Quentin Burdick Center for Cooperatives


Key Contributors

CHS Foundation
National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation, Dulles, VA

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A Vision for the Future

The idea of an NDSU center to benefit members of North Dakota cooperatives originated within the cooperatives themselves, and in October 1988, the Joint Cooperative Education Committee endorsed the concept. The Committee stated that such a center would be "a major step towards educating young people about cooperatives and preparing them for cooperatives careers." The effort to develop a Center for Cooperatives at NDSU was in response to those grassroots initiatives. The creation of the Quentin N. Burdick Center for Cooperatives was approved by the North Dakota Board of Higher Education in October 1992.


  • Conduct, promote, and coordinate university education and research on cooperatives
  • Strengthen cooperatives' operation
  • Work toward expanding employment and economic opportunities through cooperatives



The Quentin Burdick Center for Cooperatives operates through four primary components:

  • education including academic and executive
  • research including academic/public and specific/confidential
  • outreach/communication
  • coordination/cooperation



Education - Academics continues to be a key component of the Center today as it was when it was founded in 1992. In an effort to "create a pool of university graduates who thoroughly understand cooperative philosophy, principles, and management strategies," Dr. Gregory McKee has been instrumental in teaching the NDSU cooperatives courses, creating modules to be used in other agribusiness and business courses, and assisting other colleges and universities to introduce courses or modules on cooperatives.

Research - Research is critical to the understanding, development, and success of cooperatives. The Center has been conducive to providing research for the academic/public arena, as well as specific/confidential. This diversity allows the Center to be responsive to the real needs of both traditional and new processing cooperatives in the region, as well as meeting the needs of specific cooperatives.

Outreach/Communication - Although outreach activities were not explicitly mentioned as a primary goal of the Center in its early stages, it became apparent that these activities were vital to fulfilling the educational and research goals originally established for the Quentin Burdick Center for Cooperatives. Participation in conferences, extension educator trainings, Marketplace, etc. qualify as outreach activities. Outreach is consistent with the role of a land grant university and a logical extension of the educational and research goals of the Center.

Coordination/Cooperation - Each of the goals and activities of the Center needs to be coordinated with other organizations and agencies in the region. The Center needs to be able to provide leadership in some situations, while playing a supportive role in other circumstances. This role extends to both educational services and research activities.  Continued attendance and participation in state association and annual cooperative meetings, and regional and national conferences is a part of this role.

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