The impact agricultural cooperatives have on rural economic development was highlighted for 19 Nebraska agri-business students last month at the College Conference on Cooperatives at Minneapolis.
Six students and an instructor represented the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture at Curtis, part of the University of Nebraska, at the conference organized by the nationwide cooperative Cenex Harvest States (CHS).
AJ Pestelo of Breckenridge Colorado, Patrick Zochol of Alliance, Kaetlee Feddersen of Climbing Hill, Iowa, Rien Franzen of Gurley, Ryleigh Rainey of Mud Lake, Idaho, Garth Packard of Ogallala, and NCTA assistant professor Jeremy Sievers were just the latest NCTA delegation to attend the conference.
“It’s a good opportunity for our students to see and learn about the wide range of Cooperatives that are out there and opportunities to work in them,” says Sievers.
“It allows them to see that it’s just not the Coop down the street or the electrical Co-op they belong to, but places like REI and grocery stores can be run in the cooperative structure as well.”
The 150 conferees representing 25 states and Puerto Rico participated in tours at CHS headquarters, the REI Sports Sales Coop, housing and food coops, and the Mill City Flour Museum.
They also heard speakers from cooperatively-owned grocery stores, ag coops, rural electric coops, credit unions, and new coops.
Northeast Community College at Norfolk and Southeast Community College at Beatrice also had delegations at the conference, and all received money for the trip from the Nebraska Farmers Union, which received grant support from the foundations of Cenex and the National Farmers Union.
Jeremiah Picard of Nebraska Farmers Union says the group was pleased to partner with these Nebraska colleges to help send Nebraska kids to this Conference.
“The College Cooperative Conference helps make more students aware career options and tools that can be used to create the economic opportunities needed to help our rural youth stay in their communities,” he says.