College Conference on Cooperatives
Youth education and leadership programs are essential to the success and growth of National Farmers Union.
Midwestern College Conference on Cooperatives
Every February, students attend the Midwestern College Conference on Cooperatives (MCCOC). Sponsored in part by the CHS Foundation and CoBank, the event attracts participants from Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Montana and Colorado. The annual conference features presentations by cooperative leaders from all across the spectrum, and it is beneficial to both beginning students and to those with some previous co-op education.
"Our own history is so closely tied with the cooperative movement," said NFU President Roger Johnson. "Farmers Union has a strong commitment to providing cooperative education not only to our members, but also to the general public, and especially to young people."
CCOC participants visit CHS headquarters, and they have heard from cooperative leaders, farmers, and government experts who have outlined the challenges facing co-ops. Students also tour housing, retail and marketing cooperatives across Minneapolis and St. Paul.
More focused presentations have been given by members, directors, employees and managers from traditional and value-added agricultural cooperatives, as well as from electric, housing, and worker-owned co-ops. Students benefitted from listening to others involved in consumer cooperatives such as credit unions and Mississippi Market Natural Foods Co-op.
Past participants have offered the following comments:
"The most important thing I learned was how many areas cooperatives are involved in, not just agriculture alone."
"I plan to implement some of these principles in our family operation."
"The most important aspect... was the information I learned about new generation and value-added cooperatives."
The next MCCOC will be held February 2017. Participation in the College Conference on Cooperatives is by invitation to selected schools, but a small number of conference spots are open to other interested young adults. A modest registration fee applies; partial travel sponsorship may be available. For more information contact your state Farmers Union education director or e-mail NFU Education Coordinator Melissa Miller at Melissamiller@nfudc.org