Co-op Impact conference to open with Champion award

Bette Brand, who works on a government support programme for rural co-ops, will be honoured in Washington DC

Bette Brand, who runs a US government programme to support rural co-ops, is to receive a national award for her service to the movement.

The administrator of the Rural Business-Co-operative Service at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Ms Brand is the second recipient of NCBA Clusa’s Co-operative Impact Champion Award.

It will be presented on 2 October, at the opening reception of the 2019 Co-op Impact Conference, by NCBA Clusa president and CEO Doug O’Brie. The event takes place at the Washington DC flagship store of outdoor gear specialist REI Co-op. 

The Co-operative Impact Champion Award is given to individuals in public service who work tirelessly to create an environment in public policy and legislation that allows co-operative businesses to grow and thrive.

NCBA Clusa praised Ms Brand for her wide-ranging experience promoting rural communities and the co-operatives that help them thrive. Since joining USDA in January 2018, she has prioritised increasing rural America’s access to capital, investing in innovative technology and helping businesses create jobs.

Prior to USDA, she spent 35 years with Farm Credit of the Virginias, where she most recently served as chief advocate for the agriculture industry and rural businesses. In this role, she supported producers at state and national level, and educated policymakers and consumers on agriculture.

“For hundreds of years, the co-operative business model has helped communities provide the goods and services they need, especially in rural America,” said Ms Brand.

“Today, more than ever, this business model offers the structure to provide economies of scale, a stronger voice, and the collective ingenuity and resources to empower member-owners and realise economic opportunities in the marketplace.”

All Impact Conference attendees are invited to attend the event. The conference takes place from 2-4 October at the Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel, Arlington, Virginia.

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