2018 Conference Program

Wednesday, November 7

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM  Pre-con: NCERA-210 Annual Meeting
NCERA-210 is a regional research project that promotes research and education on agricultural cooperatives. It also provides a forum for decision-makers and analysts from industry, government, and universities to discuss research results and their implications.

For more information about the NCERA-210 Annual Meeting, please click here.

5:00 PM – 7:30 PM  Registration open

6:00 PM – 7:30 PM   Welcome Reception 

Thursday, November 8

7:00 AM – 8:30 AM  Registration and Continental Breakfast 

8:45 – 10:00 AM    Farmer Cooperatives: Policy Update
With all eyes on Washington this election year, this session will offer a perspective on the policy environment and issues to follow in the upcoming year.
Chuck Conner, President and CEO, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

10:00 – 10:30           Refreshment Break

10:30 – 12:00 PM  Leveraging Sustainability for Competitive Advantage
Agriculture is under increasing demand and pressure from consumer advocacy groups and regulators to deliver on sustainability goals. In this session we will hear from co-op leaders on how they are leveraging sustainability initiative to increase their competitive advantage.
Warren Jibb, Director, GROWMARK
Kendra Kissane, Sustainability Lead & Coordinator, Michigan Milk Producers Association

Cathy Resler, Head of Global Sustainability, Ocean Spray Cranberries 

12:00 – 1:15 PM Lunch

1:15 – 2:30  Trade Relations and U.S. Agriculture
In this session we will explore how recent changes in foreign policy and trade relations impact farmer cooperatives and their bottom line.
Mike Boland, Professor and Director, University of Minnesota Food Industry Center
Brian Schouvieller, Sr. VP of Global Grain Marketing, CHS Inc.
Jeff Spence, Vice President, Grain, Crystal Valley Cooperative

2:30 – 3:30  Valuing Difference: Expanding Input in the Board Room
A board of directors elected by and from the membership is one of the co-op model’s greatest assets. As co-ops evolve to meet the needs of a changing world, how do we bring a wider range of thought and experience into the board room? This session will explore the different techniques cooperatives can use to integrate new and diverse perspective into their decision-making.
David Scheevel, Chairman of the Board, Foremost Farms
Kristine Thompson, Director of Business Integration,
 CHS Inc.

3:30 – 4:00 PM Refreshment Break

4:00 – 5:00 Strategic Growth: Options Beyond Mergers and Consolidation
In an environment of growth via mergers, cooperatives can struggle with identity preservation, culture, and maintaining strong connections with their members.  We will explore the innovative strategies that companies have used to grow smartly, enhancing their employee and customer commitment and retaining their mojo.
Tom Field, Director, Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM Cocktail Reception

Friday, November 9

7:00 AM – 8:30 AM  Registration and Continental Breakfast 

8:30 – 9:30 AM CEO Succession Planning
Executive succession planning involves defining characteristics and skills, aligning goals, developing mechanisms to identify quality candidates. In this session, we will hear from co-op leadership on how they are preparing for CEO succession.
Ann Kafer, Vice President, Human Resources & Strategy Officer, GROWMARK
Pete Kappelman, Board President, Land O’Lakes

9:30 – 10:15 AM Defined Benefit Retirement Plans
Farmer cooperatives use a variety of defined benefit and defined contribution programs for their employees. As mergers become more common, directors need to understand the differences between plans and the impact on the cooperative.
Mike Boland, Professor and Director, University of Minnesota Food Industry Center
Tim Goodman, Partner, Dorsey & Whitney
Mike Trosen, General Manager, Meadowland Farmers Co-op

10:15 – 10:45 AM Refreshment break

10:45 – 12:00 PM Talent Retention in Your Co-op
Farmers and co-op managers face a challenge hiring and retaining qualified employees. In this session, leaders will share how their co-ops are leveraging the cooperative difference to retain talent and to build cooperative culture.
Tessa Burgener, Communications Manager, Aurora Cooperative
Kimberly Frederickson,
Director of Learning and Organizational Development, Organic Valley
Phil Kenkel, Professor and Bill Fitzwater Cooperative Chair, Oklahoma State University

12:00 PM Adjourn