February 16, 2017

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
[email protected]

MINNEAPOLIS (February 16, 2017) – Drawing on nearly 115 years of leadership in cooperative leadership and education, National Farmers Union (NFU) will host 100 students from 20 colleges and universities here this weekend for its annual College Conference on Cooperatives (CCOC). The three-day conference will provide an interactive learning experience for American agriculture’s next generation on the importance, structure and operations of various types of cooperative groups.

“Cooperatives play an important role in strengthening rural and urban economies and communities across the country. NFU’s CCOC engages tomorrow’s agricultural leaders in applying cooperative business principles and learning about opportunities available to them through the cooperative model,” said NFU President Roger Johnson.

Representatives and farmers from traditional and value-added agricultural cooperatives, housing and worker-owned co-ops, and consumer cooperatives will offer their insight on cooperative development. Students will also hear from William Nelson, former president of CHS Foundation, and Doug O’Brien, executive vice president of programs at the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International.

In addition, participants will visit several area cooperatives, including Riverton Housing Co-op and REI, and the Mill City Museum, a river-front museum built into the ruins of what was once the world’s largest flour mill.

Johnson explained, “NFU was founded on the core principles of education and cooperation, and we proudly continue that emphasis today with hands-on learning experiences like CCOC.”

“Thanks to the support of our sponsors, NFU is able to provide cooperative education beyond the farm and ranch gate to young leaders from college campuses across the United States,” Johnson concluded.

This year’s conference was made possible by the generous support of the CHS Foundation, CHS Inc., CoBank, Farmers Union Industries Foundation, and NFU Foundation.

To learn more, visit

National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.


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