Cooperative Value

Oct 02, 2018

David Van Scharrel

Full Circle Ag Board Chairman

I had the opportunity to attend the South Dakota Association of Cooperatives Annual Conference last week. They had a number of speakers on a variety of issues facing farmers and the coops that serve them. The issues ranged from the new South Dakota Data Breach Law and the use of social media in our business to merger lessons and developing leadership opportunities for women. We also had a Washington, DC update from Chuck Conners, the CEO of the National Council for Farm Cooperatives.

SDAC was celebrating its 75th anniversary at the conference and also had its 2018 Co-op Hall of Fame Banquet. The 2018 inductees were Dale Locken of Aberdeen and Kermit Pearson of Britton.

The main thing I came away with was a renewed passion for the cooperative model of doing business where the decisions and long term investments are made locally for the benefit of the patron/owners and not the next quarterly report results. Agriculture has always been a cyclical business. There have been a lot of highs and lows in the last 75 years and there will be in the future also. E-commerce and the effect social media has on policies in Washington, DC, as well as the prices for agricultural commodities, appear to be our current challenges. Who knows what the future challenges will be------but we can face them better with the cooperative way of doing business.

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