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National Conference examines impact of fertilizer markets, mergers, big data, on farmer cooperatives

Farmer Cooperatives ConferenceThe 18th Annual Farmer Cooperative Conference, Nov. 5-6, 2015 in Minneapolis, will again offer top-notch, thoughtful analysis of the cutting edge issues that face agribusiness cooperatives.

The Farmer Cooperatives Conference will give cooperative leaders the tools needed to navigate challenges ahead. Over two days, top agricultural cooperative leadership and industry experts will address strategic issues such as fertilizer markets and the changing supply chain, trends in cooperative restructuring and mergers, challenges and opportunities with rural broadband, sustainability in the value chain, and standard setting and warehousing for big data.

Now in its 18th 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 with diverse backgrounds from the cooperative, agribusiness and academic sectors.

Michael Cook, a member of the Farmer Cooperatives Conference planning committee, notes, “The success of any given cooperative is related to how informed their members and leaders are about internal governance and operations and how the external environment affects their potential.” Dr. Cook, Robert D. Partridge Chair in Cooperative Leadership at the University of Missouri, conducts research on agribusiness management, market structure and cooperative theory. “The Farmer Cooperatives Conference is one of the best forums by which to not only become more informed but also network with experienced professionals” he adds.

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

As a longtime sponsor of the Farmer Cooperatives Conference, GROWMARK appreciates the value the program provides to cooperatives that are continually striving to grow and provide value to their members,” says Amy Bradford, Corporate Relations Manager at GROWMARK. “The University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives has put together another outstanding program this year. It is the one national conference that focuses solely on agricultural cooperatives, rather than on the state of the industry or an industry sector. This conference provides valuable information to help cooperatives help their members.”

The two-day conference will be hosted at the Radisson Blu Minneapolis. More information about the conference and registration is available at or by contacting Anne 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.

This story was originally posted on the Cooperative Extension News site.