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New Center for Cooperatives in Piketon

Ohio’s agribusiness community, agricultural cooperatives and students in The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) will have greater access to research, educational opportunities and technical expertise through a new, college-wide Center for Cooperatives.

The center, with staff based at CFAES’s Ohio State University South Centers in Piketon, will have a faculty presence on the Columbus campus. It will integrate the college’s current activities and operations that support cooperative business development, will engage directly with long-established cooperatives, and will provide education both in the classroom and through CFAES’s Ohio State University 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,” said Tom Worley, OSU South Centers director. “We are pleased to be well positioned to serve the cooperatives community in Ohio through the combined faculty and staff resources of the center.”

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.

About 40 guests including CFAES faculty, cooperative leaders, and state and federal government representatives attended a reception celebrating the new center Oct. 18 in Columbus. In addition, Debbie Rausch from the Ohio office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program announced that CFAES has been awarded a Rural Cooperative Development Grant totaling nearly $200,000 to improve rural areas of Ohio and West Virginia through the development of cooperatives and other mutually owned businesses.

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