November 2-4, 2016

Radisson Blu Hotel
Minneapolis, MN

Speakers

Adam Belzberg head shotAdam Belzberg represents and advises employers, from small businesses to international corporations, in all aspects of labor and employment law. He has particular experience representing employers in the agriculture, construction, and energy industries. Adam’s litigation experience includes class action and individual litigation arising under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other state and federal employment laws. Adam also provides daily advice and counsel to employers on employment issues including employment policies, non-compete, non-solicitation, and trade secret issues.

Adam is well-versed in traditional labor relations law. He regularly represents management before the NLRB in cases involving union representation and unfair labor practices, negotiating collective bargaining agreements, and arbitrating labor and employment disputes on behalf of management.


Michael Boland head shotMichael Boland (Mike) holds the Koller endowed Professorship in agribusiness management and information technology at the University of Minnesota.  In addition, he is director of the University of Minnesota Food Industry Center which is funded by General Mills, Kellogg’s, Land O’Lakes, SuperValu, and other food companies. He teaches classes in cooperatives (in law school and agricultural school) and farm management. Mike was elected to the board of directors for the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association and sits on the board of the Council on Food, Agriculture, and Resource Economics (C-FARE) in Washington DC. In addition, he has worked with agribusinesses and cooperatives in Latin America, China, South Africa, Australia, and Europe. Mike frequently works with cooperatives in various education and research programs. He is a member of Harvard’s Private and Public, Scientific, Academic, and Consumer Food Policy Group. 


Jane Bush Drawing from more than 20 years of experience in agricultural production and value added products, Jane Bush was owned and managed the first certified organic apple orchard in Michigan. Jane produces pasture-raised pork products and practices season extension for vegetable production using a passive-solar hoop-house. She is also the founder of a farmers’ egg cooperative, Grazing Fields, and a certified Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) Counselor. Jane helped to create the Four Seasons Produce Co-op, a federation of farmers who work to provide fresh, locally grown greens to local customers. The use of hoophouses has ensured longer growing seasons to provide seasonal produce year round. Jane is able to draw on her vast knowledge of agriculture and food systems to provide assistance to those interested in beginning or expanding a food-based business. Jane has worked with MIFFS for many years and currently serves as the co-chair of its fund development committee.


Chuck Conner head shot

Charles F. (Chuck) Conner became president & CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) on January 22, 2009. As president of NCFC, Conner will oversee the organization’s work to promote and protect the business and public policy interests of America’s farmer-owned cooperatives. He will also provide the strategic vision for the trade association as it continues to seek new ways in which to add value for its membership.

Prior to joining NCFC, Conner had served as the Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture since mid-2005. In this capacity, he was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) overseeing day-to-day operations of the department. Conner interacted directly with President George W. Bush and his senior staff to formulate domestic and international food, trade, security and energy policy. He led development of the Bush Administration’s $300 billion Farm Bill proposal and the strategy to educate and inform industry, constituents and Congress. 

From August 2007 to January 2008, Conner served as both USDA Secretary and Deputy Secretary.  He played a key role in developing the Administration’s immigration policy including important changes to the H2A program. Conner’s experience also includes the assignment of Special Assistant to the President, Executive Office of the President, from October 2001 to May 2005, working on the 2001/2 Farm Bill to develop the strategy behind the transfer of several USDA agency functions to the newly formed Department of Homeland Security. From May 1997 to October 2001 Conner served as President of the Corn Refiners Association. He also served for 17 years as an advisor to U.S. Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana. Conner is a graduate of Purdue University, with a Bachelor’s of Science degree and is the recipient of Purdue’s Distinguished Alumni Award.  He and his wife Dru have four children.

Murray graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 1977 with a B.S.A. in agricultural economics, receiving the Governor General’s Gold Medal. After completing his M.Sc. in agricultural economics at Texas A&M in 1978, Murray attended Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship. Receiving his B.A. from Oxford in 1980, he returned to Saskatoon and joined Saskatchewan Mining Development Corporation as Director, Market Research. In 1982, he returned to university to begin his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 1985, at which time he joined the University of Saskatchewan. He served as director of the Centre from 1995 to 2000 and took up the reigns for another five-year term in January 2014.


David Cooper currently serves as the General Manager for FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative, a midwest dairy cooperative with approximately 3,800 member farms in a seven state region based in Madison, WI. David was born and raised on a registered Holstein farm near DeForest, WI and was very active in 4-H, FFA, and Junior Holstein activities. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Dairy Science degree in 1989. After graduation he worked for the Wisconsin Holstein Association until 1992; then joined Semex USA as a Customer Service Representative. While at Semex USA he served in a number of capacities for the organization and was the Director of Operations prior to joining Family Dairies USA in 2006. Family Dairies USA became FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative in 2013 upon the merger of three organizations. David has been married for 25 years to his wife Cindy and they have two children. He is fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in leadership roles in a number of membership organizations outside of FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative. These include the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium, Cooperative Network, Federated Youth Foundation, Lakeshore Federated Dairy Cooperative, National Milk Producers Federation and the Midwest Dairy Coalition. He is active in his church with children’s ministry and enjoys spending time with his children, watching sports, and helping on his brother’s dairy farm.


