A cooperative is an association of 5 or more adults, one of whom must be a North Dakota resident, incorporated for the benefit of its members or stockholders. A cooperative is like any other business structure with a unique trait - it belongs to the people with a common purpose who use it. These people organize to provide themselves with goods or services they need. A cooperative may be created for any business purpose except banking and insurance (insurer backing claims). Domestic cooperatives that are formed in North Dakota must file articles of association.

The members or stockholders:

  • Share equally in the control of the cooperative.
  • Elect directors from among themselves. The directors elect their officers and hire management to manage the day-to-day affairs to serve the members' or stockholders' interests.

There are 4 types of cooperatives:

  • General Cooperative
  • Mutual Aid Cooperative 
  • Electric Cooperative 
  • Grazing Association

NDCC ch. 10-15 pertains to cooperatives.

Out-of-State (Foreign) Cooperative

An out-of-state cooperative has filed articles of incorporation or association under laws other than the laws of North Dakota. These are cooperatives that are created in out-of-state as well as out-of-country jurisdictions. These out-of-state entities are referred to in North Dakota Century Code as foreign business types. 

An out-of-state cooperative must obtain a certificate of authority from the Office of the Secretary of State to transact business in North Dakota and can only be considered a general cooperative.

A foreign cooperative using a name other than its cooperative name must file a Trade Name Registration with the Secretary of State. More information on trade names can be found on the Register a Business page.


  • Registration (domestic) - $30
  • Registration (foreign) - $40
  • Annual Report (domestic and foreign) - $20
  • Amendment (domestic and foreign) - $20
  • Dissolution (domestic) - $20
  • Withdrawal (foreign) - $20

Naming Guidelines:

  • General Cooperative - no specific naming guidelines for cooperative associations
  • Mutual Aid Cooperative - guidance under NDCC 10-12-02
  • Electric Cooperative  - guidance under NDCC 10-13-02
  • Grazing Association - guidance under NDCC 36-08-03

Annual Report Requirements: 

  • Filing Deadline - March 31


Disclaimer: Content provided on this website is for informational purposes and not intended as advice. Consultation with legal, tax, and/or business professionals is recommended to ensure appropriate consideration of the implications of your decisions.