Washington, D.C (June 22, 2010).—The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) thanked Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today for expressing his strong support for farmer cooperatives in a speech to NCFC’s 2010 Washington Conference. The Secretary’s remarks come as NCFC continues its “Farmer Co-ops: Providing for America” campaign ahead of the joint Department of Justice/USDA workshop in Madison, Wis., later this week.
“As Secretary Vilsack recognized in his speech, farmer cooperatives play an integral role in the operations of producers across the country and serve as engines of economic growth in rural America,” said NCFC President Chuck Conner. “NCFC and a number of our members will be in Madison to tell the story of how co-ops help to preserve family farms and foster competition. Without farmer co-ops, farmers would receive less money for the crops they produce, and consumers would pay more for the food that they buy.”
“At the same time, we need to answer a vocal minority who continue to be opposed on ideological and academic grounds to farmer cooperatives—apparently they don’t value a farmer’s stake in the food and agriculture system beyond the farm gate,” continued Conner. “I expect that we will hear producers give strong testimony about how co-ops are a vital part of their farms and communities, countering this viewpoint.”
This week’s workshop is being held in the Wisconsin Union Theater on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Friday, June 25. NCFC President Chuck Conner and senior staff will be in attendance and available for press interviews. NCFC will also be providing updates from the workshop on our Twitter feed, twitter.com/farmercoop.
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.