Cooperative NetworkCooperative Network, joining 150 cooperative leaders from across the country, met Friday with senior White House officials, including White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew, to convey the importance of co-ops to the nation's economy.

"Wisconsin and Minnesota cooperatives continue to stand strong when other forms of business crumble around them," said Bill Oemichen, Cooperative Network president and CEO. "Cooperatives grow local economies, promote community development, and offer services and solutions because of their group buying power."

The event began with a briefing by senior Obama Administration officials followed by breakout sessions where cooperative leaders met with members of the Administration to discuss small business development, job creation, innovative agriculture programs and financial cooperatives.

According to a study by the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, 3.4 million cooperative members in Minnesota rely on approximately 1,000 co-ops to market and supply agricultural products as well as to provide credit, financing, electricity, transportation, health care, food, housing, insurance, and many other products and services. Minnesota co-ops annually record about $34 billion in revenue and they employ approximately 46,000 Minnesota residents. There are 2.7 million cooperative members in Wisconsin who rely on approximately 650 co-ops. Wisconsin co-ops annually record about $8.6 billion in revenue and they employ approximately 19,000 Wisconsin residents, paying nearly $780 million in wages and benefits each year.

Cooperative Network serves more than 600 member-cooperatives, owned by more than 6.1 million Minnesota and Wisconsin residents, by providing government relations, education, marketing, and technical services for a wide variety of cooperatives including farm supply, health, dairy marketing, consumer, financial, livestock marketing, telecommunications, electric, housing, insurance, worker-owned, and more. For more information about Cooperative Network, visit