February 19, 2019

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202.314.3106

WASHINGTON – National Farmers Union (NFU) hosted 71 students in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last weekend for its annual College Conference on Cooperatives (CCOC). The three-day conference provides an interactive learning experience for American agriculture’s next generation on the importance, structure and operations of various types of cooperative groups.

“Cooperatives play a vital role in strengthening both rural and urban economies and communities across the country,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “NFU’s CCOC draws on our more than 115 years of leadership in cooperative development and education, and demonstrates our organization’s commitment to cooperative principles. We engage tomorrow’s agricultural leaders in hands-on application of cooperative business principles and structures. This teaches them about the opportunities available to them through the cooperative model.”

Representatives and farmers from traditional and value-added agricultural cooperatives, housing and worker-owned co-ops, and consumer cooperatives offered their insight on cooperative development. Students heard from William Nelson, former president of CHS Foundation, and Nanci Lilja, current president of CHS Foundation. In addition, participants visited several area cooperatives, including Mississippi Market Food Co-op, Seward Co-op, Valley View Senior Housing Co-op, Riverton Housing Co-op and REI, as well as 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 in-person 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 premier supporters CHS Foundation, CHS Inc., CoBank, Farmers Union Industries Foundation, and NFU Foundation.

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To download an audio file of Roger Johnson’s quote, visit our website at

About NFU
National Farmers Union advocates on behalf of nearly 200,000 American farm families and their communities. We envision a world in which farm families and their communities are respected, valued, and enjoy economic prosperity and social justice.

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