University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives

New Generation Farmer Cooperatives:
The Development Process

Excerpts from the 1998 Cooperative Development Training Conference
Held in Eau Claire and Madison, Wisconsin

Intended Audience for this Video:

Farmers, Extension Agents, Community Leaders, Cooperative Leaders, etc. who are considering starting a new “value-added” cooperative.

This training video explores the following topics:

  • An Introduction to New Generation (ie Value Added) Farmer Cooperatives
  • An Overview of new co-ops in North Dakota.
  • A Case Study of Mountain View Harvest Cooperative (a wheat processing bakery in Colorado).
  • Picking the right “players” for the development team.
  • The Importance of Communication.
  • Getting community support.
  • Feasibility Study vs. Business Plan.
  • Legal Issues…. Strategic Alliances….New Technology….Financing.
The Trainers who Appear on the Video:
Bob Cropp: Director of the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, Bob gives a basic ten minute introduction to what makes these new co-ops different. 
Barry Bjornson: Formerly of the National Farmers Union, Barry was involved in the start-up of numerous New Generation Cooperatives.  He discusses a number of examples from North Dakota. 
Dave Carter: As President of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (Aurora, CO), Dave played a lead role in starting Mountain View Harvest.  He tells that story. 
Everett Dabrinski: Wheat farmer, board member of Dakota Pasta Growers Co-op, Carrington, ND.
Lee Estensen: Formerly with St. Paul Bank for Cooperatives, now with Farm Credit Leasing, Minneapolis, MN.
Allen Gerber: President of Minnesota Association of Cooperatives, St. Paul, MN.
Ron McFall: Co-op attorney for Doherty, Rumble and Butler, St. Paul, MN..
Cindy Thyfault: Business consultant, Westar Trade Resources, Amarillo, TX.
Randy Torgerson: Assistant Administrator for USDA Rural Business – Cooperative Services, Washington, DC.

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