Mark Fenner was elected president and chief executive officer by the MFA Oil Company board of directors, effective September 1, 2014. Fenner joined MFA Oil in 2012 as chief operating officer and was responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the refined fuel, propane, Petro-Card 24, American Petroleum Marketers, Break Time and Jiffy Lube operations. Since Fenner joined MFA Oil, part of his focus has been on the growth of company operations.

Fenner brings nearly 30 years of energy sales, marketing and cooperative experience to MFA Oil. Fenner served as the national account director for the south region for CHS, which generated more than $8 billion in revenue. Before that, Fenner worked for Country Energy LLC and Farmland Industries in various leadership and sales capacities. Fenner earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1985. He is a Richmond, Missouri native and a long-time Missouri resident.


Murray Fulton is professor and director of Centre for Co-operative Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. Murray graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 1977 with a B.S.A. in agricultural economics, receiving the Governor General’s Gold Medal. After completing his M.Sc. in agricultural economics at Texas A&M in 1978, Murray attended Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship. Receiving his B.A. from Oxford in 1980, he returned to Saskatoon and joined Saskatchewan Mining Development Corporation as Director, Market Research. In 1982, he returned to university to begin his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 1985, at which time he joined the University of Saskatchewan. He served as director of the Centre from 1995 to 2000 and took up the reigns for another five-year term in January 2014.

Murray’s research and teaching interests are focused in a number of areas, including industrial organization, agricultural industry analysis, co-operative theory, and community development. He is the co-author of a number of books and reports, including Canadian Agricultural Policy and Prairie Agriculture, The Changing Role of Rural Communities in an Urbanizing World, Co-operatives and Community Development, Climate for Co-operative Community Development, Economic Impact Analysis of the Co-operative Sector in Saskatchewan, and Co-operatives and Canadian Society. He has also written numerous articles and papers on industrial organization, co-operatives and agricultural policy. He has worked on research projects for the Economic Council of Canada and has served as the consultant to the Saskatchewan government and the Federal/Provincial Task Force on the Role of Co-operatives and Government in Community Development. Murray is a past member of Saskatoon Credit Union’s board of directors.


Joseph Glauber is a Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, DC where his areas of interest are price volatility, global grain reserves, crop insurance and trade. Prior to joining IFPRI, Glauber spent over 30 years at the U.S. Department of Agriculture including as Chief Economist from 2008 to 2014. As Chief Economist, he was responsible for the Department’s agricultural forecasts and projections, oversaw climate, energy and regulatory issues, and served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation.

From 2007-2009, Glauber was the Special Doha Agricultural Envoy at the office of the U.S. Trade Representative where he served as chief agricultural negotiator in the Doha talks. He served as economic adviser at the so-called Blair House agreements leading to the completion of the Uruguay Round negotiations. He is the author of numerous studies on crop insurance, disaster policy and U.S. farm policy.

Dr. Glauber received his Ph.D. in agricultural economics from the University of Wisconsin in 1984 and holds an AB in anthropology from the University of Chicago. In 2012, he was elected Fellow of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.


Jason Henderson headshotJason R. Henderson is Associate Dean in the College of Agriculture and Director of Purdue Extension. In this role, Jason leads the statewide public engagement and research-based education in Agricultural and Natural Resources, 4-H Youth Development, Health and Human Sciences, and Economic and Community Development.  Prior to being named Director of Extension, Jason served as Vice President and Omaha Branch Executive at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. In that role, he served as the Bank’s regional economist and representative in the state of Nebraska, recruited and worked closely with the Branch's board of directors, and briefed the Kansas City Fed's president—a member of the Federal Open Market Committee—on economic and business activity in the state. In addition, Jason led several Federal Reserve efforts to track agricultural and rural economies, including the quarterly publication of the Tenth District Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions and the Federal Reserve System’s Agricultural Finance Databook. Previously, he served as economist and senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

Jason is a nationally recognized expert in agricultural and rural issues. He has published more than 60 research articles in academic and Federal Reserve publications on topics such as land values, entrepreneurship, demographics, the growth of knowledge-based activity in rural America, the use of electronic commerce in agricultural industries, and the growth of value-added food manufacturing activity. Jason speaks frequently to a wide range of business, financial and policy audiences across the United States and internationally. His research on the agricultural and rural economy has been quoted by policy officials, researchers, and leading media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Times and USA Today. In addition, Jason has been interviewed on CNBC and Fox Business and provided testimony on agricultural credit conditions to congressional subcommittees.

