Kansas students attend Farmers Union 2011 College Conference on Cooperatives

24 02 2011

MINNEAPOLIS – Nearly 90 students from ten states came together recently to learn about cooperatives from experts across the country. The students were participants in the College Conference on Cooperatives, sponsored by the CHS Foundation and hosted by the National Farmers Union (NFU) Foundation.

The February 17-20 event included participants from Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Montana and Colorado. Students from Hays included Logan Tuxhorn, Chuck Hindman, Amanda Scholz, all of North Central Kansas Technical College, and Lacey Ward of Fort Hays State University. Tyler Teske of Cloud County Community College also attended the Conference.

“This is an opportunity for Farmers Union and the cooperative community of the Upper Midwest to teach young people about cooperative business principles and history, to introduce them to a wide variety of co-ops, and to show them that there are great careers in strong, ethical and community-minded businesses,” said coordinator Cathy Statz, Education Director for the Wisconsin Farmers Union. “We are fortunate to have cooperative education grant funding from CHS Foundation and many other partners to make this event possible.”

To make cooperative education come alive for the participants, students visited CHS headquarters, heard cooperative leaders, farmers, and government experts explain current challenges facing co-ops, and they also toured housing, retail and marketing cooperatives across the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Presenters included members, directors, employees and managers from traditional and value-added agricultural cooperatives, as well as perspectives from electric, housing, worker-owned co-ops, as well as consumer cooperatives such as credit unions, REI and Mississippi Market Natural Foods Co-op. Representatives from recently established cooperatives and the Peace Corps provided perspectives on cooperative development here and abroad.

Additional supporters included CoBank, SPIRE Federal Credit Union, CHS, Inc., NCFC Education Foundation, Minnesota Cooperative Education Foundation, Federated Youth Foundation, and FUI Foundation.

“Farmers Union’s activities involve cooperation, education, and civic activism, so it is valuable to have events like this one to help bring those topics together,” said Statz. “Our own history is so closely tied with the cooperative movement. Cooperatives were made possible by legislative activity, and brought to life in communities both rural and urban. 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.”

To learn more, go to www.nfu.org.





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