National conference examines cutting-edge issues affecting farmer co-ops

The 16th Annual Farmer Cooperative Conference, set for November 7-8  in Minneapolis, will again offer top-notch, thoughtful analysis of the cutting-edge issues that face agribusiness cooperatives today.

Strategic issues that are highlighted in this year’s conference include global and domestic economic trends, policy updates, cooperative finance, productivity and integrated data analysis, and consumer-driven markets.

Now in its 16th year, this annual national conference regularly attracts top cooperative business leaders and industry experts.  They come together to share the latest in research, trends and innovative approaches used by agricultural cooperatives.  The conference is organized by the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, with assistance from a planning committee of industry and academic experts.

“The topics are practical yet always explore the frontiers of the cooperative model,” says Phil Kenkel, Bill Fitzwater Cooperative Chair at Oklahoma State University.  “The interaction between managers, directors, academics and other industry professions is truly unique.”

Program highlights include a session on agriculture in a global and consumer-driven world, and the influence of consumer-driven market trends on production agricultural practices.  Molly Jahn, Professor, Department of Agronomy, the Laboratory of Genetics, and the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment, is a featured speaker.

“As a longtime sponsor of the Farmer Cooperatives Conference, CoBank appreciates the value the program provides to cooperatives that are continually searching out ways to deliver value to their member-owners in an unpredictable economic environment,” says Peter Rudeen with CoBank’s Regional Agribusiness Banking Group.  “Once again, the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives has put together an exceptional program, and we encourage cooperative leaders to attend the conference and to support its ongoing success.”

Support for the program comes from CoBank, CHS, Dorsey & Whitney, Farm Foundation, GROWMARK, Land O’Lakes, Lindquist and Vennum, NCFC Education Foundation, Stoel Rives, CliftonLarsonAllen, Gardiner Thomsen, and the Ralph K. Morris Foundation.

The two-day conference will be hosted at the Radisson Plaza Hotel Minneapolis.  More information about the conference and registration is available at or by contacting Reynolds at 608-263-4775 or

Established in 1962, the UW Center for Cooperatives focuses on education, research and outreach on all aspects of the cooperative business model, including development, finance, structure and governance.  The Center’s interdisciplinary programs build on the resources of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Wisconsin Extension, and are implemented through partnerships with UW faculty, staff and extension agents, federal and state agencies, state cooperative councils, cooperative business groups, and others.