Feb. 24, 2015

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106

MINNEAPOLIS (Feb. 24, 2015) – More than 150 attendees from 25 states and Puerto Rico participated in the 2015 National Farmers Union (NFU) College Conference on Cooperatives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, over the weekend. The participants learned how cooperative businesses are adapting to changing environments and heard from cooperative experts from across the nation on why member-owned businesses are thriving in industries ranging from senior housing to healthcare.

“This is an opportunity for the cooperative community to teach young people about cooperative business principles and to show them that there are great careers in these dynamic, ethical and community-minded businesses,” said NFU President Roger Johnson.

To bring cooperative education to life, students toured housing, retail, and marketing cooperatives in Minneapolis and St. Paul. They also visited the headquarters of CHS Inc., the nation’s largest agricultural cooperative, and the Mill City Museum, built into the ruins of what was once the world’s largest flour mill. 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, as well as consumer cooperatives such as REI and natural foods co-ops. These professionals offered insights on cooperative development here and abroad.

“Farmers Union remains true to its roots of both being an advocate for cooperative businesses and offering education programs,” said Johnson. “Our own history is very closely tied with the cooperative movement. Cooperatives were made possible by legislative activity and organized by farmers and ranchers to strengthen the economic opportunities in rural and urban communities. Farmers Union has a strong commitment to providing cooperative education not only to our own members, but also to the general public, and especially to young people, many of whom are just learning about the cooperative way of doing business.”

The conference was organized by National Farmers Union and sponsored by the CHS Foundation, CoBank, Farmers Union Industries Foundation, NFU Foundation, The Cooperative Foundation, CHS Inc., Minnesota Cooperative Education Foundation, Federated Youth Foundation and Organic Valley.

To learn more, visit or

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.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.