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Center for Economic Development Collaborates with OSU’s Center for Co-ops to Assess Impact of COVID-19 on Ohio’s Agricultural Co-ops

Levin’s Center for Economic Development (CED) is collaborating with the Center for Cooperatives in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University to understand the economic impacts of COVID-19 on the state’s agricultural co-ops and estimate the economic contribution of cooperatives to Ohio’s economy. The project will gather data from public sources and interviews of agricultural co-op leaders.

The project work is funded, in part, by a US Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center CARES Act Award received by the CED, which has served as a designated EDA University Center since 1985. Dr. Iryna Demko, Research Associate with the CED, shared that cooperatives play a unique role in the agri-food supply chain. “The purpose of the agricultural supply chain is the fast and efficient delivery of agricultural products from farmers to consumers. Each cooperative acts as an intermediary in the supply chain by connecting its members to wholesalers,” Dr. Demko said. “Cooperatives also purchase products and materials needed for their business to function. We want to quantify the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cooperatives’ supply chain and on their role in the supply chain.”

The research collaboration aims to better understand how the state’s cooperatives have weathered the changes brought about by the pandemic — from temporary closures to supply chain shifts. At the same time, the researchers will collect information to reliably estimate the economic contribution of co-ops to Ohio’s overall economy. A report authored by Dr. Demko, Isabella L. McKnight (MUPD ’21), and Hannah Scott of OSU in 2021, "Cooperatives in Ohio’s Economy: Their Contribution and the Impact of COVID-19," provides preliminary findings. Read More »