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Annual Farmer Cooperatives Conference

The UW Center for Cooperatives will hold its 10th Annual Farmer Cooperatives Conference on Nov. 5-6, 2007 in St. Paul, Minn. The topic of this year’s conference is “Valuing the Cooperative Business in the 21st Century.” The annual Farmer Cooperatives Conference provides a stimulating forum for those in the agricultural cooperative business community to exchange ideas with each other, and with policy, research and legal experts. Organized by the UW Center for Cooperatives and UW-Extension, the conference program is developed by a national planning committee that is knowledgeable and informed about current topics of interest to cooperative businesses.

The annual meeting of NCERA-194, which promotes and coordinates research on agricultural cooperatives, will follow the Farmer Cooperatives Conference on November 6 and 7, at the same location.

Updates on the conference and registration information will be posted on the UW Center for Cooperatives website at www.uwcc.wisc.edu/farmercoops07. Questions about the conference can be directed to Anne Reynolds, UW Center for Cooperatives, 608-263-4775, at reynol@wisc.edu.

As farmer-owned cooperatives continue to adapt to a changing business landscape, they face many strategic dilemmas, including:
–How can cooperatives maximize the value of their assets?
–What are the key drivers when cooperatives consider business structure changes?
–How can benchmarks be used to optimize performance?

Understanding the true value of the agricultural cooperative business is crucial to meeting these challenges effectively. This national conference offers a unique opportunity for cooperative board members, CEOs, and others doing business with agricultural cooperatives to explore topics that include:
–Business structure strategies for the future;
–Business structure changes: stories from FCStone Group, South Dakota Soybean Processors, Gold Kist and others;
–Understanding the value of the cooperative during times of change.

This year’s conference is made possible by the generous support from sponsors including the Farm Foundation, CoBank, CHS Foundation, Dorsey and Whitney LLP, Land O’Lakes, Lindquist & Vennum PLLP, The Cooperative Foundation, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and West Central Cooperative.

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