From the Knoxville News Sentinel:

There was a time not too long ago when farmers cooperatives were the lifeblood of Tennessee's agricultural communities.

Part supplier, part information resource and popular gathering spot, cooperatives played a prominent role in the rural communities they served.

Fast forward to 2010 and many of the expansive farms that graced east Tennessee's landscape have given way to subdivisions, commercial development and a ongoing decline in the farming population.

To stay competitive, that has meant a change in business philosophy for many of the state's 57 member-owned cooperatives.

Continue reading at the Sentinel: Agricultural Co-ops Reinventing Way They Operate