He holds masters and doctorate degrees in agricultural economics from Purdue University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Central College in Pella, Iowa. Jason was raised on a family dairy farm in Northeast Iowa.


Damien Lacombe is a dairy farmer in Noyés-Camboulazet, Aveyron, France where he is married and a father of three children. Working as a leader in the agricultural sector came naturally to Damien, whose father, Raymond Lacombe was chairman of FNSEA (National Federation of Farmers' Unions) from 1986 to 1992. In order to acquire knowledge about other agricultural practices before beginning his career, Damien took part in various exchange programmes, notably at a dairy farm in Minnesota in the US and in Japan. After two years abroad, he began working on the family farm, and became director of the Cala cooperative in 1998 and of RichesMonts in 1999. He joined the Pôle Sociétaires* (company network) in 2001, and was made director of Sodiaal in 2005 and member of the Committee in 2007. In 2010, he was elected chairman of the Auvergne South-West Region and secretary general of the FNCL (National Federation of Dairy Cooperatives). In June 2013, he was appointed vice-chairman of Sodiaal Union alongside François Iches, before fully taking the helm of the cooperative on 8 January 2014.


Jamie Nafziger head shot

Jamie Nafziger For over eighteen years, Jamie has helped clients grow their businesses by developing stellar brands, advertising their products and services, and launching cutting-edge online services and mobile apps. She has many agricultural cooperative clients and has advised them in connection with intellectual property and privacy issues, the commercial use of drones (UAVs), and the legal issues surrounding developing and launching precision agriculture software systems and apps.  She chairs the firm's Cybersecurity, Privacy and Social Media Practice Group and has been named to the "Top 250 Women in IP" by Managing Intellectual Property and awarded “Author of the Year - E-commerce USA” by Lexology (Association of Corporate Counsel).  Jamie grew up in dairy country in Wisconsin then spent ten years in the San Francisco Bay Area before starting at Dorsey.  Years ago, she helped launch the .coop top level domain name.  She finds working on ag tech and drones an exciting way to combine her interests in technology and agriculture.


Randall Romes headshot

Randy Romes, CISSP, CRISC, MCP, PCI-QSA, is a principal in the Information Security Services and Financial Institutions Groups at CliftonLarsonAllen. Randy leads a team of technology and industry specialists providing IT audits and security assessments for clients in a wide range of industries and diverse operating environments, and has provided IT audits for financial and other industry institutions for over 16 years. Randy is responsible for the continuing development of the open-source, Unix, and Windows applications used in all of the security audits, leads the firm’s PCI-QSA audit practice, and provides hands-on leadership  for the group’s ever-expanding forensic and incident response services. Randy has been a featured speaker at national conferences and training sessions related to information and security management topics.

Randy has been a consultant at CliftonLarsonAllen for sixteen years and brings a strong background in computer technology, physics and education. He is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), a Certified in Risk and Information System Controls (CRISC) professional, a PCI-Qualified Security Assessor (PCI-QSA), and a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) with multiple NT 4.0 certifications. He has a master’s degree in educational technology from the University of Saint Thomas, and a Bachelor of Science degree in education from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.


Myles Shaver head shotMyles Shaver is Professor of Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota where he holds the Pond Family Chair in the Teaching and Advancement of Free Enterprise Principles. His research on firm strategies to profitably expand is published in leading scholarly journals and he is invited to present his research at conferences and universities around the world. He has received numerous teaching awards for his classes on Corporate Strategy and Corporate Responsibility including the most prestigious international teaching award in his profession: the Irwin Outstanding Educator Award for Contributions to MBA and Executive education. Other accolades of Myles’ accomplishments include receiving the Ross School of Business (University of Michigan) Distinguished PhD Alumni award, and Poets and Quants profiling Myles in their compilation of the “World’s 50 Best Business School Professors.”


Shawn Stevens is a global food safety lawyer and the founding member of Food Industry Counsel LLC, the only law firm in the world that represents the food industry exclusively. Mr. Stevens works throughout the country and abroad with food industry clients (including the world’s largest growers, food processors, national restaurant chains, and food distributors and grocery chains) helping them protect their brand by reducing food safety risk, complying with FDA and USDA food safety regulations, managing recalls, and defending high-profile foodborne illness claims.

