Ralph Hofstad is noted nationally and internationally for his visionary commitment to cooperative development. For more than 40 years he devoted his energies to building and enhancing the value of cooperatives to farmer-members throughout the Midwest. He began his career at the Illinois Farm Supply Company (now GROWMARK) and in 1965 was appointed president of the Farmer's Regional Cooperative (FELCO). Following the 1970 merger of FELCO and Land O'Lakes, he became head of Agricultural Service for the combined organization and then served as president and CEO from 1974 until his retirement in 1989.
As a food and agricultural business executive, he has earned the respect of leaders throughout the world for his far-sighted commitment to economic development of all people, the strengthening of world trade opportunities for U.S. farmers, and his emphasis and encouragement of cooperation among cooperatives worldwide. Throughout his career, his belief in cooperatives and wholehearted support for their aims and purposes was always evident. In retirement, he continues to espouse and encourage striving toward a new cooperative horizon, urging all cooperatives to embrace the future and excel.