Orville L. Freeman
Orville L. Freeman has been a dynamic force in cooperatives in the United States for more than 40 years. Freeman served for three terms as Governor of Minnesota, and served as Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture from 1961 to 1969. As Governor, Freeman worked endlessly to develop cooperatives in Minnesota, and was a pioneer in proclaiming October a Co-op Month. As Secretary, he was determined to make cooperative development a priority for the entire Department. He urged Congress to increase substantially its commitment to cooperative development, and was responsible for it’s more than doubling the Farmer Cooperative Service budget between fiscal 1968 and 1970. He also prevailed on President Johnson to tape a Co-op Month message for radio broadcast.
Since then, Freeman has served on many boards and committees in leadership positions, including the Presidential Commission of Public Affairs, Agriculture Council of America, and the United Nations Association. In these positions, as well as in his work as president of Business International and as a lawyer, he has always been a strong advocate for cooperatives. As a political and agricultural leader, he has been respected for the breadth of his understanding, pragmatism, and courage in promoting ways to develop sustainable agriculture worldwide and alleviate hunger.