News Release

Seniors Johnson and Jacobson Learn the Value of Cooperatives at Annual NFU College Conference

By Elizabeth Tollefson on
Friday, March 1, 2019

Two University of Minnesota Crookston students, Amber Johnson, and Lacy Jacobson, as well as their instructor Charles Lariviere, attended the National Farmers Union (NFU) annual College Conference on Cooperatives (CCOC). The three-day conference was Feb. 15-17, 2019, and it hosted 71 students from across the nation in Minneapolis, Minn. The conference showcased an interactive learning experience for agriculture students that focused on the importance, structure, and operations of various types of cooperative groups.Lacy Jacobson and Amber Johnson

The students visited a wide range of cooperatives from a Food Co-op, Valley View Senior Housing Co-op, Riverton Housing Co-op, and REI, as well as the Mill City Museum, a river-front museum built into the ruins of what was once the world’s largest flour mill.

Johnson said, “We were able to learn about and to tour hands-on applications of cooperative business principles and structures. The tours really highlighted the opportunities that are available when companies utilize the cooperative model.”  

Attendees were also able to listen to and ask questions of a panel of local farmers from traditional and value-added agricultural cooperatives, housing and worker-owned co-ops, and consumer cooperatives. Other speakers included William Nelson, former president of CHS Foundation, and Nanci Lilja, current president of CHS Foundation. 

Jacobson also found value in the networking opportunities that were a part of the conference. She said, “Being able to network with and build connections with people from across the country that are in the same career field as you is extremely important when starting to build a professional resume.”  

About UMN Crookston

One of five campuses that comprise the University of Minnesota System, the University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 35 bachelor's degree programs and 25 minors on campus as well as 16 degree programs entirely online. These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. Visit

About UMN

The University of Minnesota System, with campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester, and the Twin Cities, is driven by a singular vision of excellence. We are proud of our land-grant mission of world-class education, groundbreaking research, and community-engaged outreach, and we are unified in our drive to serve Minnesota.

In the photo: Jacobson (left) and Johnson listen intently during a discussion about the idea of creating new cooperative opportunities back home in their communities. 


Cassandra Morthera

University Relations