Jeffrey Lakner of South Dakota Wheat Growers Honored as NCFC Director of the Year

Washington, D.C. (February 14, 2011)—The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) has awarded its prestigious Director of the Year award Jeffrey Lakner, a farmer director serving on the board of South Dakota Wheat Growers, a co-op member of NCFC.

Lakner has been a member of the Wheat Growers board for 6 years, and farms 2500 acres of corn, soybeans and hay in Wessington, S.D. He is a 4th generation farmer who has farmed for nearly 30 years.

“I would like to congratulate Jeff on his achievement. He has provided the Wheat Growers board with outstanding leadership and foresight, and has shown a strong commitment to the wider farmer cooperative community and in promoting the co-op model,” said NCFC President and CEO Chuck Conner.

The Farmer Cooperative Director of the Year Award was established to recognize the outstanding achievements of a farmer cooperative director who takes the lead to help their board of directors make decisions vital to their cooperative.

Farmer Cooperative Director of the Year nominees were examined by a panel of judges representing the NCFC members and outside experts.  In selecting the winners, judges looked at four broad criteria: how well the nominee understands his cooperative; the ability to provide leadership and be a team player; the possession of good business judgment; and the ability to communicate effectively.

To honor award winners, the NCFC Foundation provides a $5,000 donation to the scholarship fund of a land grant university chosen by the winner. Lakner indicated that he would like the donation to go to South Dakota State University, where he is also a resource and guest lecturer in its economics department class on co-ops.

The award was presented on Thursday, February 10, 2011 at NCFC’s 82nd Annual Meeting, which was held at the Marriott Rivercenter Hotel in San Antonio, Texas.

About NCFC

Since 1929, NCFC has been the voice of America’s farmer cooperatives.  Our members are regional and national farmer cooperatives, which are in turn composed of nearly 3,000 local farmer cooperatives across the country.  NCFC members also include 26 state and regional councils of cooperatives.  Farmer cooperatives allow individual farmers the ability to own and lead organizations that are essential for continued competitiveness in both the domestic and international markets.

America’s farmer-owned cooperatives provide a comprehensive array of services for their members.  These diverse organizations handle, process and market virtually every type of agricultural commodity.  They also provide farmers with access to infrastructure necessary to manufacture, distribute and sell a variety of farm inputs.  Additionally, they provide credit and related financial services, including export financing.

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