MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Agriculture students from Northeast Community College joined with others from universities across the nation in an annual conference to educate, motivate, and inspire the next generation of leaders in cooperatives.
Northeast ag students participate in conference on cooperatives in Minneapolis
March 9, 2023 7:40 AM
Over the course of the three-day College Conference on Cooperatives, sponsored by the National Farmers Union (NFU), participants heard from experts in the field, participated in interactive learning activities and workshops, and toured co-ops in the Minneapolis area.
“NFU’s history is rooted in the cooperative movement and our future is, too,” said Rob Larew, NFU President, ahead of the conference. “The College Conference on Cooperatives is a glowing example of the value Farmers Union provides to our members and their communities. I’m excited to see yet another group of smart, engaged students taking an interest in the cooperative model.”
Participants heard from a variety of speakers from local and national co-ops during the conference. The keynote luncheon, in partnership with CoMinnesota and hosted by the Ralph K. Morris Foundation, featured an address from Megan Rock, chief sustainability officer and vice president of sustainability and innovation at CHS Inc.
“The College Conference on Coops has been held each year for the last 25+ years,” said Michael Zierke, ag mechanical welding instructor at Northeast. “The students had their eyes opened as to what coops can look like other than just where they get their seed, feed, fertilizer, fuel, and chemicals. They also had the opportunity to learn the seven Cooperative Principles and how they can benefit by being involved.”
The seven principles include Voluntary and Open Membership, Democratic Member Control, Member Economic Participation, Autonomy and Independence,
Education, Training and Information, Cooperation among Cooperatives, and Concern for Community.
“The information the students gathered will help them in their business classes,” Zierke said. “After the conference, they now have a better understanding of why being involved in coops is a benefit and that being a leader in their community helps build a better community.”
Northeast students who attended the conference were Ethan Ankeny, Wayne; Kelcie Hall, Norfolk; Cody Hubl, Lawrence; Becca Houtby, Wolbach; Haley Meduna, Colon; Cody North, Winside; Julia Polt, Pierce; Sheridan Smejkal, Wagner, So. Dak.; Emilee Spitz, Genoa; and Brendan Wruble, Clarks.
In addition to the students from Northeast, other attendees represented Colorado State University, Cornell University, Lake Area Technical College, Montana State University, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, Ogallala Commons, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, University of Missouri, University of Montana, and University of Wisconsin – Whitewater.
The College Conference on Cooperatives is made possible through the sponsorship of the CHS Foundation, SPIRE Credit Union, and the National Farmers Union Foundation.
Agriculture students and their instructor from Northeast Community College attended the College Conference on Cooperatives in Minneapolis recently. Pictured on the roof of the Riverton Community Housing coop for students near the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis (front row from left) are Sheridan Smejkal, Emilee Spitz, Kelcie Hall, Becca Houtby, Haley Meduna, and Julia Polt. Pictured in the back row (from left) are Cody Hubl, Brendan Wruble, Michael Zierke, instructor, Cody North and Ethan Ankeny.