ARLINGTON, VA – Cooperation between humans and pooling resources is nothing new. Agriculture cooperatives trace their roots in this country back to 1914, with the first rice co-op hitting the scene just six years later. But few would claim the world of rice looks today as it did 100 years ago. Some challenges remain and always will, but others could not even have been imagined back then. And more unknowns lay ahead, which is why USA Rice has just added an important breakout session on co-ops to the USA Rice Outlook Conference schedule.
“We’ll be asking vital questions, ‘what does the future hold for rice co-ops?’ and ‘how does a shifting industry change the value proposition for members?’” said Charley Mathews, Jr. who is chair of both USA Rice and California’s Farmers Rice Cooperative. “The influence co-ops have on the U.S. rice industry is obviously significant, so even if you aren’t a member of one, this session is going to be of interest to you.”
Panelists for the session include Dr. Michael Boland, Koller Professor of agribusiness management at the University of Minnesota, and Chuck Conner, president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.
Boland has been studying co-ops extensively for several years and sees a bright future, but thinks co-ops, especially their Boards of Directors, need to stay on top of their game in order to be a surviving cooperative and compete.
You would be hard pressed to find a more aggressive advocate for ag co-ops than Conner, who fought hard for co-ops to come out stronger or at least unmarred by the 2017 tax law changes from the Trump Administration.
The session, “Rice Co-ops of the Future: A Changing Value Proposition for A Changing
Industry,” will take place Monday, December 9, at 2:00 pm and is sponsored by Farmers Rice Cooperative, Producers’ Rice Mill, and Riceland Foods.
Registration for the USA Rice Outlook Conference is ongoing with early bird rates ending next week. Go to www.usarice.com/outlook
to learn more and to register.