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Ben Burkett

Indian Springs Cooperative, Petal, MS

Project Snapshot:
The Indian Springs Farmers Association is a 45 member owned vegetable production and marketing cooperative that grades, packs and ships the produce of African American farmers in six Mississippi counties. The co-op owns a “state of the art” packing shed located in Petal, Mississippi. It has a cooler for storage, washing tubs, sorting tables and other equipment for processing the produce from co-op members. Members purchase shares that are invested and pay annual membership dues. To fulfill its marketing goals and contracts, the co-op affiliates with at least four other cooperatives in the state. This cooperative helps to secure higher prices through collective bargaining and access greater marketing opportunities than any individual could do on his or her own. The cooperative is updating their refrigeration and transportation systems to make their marketing and sales more efficient.

Bio: The Indian Springs Farmers Association is comprised of 42 members. The vegetable marketing cooperative grades, packs and ships the produce of African American farmers in six Mississippi counties, helping them secure higher prices through collective bargaining and access greater marketing opportunities than any individual could on his own. Members own shares in the coop and are entitled to one vote per person. They pay a slim $1 monthly fee for the services provided by the coop, thanks to an enduring board of directors belief that farmers should recoup as much profit as possible.

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