WV Small Farm Center


Food Hub/Incubator Training Farm Cooperative Board

Cooperatives Board of Directors Development Guide

Click this link to view provider Introduction as PDF

I. WHOWHATWHY for the guide’s development

Who – Designed for new and emerging board of directors of food hub/incubator training farm related cooperatives.

WHAT – Units to be understood and learned will include the following key areas:
A. Board agenda/packet development and use
B. Bylaws/membership application development and maintenance
C. Defining and communicating officer duties
D. Policy and procedure manual development and maintenance
E. Identification and management of committees
F. Finance, accounting, budgets, and balances reporting

Miscellaneous Materials

Why – Board training and development is needed to maximize new and emerging board members and meeting effectiveness as well as legal requirements for the cooperative.

II. DESIGN – Training sessions and/or supportive materials will be provided at the regular board meetings as part of the meeting occurring during, before, and/or after the board meetings. These sessions could be facilitated by officers, board members, consultants, or used as a self-study guide. An assessment of which training areas are needed to be provided, how, when, and in what order they are provided will be determined during the early stages of the board formation.

Training facilitators can take the generic handouts and samples/examples/templates and customize them to a specific cooperative. Then as the cooperative makes decisions about its operation, the handouts and samples/examples/templates could be modified to represent real examples of their cooperative. When new or replacement board members come on the board, they will be able to use the guide to help them better function as new board members.

III. UNIT LESSON PLANS – The following unit lesson plans will address the following two areas:

1) Training Objectives Statement(s)
2) Needed Handouts, Samples/Examples/Templates, and/or Reference Materials

NOTE: Handouts and support materials will be added to this guide’s documents as they are developed or better samples/examples/templates are located.


A. Board Agenda/Packet Development and Use: Board members will follow a formal board agenda/packet process in operating meetings and keeping required records.
B. Bylaws/Membership Application Development and Maintenance: Board members will develop a formal set of bylaws (which have been legally reviewed) for approval by the board at the first annual meeting.
C. Defining and Communicating Officer Duties: Board members will know the required duties of each office and if holding an office, will perform the duties of that office.
D. Policy and Procedure Manual Development and Maintenance: Board members will develop a manual of policies and procedures/forms for approval and acknowledgement by the board at the first annual meeting.
E. Identification and Management of Committees: Board members will develop and monitor all committees.
F. Finance, Accounting, Budgeting, and Balances Reporting: Board members will develop and maintain reports, budgets, and a multiple year financial plan by the first annual meeting.


A PowerPoint presentation is provided for each chapter. A consolidated version of all six chapter PowerPoint presentations will also be provided in the PowerPoint Presentations section on the WVU Small Farms web site at the link below:

Click here to view PowerPoint presentation