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Richard, George (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 58, Number 9 (Jan. 15, 1957)

Saladino, Luciano A.
Farmers' favorite in the Far East,   pp. 27-28


Page 27


Farmers' Favorite
               in the
            Far East
John L. Cooper addresses a Philippine farm group.
         By Luciano A. Saladino
Agricultural Credit and Cooperative Financing Administra-
                 tion, Philippine Islands
Wisconsin Alumnus, January, 1957
EARED ON a typical Wisconsin farm, little did John
     Lyman Cooper or his hometown neighbors foresee
     that some day he would rise to the top of the heap-
sans fanfare and the misinterpreting glare of publicity--
earn the undying gratitude of the common farmers of two
nations-the Philippines and Japan-and be acknowledged
by his government and the rest of the free world as the
"topmost American authority on the establishment and de-
velopment of agricultural cooperative in the Far East."
  As agricultural economist in the natural resources section
of the Allied Supreme Command (SCAP) from July, 1946,
to 1951, Cooper laid the groundwork for the revitalization,
expansion and democratization of 18,000 Japanese farmer
cooperative associations representing 6.5 million farmers.
  In the face of the serious economic situation then obtain-
ing in occupied Japan, the SCAP through its civilian tech-
nical men led by Cooper worked out an occupation policy
that, to quote a high official of the International Cooperation
Administration (ICA), "transformed 18,000 farmer co-ops
formerly dominated by the Japanese government into demo-
cratic groups, controlled and managed by the members.
  In recognition of a job well done, Cooper was promoted
chief of the SCAP's agricultural division in 1951. As such,
Cooper supervised the operations of 35,000 rural co-ops
whose aggregate business transactions run into several hun-
dred billion yen yearly.
   In the latter part of 1951, Cooper joined the Economic
Cooperation Administration (now ICA) mission in the Phil-
ippines where he formulated a similar, if not better, coopera-
tive program.
   Cooper helped draft the bill creating the Agricultural
Credit and Cooperative Financing Administration, then fol-
lowing its establishment, he was named technical adviser
and settled down to the task of stimulating the growth of
farmer-owned, farmer-directed co-ops. He also acted as
adviser to the Central Bank in the setting up of rural banks.
  The increasing effectiveness of the ACCFA program in
transforming neglected areas into centers of activity and
progress attests to the sound judgment, technical skill and
deep analytical mind of this ACCFA adviser. In many parts
of the country the once benighted farmers have begun "to
look beyond their noses" and to disentangle themselves from
their subnormal economic moorings.
   A lawyer and agricultural economist, Cooper has to his
credit 18 years of service to the U.S. government. At the
age of 26, he was employed as legal counsel of the Farm
Credit Administration's branch at St. Paul, Minn., at $95 a
month. In 1942 he enlisted in the U.S. Army as a private
and was later promoted to captain. He was detailed in the
Judge Advocate General department of the SCAP in Tokyo.
It was after receiving his discharge papers in 1946, that he
entered the civilian ranks of the SCAP as an agricultural
economist.
   Cooper had been born on July 2, 1911, in Bloomington,
Wisconsin. After finishing his secondary course, he took up
agriculture and law at the University of Wisconsin with a
major in agricultural economics. He was admitted to the
practice of law in 1937 and on the typical American farm
where he was raised and in the University, he acquired a
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