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Save the Date! 16th Annual Farmer Cooperatives Conference November 7-8 2013, Minneapolis, MN

Another informative and thought-provoking conference is expected on November 7-8, 2013, when the 16th Annual Farmer Cooperatives Conference returns to Minneapolis. The conference will build on the success of the 2012 event, which was attended by over 160 agricultural producers and other cooperative professionals.

The 2012 conference examined the opportunities and challenges for sustaining cooperative businesses into the future. Following the presidential election by only two days, the conference featured several speakers who provided some early assessments of the impact of election results on agriculture. Both Chuck Conner, president and CEO of National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and Dan Glickman, former Secretary of Agriculture under President Clinton, presented perspectives that were similar in many respects. The outlook for agriculture continues to be a prosperous one, but the possibility of movement on the Farm Bill by a lame duck Congress facing the “fiscal cliff” remained remote.

U.S. production agriculture will be affected by global commodity markets, biofuel policies, and consumers who are demanding to know how their food is produced. Cooperatives have been a influential force in the development of the sector and have the capacity to respond to the changing landscape positively.

The strong program also included presentations on equity plan restructuring, programs for member relationship, leadership, and international programs, and a panel discussion and Q&A about mergers and acquisitions. The story of the CBH grain cooperative, and its members’ decision to maintain its cooperative status, provided a unique insight into the cooperative advantage in an Australian context. Presentations from the conference are available on the conference website .

The 15th Annual Farmer Cooperatives Conference was made possible by the generous support of its sponsors: CoBank, AgriBank, CHS, Dorsey & Whitney, Farm Foundation, GROWMARK, Land O'Lakes, Lindquist & Vennum, NCFC Education Foundation, Stoel Rives, and CliftonLarsonAllen. Conference sponsorships allow the Center for Cooperatives to offer this program at a lower fee, enabling a broader attendance by cooperative board members and staff.

The upcoming 2013 conference on November 7-8 will return to the Radisson Plaza Hotel in downtown Minneapolis. The conference location was at capacity in 2012; early registration for this year's conference will be available soon. Check the UWCC website for updates as they occur.

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