Bob Bergland has touched numerous lives with his contributions
to cooperatives throughout his lifetime. Bergland served as vice president and
general manager of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association for ten
years, where he was an exceptional leader and consistently displayed his commitment
to the cooperative movement in everything he did. He also used his extraordinary
leadership abilities to rally rural Americans and cooperative leaders to defeat
legislative initiatives in the 1980s that threatened the rural electric program.
Bergland has long been a powerful force and an eloquent
voice for cooperatives. He was elected to Congress in 1970 and became chairman
of the subcommittee on Conservation, Credit and Rural Development. Here he quickly
established himself as a progressive supporter of cooperatives, and effectively
educated his colleagues about the key roles of cooperatives in rural U.S. communities.
Considered a national spokesman for rural America, Bergland was selected by President
Jimmy Carter to be Secretary of Agriculture in 1977. As Secretary, he again stressed
the need for rural development programs via cooperatives.
Bergland has devoted his life to building cooperatives
and promoting the cooperative philosophy. He has been a patron, local leader,
national leader and spokesman, teacher, and political philosopher -- all in the
interest of improving peoples' lives and the fabric of their communities through