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Past Rural Developers’ Assembly Virtual Meeting Recordings

Rural developers learned about the work that is being done with Opportunity Development Cooperatives /Investment Cooperatives in rural communities, their current role in the economy, and the potential for future growth for your communities. An overview was provided of the benefits of Investment Cooperatives, such as the ability to pool resources, access to capital, and the potential for increased community wealth building.

NDAREC’s cooperative development center hosted a virtual Rural Developers’ Assembly on September 29, 2020 where Margaret Bau, USDA Rural Development walked participants through the idea of homecare worker cooperatives for the state of ND.

Margaret holds the distinction of organizing the country’s first rural home care workers cooperative.

Margaret has been a Cooperative Development Specialist with USDA Rural Development since 1998.  She has assisted in the formation of over 30 cooperatives across her home state of Wisconsin in industries as diverse as long term care, distributing local foods into regional institutions, arts marketing and galleries, conventional groceries, housing, disability support services, and converting existing businesses into employee ownership.

Margaret now works for the USDA national office as a resource on cooperative development but remains based in central Wisconsin.


Our Mission:  Add new wealth to the economy by creating, retaining, and expanding rural cooperatives and other primary sector business enterprises

The Rural Electric and Telecommunications Development Center has been providing federally-supported technical assistance to rural areas since 1994. Operating under the umbrella of NDAREC and the North Dakota Association of Telecommunications Cooperatives (NDATC), the Center has come to be recognized as a major development player in North Dakota. We are networked with 16 electric cooperatives and 12 telecommunications co-ops in a statewide effort focusing on sustaining and growing rural areas. The local cooperatives assist the Center with rural development activities and community outreach. North Dakota’s rural electric and telecommunications cooperatives have been providing matching funds for the Center since 1994.

We promote and support development of cooperatives and economic development through consultation, technical assistance, financing programs and education. 

Services Available

  • Provide organizational and business development guidance
  • Business development analysis
  • Cooperative development strategies
  • Assist in obtaining start-up funds for research and development activities
  • Provide start-up administrative services
  • Provide professional referrals
  • Sponsor conferences and seminars for business cooperative directors and managers
  • Coordinate local and state rural development efforts

  • Sponsored by the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives. 
  • Financially sponsored by North Dakota’s rural electric cooperatives, North Dakota’s telecommunications cooperatives, and USDA Rural Development.

Our Partners

Economic Development & Finance

Ag Products Utilization Commission

Manufacturing Technology Partnership

ND Development Fund

Quentin Burdick Center for Cooperatives

Ag Research Fund

Marketplace of Ideas

North Dakota Coordinating Council for
Cooperatives (NDCCC)

For overall rural development questions contact:
Lori Capouch, Economic Development Director
Mary Stumpf, Rural Development Specialist
Brian Gion, Cooperative Development Specialist