2025 College Conference
on Cooperatives 
2025 Dates to be Announced - Minneapolis, MN
The College Conference on Cooperatives (CCOC) is National Farmers Union's premier cooperative education event, bringing together students and young adults from across the country for cooperative education sessions and co-op tours around the Twin Cities. CCOC provides students the opportunity to gain a basic understanding of cooperative business economics, become advocates for cooperative business models, and learn about career opportunities within cooperatives.

Interactive workshops allow participants to collaboratively work through problems that co-op boards often face, and a day of Twin Cities co-op tours offer real world examples of the unique realities of co-ops.

Registration is $85. This cost includes shared lodging, most meals, and tour activities.
Embassy Suites by Hilton Bloomington / Minneapolis
2800 American Blvd W, Bloomington, MN 55431
TBC 2025
Many of our student participants attend this conference with their teachers as part of a class curriculum. If you are an educator interested in attending for the first time, please reach out to Lisa Buckner for more information: [email protected]
2024 Recap
Thursday, February 15
4:00 pm
Registration and Room Key Pick-up
The registration table will open at 4:00pm for you to pick up your conference materials and room keys 
6:00 pm
Pre-Conference Pizza Social
Friday, February 16
7:00 am
Breakfast Buffet
8:00 am
Conference Kick-off
Welcome to CCOC! National Farmers Union staff will kick off the conference with introductions and interactive activities to encourage you to get to know fellow attendees
8:30 am
Co-ops 101
What is a cooperative, anyway? This 101 session will give participants a foundation of co-op knowledge - from the Rochdale Principles to the beginning of the co-op movement in the United States - and explain what exactly makes a co-op different than any other business structure. Presented by Victoria Clark-West - Executive Director, Northcountry Cooperative Foundation.
9:45 am
Panel Discussion: Cooperation in Agriculture and Beyond
Sai Thao - Sr. Lending Specialist, Compeer Financial (Farm Credit)
Elizabeth McMullen - Public Relations Specialist, Organic Valley
Pamela Standing - Co-Executive Director, Minnesota Indigenous Business Alliance
11:00 am
Decision-Making in Cooperatives: How Would You Act?
In this interactive workshop, attendees will take on the personas of newly-elected co-op board members as they work to answer the tough questions that co-op boards are often tasked with answering.
Presented by Dr. Todd Schmit - Professor, Cornell Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
12:00 pm
Louis Doering Keynote Luncheon
Hosted by the Ralph K. Morris Foundation, in conjunction with CoMinnesota. Conference attendees will be joined by members of CoMinnesota, Minnesota's cooperative community, for the keynote luncheon featuring Brad Schloesser - Executive Director of the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership Program (MARL). 
2:15 pm
Should We Cooperate? When to Form a Cooperative
When and how do you know if a cooperative is the answer for your community's needs? And if it is, how exactly do you go about starting one? Presented by:
Katie Marty - Cooperative Director and Consultant, Collectivity
Tom Worley - Director, CFAES Center for Cooperatives, Ohio State University
3:30 pm
Panel Discussion: Co-op Careers
What kind of careers may await you within the world of co-ops? More than you might realize - this diverse panel will give you an idea.
Heidi Traore - Supplier Relationship Development Manager, National Co-op Grocers
Alexis Woodhouse - Sr. Specialist, Publications and Operations, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Margaret Bau - Cooperative Development Specialist, USDA Rural Development
Natasha Mortenson - Minnesota FFA Career Development and Alumni Coordinator
5:00 pm
Twin Cities Night Out
Busses will take interested participants to the Mall of America for a night out with your fellow conference attendees!
Saturday, February 17
Full Day of Twin Cities co-op tours
4:30 pm
Dinner and a Show!
It's time for our Conference Night Out! We'll load the buses at 4:30pm and will travel to Old Log Theatre in Exelsior, MN for a dinner at Cast & Cru before a 7:30pm showing of Million Dollar Quartet, a Tony Award winning musical about the extraordinary twist of fate that brought Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins together at Sun Records.
Sunday, February 18
8:00 am
Breakfast Buffet
9:00 am
Leadership Training
What does leadership look like to you? This interactive leadership training will get you thinking about all of the ways you can be involved in your community, and how you might lead the way. Presented by Chuck Lariviere - Professor of Ag Business, University of Minnesota, Crookston
10:15 am
Check out of hotel
A short break to allow you to check out of your hotel rooms and load your bus/cars.
10:45 am
Co-opportunities: What's out there for me?
Hear from National Farmers Union staff about the next steps you can take to advance your participation in cooperatives, and what other opportunities Farmers Union has to offer
11:15 am
Conference Wrap Up: So, how did that turn out?
Wrap up the conference with a reflection on lessons learned. Lead by William Nelson, Chair of the Ralph K. Morris Foundation Board
12:00 pm
Boxed Lunch and Farewell
“I liked that this conference had non-stop relevant experiences and information. As someone who was not knowledgeable about co-ops beforehand, I appreciate the diversity in perspective given. I also greatly enjoyed getting to know the attendees of the conference.”
"I enjoyed visiting the cooperatives in the community on Saturday because they were all types of cooperatives that I had never had much experience with or given much thought about. It proved to me that the cooperative way can be implemented for most any business."
See some of the cooperatives National Farmers Union has worked with in the past for our College Conference on Cooperatives in this behind-the-scenes video

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