CENET News, Association of Cooperative Educators
My name is Kyle Hellman; I am an incoming junior at The Ohio State University studying AgBusiness with a minor in Agronomy. Growing up farming was my first love and first passion. I grew up on a family farm where my father and I farm around 1,000 acres of corn and soybeans and also sell Pioneer seed. Most of my childhood memories involve riding in tractors with my dad or playing in the basement with my toy tractors. That love for agriculture brought me to Ohio State where I am majoring in AgBusiness. I was interested in coming to Ohio State because I knew of their excellent Ag program and it has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid to go to Ohio State. I am also a huge buckeyes fan which just makes my experience at Ohio State even better. I have loved every second of being a buckeye and am excited to see what these next two years will bring.
On our family farm we are members of two cooperatives, Farm credit and Jennings Gomer Equity which is an elevator in my hometown. Other than knowing about those two cooperatives and a few others around my hometown, I did not really know much about Co-ops. That is why I took the Co-op class at Ohio State, AEDE 3141. At the end of the semester, our class was presented with a job opportunity through the CFAES center for coops. Because I found the class interesting and it was an opportunity to learn more about cooperatives, I decided to apply. I was offered the position and I am enjoying working with them. I am a student assistant for the CFAES center for coops at OSU’s South Centers. I am helping create a directory of professional cooperative service providers in Ohio and West Virginia.
Determining a price for farm products that attracts consumers and creates profits for producers can be a challenge. A three-part Farming 101 series of articles in Farm & Dairy Newspaper helps farmers calculate costs, conduct price research and implement a price strategy to increase farm sales and revenue.
Today, cooperators everywhere celebrate the International Day of Cooperatives. The United Nations established the holiday to recognize co-ops’ contributions to society, culture and the economy. This year’s theme is “Sustainable Consumption and Production.” ¹ The World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainable development as “meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” ²
Cooperatives provide sustainable solutions
Cooperatives are businesses owned by the people they benefit. They exist in every major industry and are common in food and agriculture. Co-ops provide members with sustainable solutions. They help farmers gain access to larger markets, boost product quality, reduce costs and achieve greater efficiency and operational effectiveness.
Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) is owned by 14,500 farmer-members. The co-op’s sustainability program aims to improve animal and environmental health. DFA’s Gold Standard Dairy Program upholds standards set forth by the National Milk Producers Federation’s National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management Program (FARM), for animal health, nutrition, management, housing and facilities, handling and transporting. DFA offers on-farm consultations to members to identify areas where sustainable practices can benefit their operations. Members that participate in the Gold Standard Program receive tailored resources and on-going technical assistance to improve sustainability on the farm. ³
Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives (OEC) power rural communities in 77 counties. In recent years OEC has diversified their energy sources portfolio to include renewable sources such as air, wind, hydro, biomass, solar and heat recovery. The co-op promotes energy efficiency through advising, energy audits and appliance rebate incentives that reduce members’ energy expenditures and save members money. ⁴
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company is the No. 1 writer of insurance policies for farms and ranches. Nationwide works towards greater sustainability by reducing environmental waste and carbon emissions and promoting recycling. Nationwide’s green purchasing initiative works with suppliers to purchase eco-friendlier products. The company partners with voluntary government and industry programs such as Energy Star and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). ⁵
On the International Day of Cooperatives farmers everywhere tip our hats to recognize these and other cooperative businesses’ dedication to sustainable consumption and production.
*Article originally published in Farm & Dairy Newspaper
- United Nations Development. (March 3, 2018). 2018 International Day of Cooperatives. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/development/desa/cooperatives/2018/03/02/coopsday/
- United Nations General Assembly. (1987). Report of the world commission on environment and development: Our common future. Oslo, Norway: United Nations General Assembly, Development and International Co-operation: Environment.
- Dairy Farmers of America. (n.d.). Sustainability. Retrieved from http://www.dfamilk.com/our-cooperative/sustainability
- Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives. (n.d.) Efficiency. Retrieved from https://ohioec.org/oec/efficiency/
- Nationwide Insurance. (n.d.) Energy & Environment. Retrieved from https://www.nationwide.com/about-us/energy-environment.jspSTAY INFORMED
Presented by: Unlimited Future, ACEnet, Downstream Strategies, VC2, Swift Level Meats and Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI).
- Location: Huntington, WV
- Date: July 11, 2018
- Time: 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Cost: Free. Lunch is included.
Register at https://tinyurl.com/ycmgq5s6
Local. It’s one of the hottest trends in recent years. But that trend was set in communities across rural America nearly 100 years ago when the first local cooperatives opened their doors to provide the services, products and markets local farmers and ranchers needed to thrive.
Farmers build cooperatives to enhance market presence and power.
Join the Ag Action Network for cooperative development meetings:
- Moorefield, WV, June 25, 2018, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Email to register: email@example.com
- Martinsburg, WV, June 26, 2018, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Email to register: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Center for Cooperatives launched Co-op Mastery: Beyond Cooperatives 101, a new and innovative online training course designed to educate cooperative members, boards, management, employees, and students.
Co-op Mastery: Beyond Cooperatives 101 is made possible by a grant from the CHS Foundation 2017 Cooperative Education Grants Program. The training is housed in The Ohio State University’s public-facing online education platform. It is free and can be accessed online at go.osu.edu/coopmastery.
