LINCOLN — Nineteen agricultural students and their professors from four colleges in Nebraska and Kansas traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota February 13-16 to learn about cooperatives under the guidance of Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU). The participating colleges included Northeast Community College at Norfolk, Southeast Community College at Beatrice, Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture at Curtis and Fort Hays State University at Hayes, Kansas. Seventy-five students from across the nation attended the College Conference on Cooperatives (CCOC).
The CCOC participants learned about different types of cooperatives from consumer and producer driven co-ops to senior living co-ops. “Nebraska cooperatives create nearly 14,000 jobs while contributing $2.2 billion in annual economic impact through sales and investments. The CCOC engages tomorrow’s leaders through a unique platform that teaches them about cooperative business principles and the opportunities available through the cooperative model. By working together, we can make our rural communities a better place to live and work and raise our families,” said NeFU President John Hansen.
“Farmers Union was founded on the core principles of education and cooperation, and we proudly build on that foundation today with in-person learning experiences like CCOC,” NFU President Roger Johnson said. “Thanks to the support of our sponsors, we are able to provide cooperative education beyond the farm and ranch gate to young leaders from college campuses across the United States.”
Students heard from cooperative leaders, farmers and government experts who explained current challenges they face. Presenters ranged from members, directors, employees and managers of traditional and value-added agricultural cooperatives to representatives of housing and worker-owned co-ops.
NeFU CCOC Representative Camdyn Kavan concluded “The feedback I received from the students was positive. From the tour of the Mill City Museum to the general surprise that co-ops are so much more than just places to buy feed and fertilizer or sell grain. These students learned about how cooperatives can be used to improve lives and serve society everywhere as well as serving rural communities. The students now have a few extra tools in their tool boxes which they will take back to the farm”.
The annual College Cooperative Conference is organized by National Farmers Union and co-sponsored by CHS Foundation, CHS Inc., CoBank, Farmers Union Industries Foundation, NFU Foundation, and the Ralph K. Morris Foundation.
Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization with 4,000 farm and ranch family members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities. Since 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has helped organize over 445 cooperatives. (30)
— Nebraska Farmers Union
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