Extension, Enterprise, and Education: The Legacy of Co-operatives and Cooperation in Utah: Cooperatives and USU
Cooperatives and USU
What is a Cooperative?
"A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically-controlled enterprise." 
"A cooperative is a business or organization owned by and operated for the benefit of those using its services. Profits and earnings generated by the cooperative are distributed among the members, also known as user-owners. Typically, an elected board of directors and officers run the cooperative while regular members have voting power to control the direction of the cooperative. Members can become part of the cooperative by purchasing shares, though the amount of shares they hold does not affect the weight of their vote." 
History of Cooperatives
The earliest cooperatives began in early modern Europe in the second half of the 18th C. Craftsmen came together desiring purer products and being able to benefit from the fruits of their labor without becoming the middle man. Having done their best in their trade craftsman and workers wanted their families to benefit from their work.
The modern cooperative movement began in 1844 in the town of Rochdale in northern England. A group of twenty-four cottonmill workers came together to form a group "The Pioneers decided it was time shoppers were treated with honesty, openness and respect, that they should be able to share in the profits that their custom contributed to and that they should have a democratic right to have a say in the business. Every customer of the shop became a member and so had a true stake in the business."  On their own each worker, facing poor working conditions and poorer wages came together to buy goods then sell them to those in their community. Thus the modern cooperative movement was born. 
The LDS pioneers in Utah took these same princples, plus ideas they had already learned of in their community experiences and created cooperatives of their own in Utah.
Lowry Nelson and The Consumer Cooperative Movement
USU's Land-Grant Role
 "What is a coop?" International Cooperative Alliance. 2015. Accessed 18 March 2016. http://ica.coop/en/what-co-operative.
 Cooperative, U.S Small Business Administration. U.S. Small Business Administration, 409 3rd St, SW. Washington DC 20416. Accessed 18 March 2016. https://www.sba.gov/content/cooperative .
 History of the Cooperative Movement International Cooperative Alliance. 2015. Accessed 18 March 2016. http://ica.coop/en/whats-co-op/history-co-operative-movement
 History of the Cooperative Movement