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2015 Inductees for Cooperative Hall of Fame Announced

WASHINGTON, DC (Oct 1. 2014) - Four outstanding cooperative leaders will receive the cooperative community’s highest honor on Wednesday, May 6, 2015, when they are inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame.

The inductees are consumer cooperative advocate and educator Ann Hoyt, retired professor and department chair of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Consumer Science; cooperative agri-business leader Daniel T. Kelley, former GROWMARK, Inc. board chair; cooperative educator William J. Nelson, vice president of Corporate Citizenship and president of the CHS Foundation; and cooperative development strategist Judy Ziewacz, former executive director of the Cooperative Development Foundation.

These cooperative leaders will be recognized at the annual Cooperative Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on the evening of May 6, 2015.  In conjunction with the ceremony, a public forum on cooperative development and leadership will be held in the afternoon.

“Induction into the Cooperative Hall of Fame is reserved for those who have made genuinely heroic contributions to the cooperative community.  The 2015 Inductees join a host of extraordinary Hall of Fame members who have significantly contributed to the advancement of the cooperative movement,” said Gasper Kovach, Jr., board chair of the Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF), which administers the Hall of Fame.

Ann Hoyt, retired professor and department chair of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Consumer Science, Madison, WI

Hoyt, an internationally known expert on cooperatives, began her distinguished career in the 1960s as a member of the Berkley Consumer Food Co-op. Her academic interest in cooperatives took root in graduate school at University of California at Davis, where her Master’s Thesis focused on the Consumer Cooperative of Sacramento.

Hoyt was elected to the board of the National Cooperative Bank in 1982. In 1985 she joined the University of Wisconsin at Madison’s Department of Consumer Science and the UW Center for Cooperatives. In 1992 she began serving on the board of the National Cooperative Business Association where she served as chair from 2004 – 2006.  In 1994 she was elected to the board of the University of Wisconsin Credit Union where she served as chair from 1996 to 2005.

Always active in the national food cooperatives, Ann began her 25 year directorship of the annual Consumer Cooperative Management Association (CCMA) in 1988. Her love of teaching led to work in board education and governance, and the launch of an intensive education program for food cooperative managers, the Cooperative Management Institute (CMI). She has trained several thousand cooperative and non-profit directors and managers throughout the country and is the creator of a video-based director training program for cooperatives.  Hoyt is the recipient of the 2014 Cooperative Service Award from CCMA and the Howard Bowers Fund.

Daniel T. Kelley, former GROWMARK, Inc. board chair, McLean County, IL

An authentic leader and champion of cooperative development, Kelley spent more than three decades serving the cooperative sector. Most recently, he retired as board chairman and president of the agriculture supply cooperative GROWMARK, Inc. Kelley’s roots in the cooperative movement began in 1970 when, as a full-time farmer, he joined his local cooperative, Evergreen FS. He later served as president of the organization from 1985 to 2008.

A tireless champion of new ideas and innovation, Kelley is widely credited for shaping GROWMARK, Inc. into the organization it is today. AgriVisor, a grain and livestock marketing analysis and brokerage service, was initiated during his tenure. A joint venture between GROWMARK and Illinois Farm Bureau, the venture has since expanded to serve Farm Bureaus in Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri and Ohio.

In the 1980s, Kelley shouldered efforts to reform the Farm Credit Banks, creating a foundation for success that co-ops, the Farm Credit System, its member-owners and rural communities enjoy today. Over his career Kelly has served on many cooperative boards.  He is currently on the board of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, CoBank and Illinois Agriculture Leadership Foundation, which he chairs.

William J. Nelson, vice president of Corporate Citizenship and president of the CHS Foundation, Inver Grove Heights, MN

William Nelson’s involvement in cooperative education began in the 1970s while serving as community education director for the Minneapolis public school system, focusing on connecting urban and rural schools around food and hunger issues. In this role, Nelson was first introduced to a new wave of food cooperatives in the Twin Cities. Nelson went on to spend 13 years at the University of Minnesota-Waseca, teaching courses on cooperatives, agriculture, entrepreneurship and leadership.

In 1992, Nelson joined CHS Inc. to revitalize its cooperative education grants program. Now in its 22nd year, the program continues to support a variety of projects that enhance the understanding of cooperative business. Today the program works closely in conjunction with the newly established CHS Center for Cooperative Growth. In his current position, Nelson provides leadership to CHS Stewardship activities, including support of universities, rural leadership development, and cooperative education and agriculture safety programs. Nelson has been instrumental in developing the CHS University Initiative on Cooperative Education, a program that increases the understanding of the cooperative business model through education, development and practical experience.

Nelson is a founding member and director for the Ralph K. Morris Foundation. He has also brought stable leadership and financial support to the Association of Cooperative Educators. And through his long tenure as president of The Cooperative Foundation, Nelson helped expand support for cooperative development, extension, education and research.  Nelson also serves on the National Council on Farmer Cooperatives’ executive education committee, as well as the board of directors for the National Cooperative Business Association and the Farm Foundation.

Judy Ziewacz, former executive director, Cooperative Development Foundation, Monona, WI

For more than 35 years, Ziewacz has championed cooperative development. An early career in politics saw her, at age 26, named the youngest female chief of staff on Capitol Hill. Working for Representative Al Baldus, Ziewacz became well versed in rural development, agriculture, and farm credit, including the myriad cooperative enterprises that support them.

She later worked as chief lobbyist for Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives, where she played a key role in advancing legislation to foster cooperative growth and helped propel passage of major revisions to Wisconsin’s co-op statute.  In 1985, she was instrumental in launching the nation’s first statewide co-op development center—the Wisconsin Cooperative Development Council, now known as Cooperative Development Services.

Ziewacz was a driving force behind the creation of favorable federal policy for dairy co-ops and the establishment and funding of the Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) Program in the 1990 Farm Bill.  In 1996, she became the executive director of the Cooperative Development Foundation and later led the application process to secure DotCoop as a new top-level Internet domain for use by the international cooperative community.  Ziewacz currently serves on the boards of the National Cooperative Bank and Capital Impact Partners, and chairs the cooperative development committees of both organizations. Her clear vision, strategic thinking and acumen for consensus building have enriched the cooperative community.

The Cooperative Hall of Fame is administered by the Cooperative Development Foundation, the 501 (c) (3) non-profit affiliate of the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA). Nominations are received annually from across the cooperative community, with the final selection made by the NCBA CLUSA Board of Directors on the recommendations of a selection committee of national cooperative leaders. The Cooperative Hall of Fame gallery is on display at NCBA CLUSA headquarters in Washington, D.C., and can also be viewed online at

For attendance and sponsorship information, call CDF Events Coordinator Cassandra Durand at (202) 383-5445 or email

The Cooperative Development Foundation ( is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization committed to advancing economic and community development through innovative cooperative enterprise.

The National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International is the apex association for cooperative businesses in the U.S. and an international development organization with a $250 million five-year portfolio in 16 countries. NCBA CLUSA provides cross-sector education, support and advocacy to help co-ops thrive.

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