Document Type


Publication Date


Research Center

Center for Economic Development


Ohio is home to 452 cooperatives, including some of the largest agricultural co-ops in the country, and is the birthplace of rural electric cooperatives in the U.S. However, prior to this analysis there was little information about the economic impact of those cooperatives on the state’s economy. The research team used various public sources and interviews to gather data on 58 agricultural and food cooperatives and 25 rural electric cooperatives in Ohio. This study found that agriculture, food, and rural electric cooperatives supported an estimated 12,910 full-time and part-time jobs in the state, attained $875 million in labor income, and contributed $2 billion to value-added and $4 billion to output in 2019. The pandemic had a largely neutral impact on job counts, with cooperatives employing roughly the same number of people in 2021 as they did pre-pandemic. Perhaps the most significant negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Ohio’s cooperatives were supply chain issues, including significant delays in procuring goods, instability in pricing, and challenges planning for the long-term. The pandemic positively impacted cooperatives’ operations by accelerating the adoption of digital technologies.