Mr. Stevens also speaks regularly to national and international audiences on a wide variety of emerging scientific, regulatory and legal food safety trends, authors columns for Meatingplace, The National Provisoner and Food Quality and Safety Magazine, and is quoted regularly by national media publications such as TIME Magazine, the New York Post, and Corporate Counsel Magazine. Additional information about Mr. Stevens’ legal and consulting practice can be found at www.foodindustrycounsel.com.


Dave Swain grew up on a small grain and livestock farm in east central Indiana. He attended Purdue University and graduated in December 1988 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics. After graduation, Dave worked in the retail fertilizer industry, three years with a famers’ cooperative in southwest Ohio and three years with Terra in southwest Michigan. In 1995, he started selling equipment for AgChem Equipment Company in southern Indiana. From 1997 to 2003, Dave worked in AgChem’s technology division, SOILTEQ, as a territory manager. In 2003, after AGCO’s purchase of AgChem in 2001, AGCO created its technology division called Advanced Technology Solutions. Dave served in various capacities in that group from Manager of the Technology Field Staff, Technology Product Marketing Specialist and Manager of ATS Marketing for North America. In July 2013, Dave joined Southern States Cooperative as their Manager of Precision Ag. He is charged with leading, developing, executing and managing the Precision Ag strategies and programs for Southern States Cooperative. Dave also participates in the Precision Ag Institute, The Fertilizer Institute’s 4R Nutrient Stewardship and AgGateway programs.


Tony Taylor is the senior director of infrastructure technology and security for Land O’Lakes Inc. Under Taylor’s direction the IT infrastructure has transformed from a business unit environment to an enterprise shared service, highly virtualized, serving all divisions. The infrastructure and security organization includes network, PC, mobile, compute, middleware, storage, database and security engineering teams focused on design, architecture and project execution.

Taylor joined Land O’Lakes in 1999, through the Terra Industries acquisition and has extensive experience serving enterprise organizations infrastructure and platform solutions while building strong partnerships with key business executives. Taylor has held multiple IT leadership positions since joining Land O’Lakes, assuming responsibility for enterprise infrastructure in 2003. Taylor participates on the IT leadership team, reporting directly to the CIO, establishing organizational and IT strategies and policy.

Prior to his career at Land O’Lakes, Taylor held IT management positions at Terra Industries and MidAmerican Energy. Taylor has worked in the IT industry for more than 25 years, with the last 17 in various management roles establishing technology directions.


Glen Tully served as President/Chair of the Board of Federated Co-operatives Limited from 2005 until his retirement in March 2014. He was first elected to FCL’s Board of Directors in 1995 and also served as Vice-Chair of the Board from 1997 to 2004. As the Director of District 15, he also represented 15 retail co-operatives in northern and eastern Manitoba, and western Ontario, and affiliate member, Arctic Co-operatives Ltd.

Glen was a member of the Board of Directors of Marquette Consumers Cooperative from 1984 until 2008, serving as President from 1988 to 2005. He served for ten years on the South Interlake Credit Union board of directors, including four years as president. He worked for five years as manager of the South Interlake Credit Union’s Stonewall branch, and worked as an Agribusiness consultant with Farm Credit Canada. Glen was also a FCL employee in the Winnipeg Region Feed and Crop Supplies departments from 1972-78. 

Glen has an Agriculture Diploma from the University of Manitoba. In 2007, he was awarded with a Certificate of Merit by the Manitoba Agriculture Graduates Association. In 2005, he was the recipient of the Manitoba Distinguished Co-operator Award, in 2009 he was the recipient of a Canadian Co-operative Achievement Award and in 2014 was awarded the Global Co-operative Award for his leadership role in the CDF Build a Better World campaign. Glen is also past President of the Canadian Co-operative Association and represented Canadian co-operatives on the International Co-operative Alliance’s Board of Directors.

Presently, Glen is assisting with the creation of an updated Director Development Program for Federated Co-operatives Limited. He also sits as Chair of the Advisory Board for the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives at the University of Saskatchewan, and is a member of the inaugural Board for Co-operatives First.  

He and his wife, Judy, have moved back to Manitoba and are thrilled to have the time to spend with their grandchildren, Owen and Evan.


Michael Weaver head shotMichael Weaver is a partner at Lindquist & Vennum and  works on general corporate and corporate finance matters for cooperatives, corporations, limited liability companies, and other business clients. He assists clients with business structuring, governance, joint ventures, capital formation and debt financing, public and private securities offerings, and mergers and acquisitions. He has also represented numerous supply and marketing cooperatives in agriculture since 1995, both federated and local, and has in depth, practical experience in all areas of cooperative law.

Michael focuses his practice on renewable energy development and financing in the United States, particularly in the renewable fuels industry, and has helped clients develop, finance, and construct more than 1.6 billion gallons of production representing nearly 11% of U.S. capacity and approximately $2.25 billion of investment capital.