MCDC Awarded Grant to Host Second Year of Cooperative Impact Weeks

By Guy Gregory
MCDC Communications Specialist

The CHS Foundation has awarded the Montana Cooperative Development Center (MCDC) a second $25,000 Cooperative Education Grant, funded by charitable gifts from CHS Inc.  The grant will help fund another year of the Montana Cooperative Impact Project, a program administered by MCDC and supported by both the Montana Farmers Union and the Montana Council of Cooperatives.

Scot Brown, manager of Member Services at Mccone Electric Co-Op spoke to Circle High School students about co-ops during the first Montana Cooperative Impact Week last Fall in Eastern Montana.

The recently awarded grant will continue to fund another round of week-long education programs that aim to build awareness of the cooperative business model among the next generation of co-op leaders across rural Montana. MCDC will continue to rely on partnerships with Montana State University Extension, economic development offices, and cooperatives throughout the state to build on the success of the program that began in 2017.  So far, the program has reached youth in several different regions of the state, to include Eastern Montana and the Bitterroot Valley.  More Cooperative Impact Week events will be scheduled when the new school year begins this fall for other counties and regions in the state.

Wolf Point High School students watch a video from the “Montana Co-ops 101” Educational Series during Northeastern Montana’s Cooperative Impact Week this Spring.

Over the past year, Montana Cooperative Impact Weeks have informed students and young adult leaders how cooperatives have contributed to the economic stability of their rural communities.  The project has also generated interest among youth in considering careers in cooperative businesses.  Events have also informed and inspired community and economic development leaders about the growing influence of cooperative businesses in their regions.

Dr. George Haynes in the MSU Agricultural Economics Department serves as the primary academic advisor to the project.

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