resource connection 


  • Formation Counseling: OCDC provides counseling and assistance through the entire formation process for those interested in forming a new cooperative. OCDC's specialists have assisted numerous cooperatives through this process since its inception in the early 2000s.
  • Member Education and Development: As owners, members have unique roles and responsibilities under the cooperative model; the cooperative exists and operates for their benefit. Ensuring that members understand the cooperative model and their unique roles can help ensure success. While considering a cooperative's specific needs, OCDC offers assistance with member education, membership drives and application development
  • Bylaw Development: OCDC provides bylaw development assistance that are specific to the client, these range from development workshops to consultation services.
  • Board Training and Consultation: The board of directors, elected by and from the co-op's membership, serve to direct and oversee the cooperative. Their responsibilities as both members and directors are unique and their contribution to the cooperative's governance is vital.
    OCDC offers trainings to help directors understand their roles and responsibilities under the cooperative model, as well as consultation with boards regarding board/management relationships and other needs
  • Feasibility Studies: Ensuring the success of a cooperative often begins with ensuring a need for the cooperative. Feasibility studies and activities, such as potential member surveys and stakeholder meetings, can help determine the need for a new cooperative.
    OCDC offers feasibility study assistance and consultation in conjunction with specialists with the Business Development Network at the OSU South Centers.  In certain cases, OCDC may be available to develop and carry out full feasibility studies on a for-fee basis.
  • Business Plan Assistance: provides no-charge, confidential assistance and counseling for business planning.  In certain cases, OCDC may be available to develop and complete business plans on a for-fee basis. 
  • Strategic Plan Development: Strategic planning involves assessing the cooperative's  mission and resources to develop  goals and action plans. The process aids in understanding the cooperative's current situation and future plans and encourages effective communication among directors, managers, employees, and members. OCDC offers strategic plan development training for new and existing cooperatives as well as consultation regarding strategic plan updating or revision for existing cooperatives.
  • Policy Development: Policies act as guidelines for cooperative decision-making. Developing a formal policy document can set clear expectations for the cooperative's operation, enabling effective communication and working relationships among staff, managers and the board of directors.

    OCDC offers consultation and individually developed services to cooperatives as they work to develop formal policy documents.

  • Ohio-West Virginia Food Hub: This is a network that was developed in 2014. It focuses on resources and networking opportunities for food hubs and incubator training farms. The address barriers and issues that face these types of organizations 


  • The Ohio State University
  • West Virginia University Extension Services
  • the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center
  • the Mid-America Cooperative Council
  • CoBank
  • USDA Rural Development



Further Development: 

-Detailed success stories