2014 Scholarship Winner’s Cooperative Essays

In case you missed our post last week, we are very excited for Cooperative month. Being a part of a cooperative has many writebenefits; if you happen to be a member-borrower at MidAtlantic Farm Credit, one of those benefits includes your patronage return! Last week we also highlighted some of the excellent things our 2014 Scholarship Winners have to say about cooperatives and this week we want to continue to recognize a few more of the great essays that the winners submitted.

Note: Do you have a young scholar headed to college this year? Make sure they enter our scholarship program – we’ll award $18,000 of scholarships in April!

By: Nicholas DeGrange, 2014 Scholarship Winner from Hagerstown, Maryland

“Growing up in a rural area surrounded by farms, having family members who are dairy farmers, and watching my father repair a single piece of farm machinery that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, I am acutely aware of the exorbitant price of being a farmer. I believe there are several major benefits to agricultural cooperatives. The first benefit is that they provide loans to farmers to promote and continue the honorable profession of farming. Second, because they are self-governing, cooperatives are in the best position to understand and meet the needs of their members and everyone works together in a spirit of cooperation for the good of all. Third, as a cohesive unit, cooperatives are stronger and create more power in the marketplace than a single person or business could manage. I also feel strongly that cooperatives help protect the local economy which is being eroded and help provide quality products for buyers. The reason I believe cooperatives are not just beneficial, but essential to the future of agriculture, is because [of] their role in land stewardship. As resources continue to diminish and the cost of farming becomes more prohibitive, cooperatives are in a unique position to protect the rapidly diminishing resources necessary to maintain agricultural businesses. With all of the challenges agricultural businesses face and the tremendous sacrifice and dedication required by farmers, the financial and practical support provided by cooperatives are critical to the future success of agriculture.”

By: Morgan Alexander, 2014 Scholarship Winner from Berryville, Virginia

“Cooperatives, organizations that are owned and run jointly by its members and share in the profits and benefits by returning portions of the profits back to the membership, are beneficial to the future of agriculture. This gives members a say and ability to manage and vote for a board of directors in the organization or business, which allows them to make it better and more beneficial to their members and to the agricultural industry. In cooperatives, the members are more loyal to their organization when they are a part of the whole picture. When people group their products together to make a mass quantity, they can then turn around and sell it for more and divide the profit out evenly. This gives everyone stronger buying and selling power.”

By: Mariah Purtee, 2014 Scholarship Winner from Union Bridge, Maryland

“Keeping money circulating through the system of farmer to lender, agricultural cooperatives also provide funds to be available for farmers that may not be available from other conventional banks. Since there are such high risks in the farming business due to the uncertainty of weather condition effects on crops, many banks will refuse to give out such large loans to farmers as they fear the uncertainty of the return of the loan… Co-ops provide loans to farmers despite the many risks involved because if they did not, farmers would not be able to access the items they need for agricultural production… Farmers do an incredible amount of work for their communities and we have seen the effects of agricultural production since the beginning of civilizations. Through generations of families being entrusted by these cooperatives, loyalty as well as a strong understanding of the agricultural way has been built up between the farmers and the lenders. Farming is such an essential need in communities that if there were no cooperatives willing to loan farmers money due to the risks, there would be very little production of crops. If not for money to provide farmers with the essentials needed to produce these crops, there would be no items to be sold in markets, therefore no money made, and most importantly, no food to eat.”

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