Co-ops invited to celebrate, collaborate at Co-operate 2021 event


The sixth cooperative principle, cooperation among cooperatives, is the inspiration for Co-operate 2021: Leveraging the Cooperative Advantage, an event planned for Nov. 16 and 17, 2021, at the Bismarck State College National Energy Center of Excellence in Bismarck, North Dakota. Hosted by the Quentin Burdick Center for Cooperatives (QBCC) and the North Dakota Coordinating Council of Cooperatives (NDCCC), Co-operate 2021 aims to celebrate, collaborate, and expand the impact of cooperatives by re-energizing the value proposition of the cooperative business model.

“The event will bring co-op directors, employees, and members together for two days of resource sharing, networking, and learning,” says QBCC Director Frayne Olson. “Ag, energy, food, and financial cooperatives are encouraged to join us as we connect, learn, and challenge our visions for the future.”

Attendees will hear from speakers on a variety of topics, including disruptive technology, strategic planning, and the value of the cooperative business model. Presentations include:

  • Cooperation among Cooperatives. This panel discussion will feature leaders from cooperatives across the state.
  • North Dakota’s natural resources for a carbon-managed world. John Harju, vice president for strategic partnerships at the Energy and Environmental Research Center, will explain carbon capture technology and discuss the opportunities it presents.
  • Considering carbon. David Ripplinger, assistant professor of the Agribusiness and Applied Economics department at North Dakota State University, will discuss the impact carbon capture technology will have on North Dakota.
  • Your strategic future: Employing your cooperative genius. Michael Cook, Robert D. Partridge endowed professor in cooperative leadership at the University of Missouri-Columbia and executive director of the Graduate Institute of Cooperative Leadership, will discuss the dynamic processes that have led to cooperative success and how they can be used for strategic planning, board development and member training.
  • Blockchain: What you need to know. Shel Holtz, director of internal communications at Webcor will explain what blockchain is and share examples of how it will affect business and communications.
  • Off balance on purpose. Dan Thurmon, keynote speaker and author, will teach attendees how to adopt an “Off balance on purpose” approach as a realistic and empowering way to excel at work and life.

The event begins with a networking luncheon on Nov. 16 and concludes at noon on Nov. 17.

Event registration is now open. For more information, including speaker biographies and presentation summaries, or to register, visit

This event is possible thanks to the support and generous contribution of sponsors, including CoBank, North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives, Basin Electric, North Dakota Farmers Union, Farm Credit Services of North Dakota, Farm Credit Services of Mandan, AgCountry, Minnkota Power Cooperative, Broadband Association of North Dakota, Farmers Union Insurance, and CHS.

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