Federation of Agricultural Co-operatives

Scope and Content

This collection consists of records created by the Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives and its constituent organisations; the Agricultural Cooperative Association, the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society, the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society, the Ulster Agricultural Organisation Society, the Agricultural Cooperative Managers Association, and the Plunkett Foundation. The records include annual reports and minutes of each of the organisations, correspondence, and pamphlets.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Federation of Agricultural Co-operatives in Great Britain and Ireland (FAC) was formed in 1949 as a central body to co-ordinate the work of existing federal agricultural organisations throughout the British Isles. The FAC consisted of the Agricultural Central Co-operative Association (ACCA), the Welsh Agricultural Organisation Society (WAOS), the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS), the Ulster Agricultural Organisation Society (UAOS), the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society (IAOS), the Agricultural Co-operative Managers Association (ACMA) and the Plunkett Foundation for Co-operative Studies. The FAC's job was to deal with matters of common interest to all of it's members including amendments to the law affecting co-operatives, education and training of staff, relations between co-operatives and marketing boards, collecting statistics, trade between co-operatives in the various member countries and the promotion of international co-operative relations

The first agricultural co-operative in Britain was formed in 1867 to supply seeds and fertilizers to members. The first co-operative creamery was opened in Ireland in 1889. At the beginning of the twentieth century many farmers' co-operatives were also established. Each of the five countries in the British Isles established its own federal body to collect and distribute information, encourage new societies and assist members. The IAOS was the first federation to be established in 1894. The Agricultural Organisation Society was formed for England and Wales in 1901 but dissolved in 1924. The SOAS was formed in 1905 and the WAOS and UAOS were formed in 1922. The Agricultural Co-operative Association for England was formed in 1945 and in 1956 merged with Farmers' Central Organisation to form ACCA. In addition to these federations there was the Agricultural Co-operative Managers' Association which managers of societies in all the regions were members of.

The Plunkett Foundation for Co-operative Studies was established in 1919 by the Irish pioneer of agricultural co-operation Horace Plunkett. The work of the Plunkett Foundation included research into principles and practice of agricultural co-operation, administrative services for co-operative organisations, the provision of information and library facilities for those interested in agricultural co-operation and operating training courses for co-operative staff.

In 1970 the organisation became Federation of Agricultural Co-operatives (U.K).

The FAC no longer exists, but the Plunkett Foundation continues to work to support programmes for rural co-operative and social enterprises.

Source: Agricultural Co-operation in the United Kingdom and Ireland (The Federation of Agricultural Co-operatives, 196-).


The collection is arranged into the various organisations which it is made up of. The records of the Plunkett Foundation are arranged in the original files that they were filed in by the Plunkett Foundation.

Access Information

All open materials, can be viewed by previous arrangement, Monday- Friday 10am- 5pm. Contact the Archivist at: National Co-operative Archive, Co-operative College, Holyoake House, Hannover Street, Manchester, M60 OAS. archive@co-op.ac.uk. www.archive.coop.

Acquisition Information

Donated to the National Co-operative Archive 2005 by the Plunkett Foundation.

Other Finding Aids

A deposit box list is available.

Archivist's Note

Catalogued by Adam Shaw, Assistant Archivist at the National Co-operative Archive, April- Jun 2010.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be supplied for research purposes, subject to the completion of a declarion form. Please consult the Archivist regarding copyright issues.

Appraisal Information

Journals added to the National Co-operative Archive Journals and Periodicals collection APC.


None expected.


  • Agricultural Co-operation in the United Kingdom and Ireland , Federation of Agricultural Co-operatives (196-).
  • Co-operation in Ireland, by L Smith Gordon and C O'Brien (Co-operative Union, 1921)
  • The Irish Co-operative Movement. Its history and development, by P Bolger (Institute of Public Administration, 1977)