Nebraska Farmers and NU Athletics Join Forces

The benefits of accountability, ingenuity and integrity are displayed daily by Nebraska farmers and athletes.

On the field or in the fields, Nebraska athletes and farmers share values, a bond and a commitment to hard work, statewide pride and national leadership.

That's why Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne on Friday announced the creation of Cornhusker Co-Op – a new fundraising partnership between Nebraska Athletics and farmers.

“Working together, we think we can take our athletic department to a higher level,” Osborne said, “There's a healthy respect for what athletes and farmers are required to do every year to be successful, so we believe with some teamwork and some trust, we can produce a partnership that will be truly unique.”

With agreements between Nebraska Athletics and large grain elevators in Aurora, Dorchester, Hastings, York and other local elevators that will be announced, managers are authorized to designate portions of a farmer's grain yield as a donation to Nebraska's Athletic Department.

The key to making the arrangement work is important to all athletic and agricultural success – keeping things fairly simple and fundamentally sound.

“Cornhusker Co-Op is designed to be successful largely because it represents the character and the word of everyone involved,” Nebraska Development Officer Mike Dobbs said. “The system is so simple, the only thing the local farmer needs after driving up to the local grain elevator is to designate what portion of that particular harvest will go to Nebraska Athletics.”

Using an existing account at a trusted business makes contributing to Nebraska Athletics hassle-free, according to Dobbs, who is working with Co-Ops and farmers to broaden the program across the state.

“We appreciate the support from Nebraska farmers,” Dobbs said, “and we've earmarked various forms of recognition from the Athletic Department to give something back – from decals and special hats to facility tours and picnics. We see this partnership as an extension to our athletic family.”

In addition to most Nebraska farmers anticipating a record crop in 2010, Husker athletic teams have set their sights on lofty achievements.

Dobbs sees a certain irony to the likelihood of an early harvest of bountiful Nebraska crops at the same time the Huskers begin their journeys to their ultimate destinations – conference or national championships.

“We hope that farmers who share parts of their good fortune with Nebraska Athletics will encourage and rally others to contribute to the same cause,” Dobbs said. “Nebraska Athletics, in turn, will prosper and recognize the farmers who show their unity and support.”

In his roles as a head football coach, U.S. Congressman and now as Nebraska's athletic director, Osborne never has been surprised at what his home state can accomplish when it has a vision and works with others to meet its goals.

“Nebraska farmers have a great work ethic and ingenuity,” Osborne said. “They've always shown why our athletic teams represent Nebraska values more than we represent anything else, so I'm looking forward to growing our future together. I see our farmers across this state as solid partners as we take on new challenges and set new goals.”

Farmers interested in participating in Cornhusker Co-Op can contact the Nebraska Athletic Development Office (402-472-2367).