Effective governance of cooperatives depends on the pro-active participation of members in the governance. However, it is commonly argued that, especially in cooperatives with high heterogeneity of membership, additional decision-making and influencing costs could emerge if members who participate in the governance do so to obtain direct or indirect economic benefits at the individual farm level. The objective of this paper is to assess whether or not farmers’ economic motivations for continued association are relevant drivers of pro-active participation. Data originate from 148 farmers from a large agricultural cooperative in Brazil. The results suggest that economic motivations for continued association are drivers of participation in the General Assembly, but not of ‘pro-active’ participation in boards and committees.