by Justin Trammel

Students from across the nation are in Minneapolis, Minn. Feb. 15 to 17 participating in the NFU College Conference on Cooperatives, sponsored by the CHS Foundation, CoBank, Farmers Union Industries Foundation, National Farmers Union (NFU) Foundation and others. The event will focus on how and why cooperatives succeed in America’s competitive business environment.

Friday, Feb. 15, was the first day of the NFU College Conference on Cooperatives (CCOC) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Students from across the nation and Canada are here in Minneapolis to learn how cooperative businesses operate for the benefit of their customer. Coming into this conference (and since I didn’t grow up in the Farmers Union education program), I knew very little about cooperatives and how they operated. As the morning progressed, I learned what a co-op entailed as well as why it is a unique business model.

CHS President William Nelson addresses students attending NFU's College Conference on Cooperatives in Minneapolis Feb. 16.

After the mornings speakers, we visited the CHS, Inc. headquarters where we learned why CHS was unique and the various professional sectors CHS is involved in. After lunch we had the opportunity to learn about how co-ops are advancing across the world by listening to a presentation about the impact that the Minnesota National Guard had on the Zabul province in Afghanistan. Following the presentation we went to the Mill City Museum and learned about the role of grain in the formation of Minneapolis. I finished the night by sampling local cuisine.


Justin Trammel, participant at the NFU CCOC, is a graduate student from Texas who is currently an intern for the nonprofit rural community development organization, Ogallala Commons. (