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Conference to explore winning strategies for attracting leaders and strengthening co-op performance

The Center for Cooperatives at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is co-sponsoring a pre-conference on “Successful Succession Planning.” This pre-conference precedes the Annual Midwest Co-op Summit, June 21-22, 2004 at Hotel Mead in Wisconsin Rapids.

The pre-conference will, amongst other things, address important questions regarding training and leadership roles in the cooperative. Topics such as “Succession plans for qualified directors” or “Succession plans for qualified managers” will identify and discuss issues pertaining to tapping potential leaders to run for the board and attracting qualified management.

The afternoon sessions include discussion on hiring and retaining a skilled workforce. Presentation of a task force report from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will explore how education-from elementary through college-can help produce future farmers and agribusiness people to keep Wisconsin”s agricultural economy growing. A session on “Instilling member enthusiasm about cooperatives” will include a workshop on techniques and best practices for involving members in the co-op.

The Midwest Co-op Summit, “Strengthening Co-op Performance,” will discuss ways and means to manage and direct co-ops better. Panel discussions from experts on June 22 will familiarize audiences about new concepts and ideas and teach them tools to effectively utilize these ideas.

A panel will discuss minimizing operation costs through strategic alliances and joint ventures, efficient plant utilization, labor management and inventory control, and other strategies at the Summit. Fluctuating commodity prices (petroleum, grain, feed, and dairy) mean that risk management plays an important role in many business decisions. A panel will elaborate on some of the tools that can be used to minimize risk at the cooperative while others will focus on achieving a balance between debt, equity and outside capital, and the board”s responsibility in enhancing shareholder value.

These programs are sponsored by the UW Center for Cooperatives, the Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives, and the Minnesota Association of Cooperatives. For more information on the pre-conference or the Midwest Co-op Summit, contact Robert Cropp at (608) 262-9483 or visit www.wisc.edu/uwcc/mcs