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  • Hall of Fame

Rod Nilsestuen

Inducted: 2003

Rod Nilsestuen is a true statesman whose deep commitment to cooperatives and the people who own them is legendary. He has advocated self-help cooperation as a way for ordinary people to address their needs, and has worked to build a sustainable infrastructure for co-op development, education and innovation across the country. A visionary, Nilsestuen was the founding chair of the National Rural Cooperative Development Task Force, resulting in a major federal investment in cooperative development and the creation of hundreds of co-op development projects in our nation's communities. He also chaired the National Cooperative Business Association, and held leadership posts on many national and regional cooperative, government and university bodies. Nilsestuen served as President and CEO of the Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives for 24 years, building it into one of the most respected cooperative trade associations in the nation. His efforts brought all Wisconsin co-op sectors together to produce a strong, unified voice, and created a two-state alliance with the Minnesota Association of Cooperatives. He also strengthened the Midwest co-op community by spearheading the unification of WFC and the Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association, and by helping to create the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Cooperative Development Services, and the Midwest Dairy Marketing Initiative

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