A place to grow PDF E-mail

The ground may be nearly frozen, but you can almost feel something special starting to grow just beneath the surface on Aurora’s eastern edge.
The Aurora Cooperative and The Leadership Center are both dynamic entities in their own right. They have always had similar ag-based missions to serve the next generation; one offering training to FFA students, and the other, products and services to its farmer-owners.
As of this week, the two entities now share a home base as well.
In what has been fittingly described as a win-win partnership, The Leadership Center offered a 99-year lease to the 106-year-old cooperative, which debuts its new $8 million corporate offices this week. It’s an impressive structure, built with an eye toward the future, yet anchored in a simple, rural design that befits its Hamilton County setting.
The News-Register devoted an entire 12-page special edition to this project because it represents a milestone moment in time. Fifty years from now, the next generation will look back and remember when the partnership blossomed, and we wanted to document the moment appropriately.
Two of our community’s bright and shining stars have aligned, and our guess is we’ve only just begun to get a glimpse of how their relationship will benefit each other, the host community, and more importantly, the next generation of agricultural leadership.
More than 50,000 people ventured through The Leadership Center last year, all of whom will now get a glimpse of a billion-dollar corporation. Conversely, the cooperative staff invites guests, vendors and farmer-owners on site throughout the year, folks who will now be introduced to The Leadership Center. Such exposure can’t help but boost TLC’s traffic, as well as its bottom line.
Talks have already begun to create a curriculum combining the two resources with what could end up as short-courses, seminars, enhanced internships or who knows what. That kind of collaborative thinking indicates this is far more than a real-estate deal; it’s a partnership in every sense of the word.
The new corporate offices are not just another building, and this is not just a casual, joint-venture agreement. This is a very big deal, in our view, reflecting a synergy not often found in a small Midwestern town.
Congratulations to both.
Kurt Johnson

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