October is Cooperative Month in Iowa, and many may be surprised to learn that one of four residents (more than 1.4 million individuals) is a cooperative member, whether they know it or not. Membership could be through a rural electric cooperative, a credit union, rural communications provider, farm credit and more. “Co-ops exist for the benefit of their members, while also serving the needs of their local communities,” says Dave Holm, Executive Director of the Iowa Institute for Cooperatives. “Iowa’s cooperative industries have been serving members on the forefront of the pandemic, and our biggest impact comes from embracing the values and principles that make us truly unique.” In rural communities alone, co-ops pay approximately $41 million in property taxes and help support critical infrastructure. Grain and farm supply co-ops operate in about 700 Iowa communities, employing more than 8,000 people and serving more than 122,000 members while paying $32 million in local property taxes. Credit unions operate in all 99 counties, employing more than 4,200 people, serving 1.3 million member-owners and contributing $1.6 billion in economic output. Rural electric and telephone cooperatives have helped bring $10 billion in investments to rural economic development over the past 30 years while employing more than 1,500 people, serving over 690,000 members and paying nearly $15 million in property taxes each year.