RCDG grant helps fund new center for cooperatives at Ohio State University

Written by Ohio Farmer/NCBA CLUSA

The new Ohio Center for Cooperatives will support rural economic development in the region. The new Ohio Center for Cooperatives will support rural economic development in the region. The new Ohio Center for Cooperatives will support rural economic development in the region. Ohio’s agribusiness community, agricultural cooperatives and students in Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will have greater access to research, educational opportunities and technical expertise through the new Ohio Center for Cooperatives.

The center is a first step toward improving rural areas of Ohio and West Virginia through cooperative development funded, in part, by a nearly $200,000 Rural Cooperative Development Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Rural Development program.

With staff based at CFAES’s OSU South Centers in Piketon, the center will have a faculty presence on the Columbus campus. It will integrate the college’s current activities and operations that support cooperative business development, engage directly with long-established cooperatives, and provide education both in the classroom and through CFAES’s OSU Extension program and other outreach activities.

“The CFAES Center for Cooperatives is expected to be comprehensive and bring together all three mission areas of the college—teaching, research and Extension,” OSU South Centers Director Tom Worley said.

“We are pleased to be well positioned to serve the cooperative community in Ohio through the combined faculty and staff resources of the center,” he added.

Worley will oversee the center, with Ani Katchova, associate professor and farm income enhancement chair in CFAES, leading its research programs. Hannah Scott, program manager at the South Centers, will lead the new center’s Extension and outreach activities.

Programming for the center will occur within all major CFAES mission areas, with a goal of extending knowledge to emerging and established agricultural cooperatives in Ohio and supporting rural economic development. The center will also provide future agricultural professionals with interdisciplinary training and research opportunities.