“Co-op Mastery curriculum focuses on mid-level knowledge about the cooperative business model,” said Center for Cooperatives Program Manager, Hannah Scott. “Training modules build on existing fundamental materials by providing an in-depth look at governance, finance, taxation and other areas not typically covered by courses in fundamentals, yet challenging topics for stakeholders.”
The training features eight modules which include video interviews with numerous leaders in the cooperative movement:
- Logan County Electric Cooperative General Manager Rick Petty discusses cooperative principles and various functions of cooperatives.
- Dennis Bolling retired President and CEO of United Producers Cooperative shares the benefits cooperatives provide members.
- Mid-America Cooperative Counsel Executive Director Rod Kelsay discusses effective education and training the Board of Directors.
- Ohio State Univerisity Extension Educator Dr. Chris Bruynis gives insight to key factors that contribute to a cooperative’s success.
- Nationwide’s VP of Sponsor Relations Devin Fuhrman shares the story of Nationwide’s history as a mutual cooperative company.
- Agricultural attorney Carolyn Eselgroth of Barrett, Easterday, Cunningham and Eselgroth, LLP addresses legal considerations when forming a cooperative business.
- Co-Bank Senior Relationship Manager Gary Weidenborner leads users through an interactive financial document exercise.
- David Hahn, Professor Emeritus the Ohio State University, explains cooperative taxation.
“We invite folks to ask questions and receive answers from our Center staff in the online Co-op Forum,” said Joy Bauman, Program Coordinator. “They can also browse an extensive collection of online resources in the Cooperative Library.”
The CFAES Center for Cooperatives offers customized in-person workshops to complement the online training. Workshops are designed to serve the requesting cooperative’s needs. Examples include: new employee education, board of director education, strategic plan development, cooperative marketing and policy development. Workshop participants receive a companion workbook with activities to fortify learning. They gain on-going access to Co-op Mastery online training materials, which they may work through at their own pace or search for specific information to meet immediate needs. Users can return to the Co-op Mastery online materials at any time to troubleshoot cooperative issues and they can receive ongoing technical assistance from CFAES Center for Cooperatives staff. To request a workshop or more information, visit go.osu.edu/cooperatives or contact the Center for Cooperatives at email@example.com or 740-289-2071 ext. 111.
The Center for Cooperatives Guides National Farm to Cafeteria Tours
The 2018 National Farm to Cafeteria Conference brought together educators, dieticians, foodservice staff, farmers and local food advocates from across the country in Cincinnati, Ohio in late April. Attendees discussed how Farm to School initiatives enrich their communities, strengthen the food system and boost local economies. Conference sessions shared best practices to boost local food consumption in the cafeteria and provide agriculture, food, health and nutrition education to students.
The conference featured field trips to several Ohio food and farm destinations. The CFAES Center for Cooperatives guided tours “From Garden to Food Hub” and “The Science of Local Food” at the Ohio State University South Centers.
On the conference’s final morning, twenty conference attendees boarded the bus for a 2-hour scenic trip from the conference center in Cincinnati to OSU South Centers in Piketon. They participated in the award winning food-science program “The Story of the Strawberry.” The program is a partnership between OSU Extension Pike County, OSU Horticulture and OSU Food, Nutrition and Wellness.
Attendees learned about plasticulture strawberry production and OSU researchers’ efforts to extend the Ohio harvest season from a historical 3-week strawberry harvest to a 3-month harvest window. Attendees also gained disease prevention insights from current berry nutritional research. Hands-on activities included taste tests and strawberry DNA extraction.
Next, the group got on a hay wagon for a tour of South Center’s research plots. They visited the hops yard, grape vineyard and aquaculture ponds. Attendees learned about services provided to new businesses in South Center’s unique business incubator, the 27,000-square foot Endeavor Center. The Business Team shared how they help entrepreneurs, including agricultural producers and food manufacturers, start and grow businesses in southern Ohio.
CFAES Center for Cooperatives Program Manager Hannah Scott greeted twenty-five conference goers on a sunny afternoon outside of the Duke Energy Convention Center for a tour focused on local food aggregation and distribution. Attendees visited the facilities of Our Harvest Cooperative and Ohio Valley Food Connection located in The Incubator, a commercial kitchen and food aggregation incubator in northern Kentucky, to learn about the collaboration between the two southwest Ohio food hubs to move more local food to institutions. The field trip also took attendees to Fox Tail Farm in New Richmond, Ohio, a small produce farm marketing produce like carrots and greens through a hub. Participants learned about the farm’s production techniques and the advantages the farm experiences marketing through a hub.
The unique challenges of moving locally produced food from farms to restaurants, cafeterias, and retailers have been a focus of the Center for Cooperatives since 2014 through the Ohio & West Virginia Food Hub Network and technical assistance work with food hubs. According to a recently released study from Michigan State University’s Center for Regional Food Systems and Wallace Center at Winrock International, approximately 31% of U.S. food hubs marketed products to k-12 schools in 2017. Despite challenges, food hubs can help producers access larger markets than they may be able to working on their own. In 2017, approximately 18% of food hubs in the U.S. were cooperatively owned.
Article originally published in the Spring 2018 edition of The Ohio State University South Centers Connections newsletter. The full newsletter is available at: https://southcenters.osu.edu/newsletter/connections-newsletter