Stay tuned to see who will be speaking in 2019! Here’s who spoke in 2018:

Michael Boland
Koller Professor and Director
University of Minnesota

Michael Boland (Mike) holds the Koller endowed Professorship in agribusiness management at the University of Minnesota where he has teaching, research, and outreach responsibilities in agribusiness management, and in particular, agricultural cooperatives.  He teaches classes in cooperatives, business strategy, and institutional economics. The Koller Professorship was funded by agricultural cooperatives (CHS, Land O’Lakes, CoBank, and Country Financial) and Koller friends, family, and colleagues.

Mike’s current research is on issues in cooperative finance and governance and occupational health and safety issues. Mike teaches educational modules on finance, governance, and strategic thinking in boards of director leadership programs for cooperatives. These programs are taught in 14 states to more than 1000 cooperative senior employees and directors annually. In addition, he has worked with cooperatives in Latin America, China, South Africa, Australia, and Europe. He is a frequent speaker and facilitator on cooperative board retreats, board evaluations, and similar activities. He is a member of National Association for Business Economists and serves on board of directors of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association and C-FARE. Council on Food, Agriculture, and Resource Economics.

He previously worked for a local farm supply cooperative, a regional cooperative, and state cooperative council. He is the oldest of 12 children and was reared in Minnesota.

Tessa Burgener Head shotTessa Burgener
Communications Manager
Aurora Cooperative

Tessa Burgener grew up in Gering, Nebraska on her family’s farm where they raised corn and dry, edible beans. She graduated from the University of Nebraska – Kearney in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Mass Communications.

After college, she worked a short time at a local press company before taking the job at Aurora Cooperative where she is the communications manager. She is also on the company’s Generational Advisory Board. The board takes on many different projects to enhance and maintain the company culture.

Tessa, along with her husband Jeremy, live in Aurora, Nebraska. Her hobbies include supporting her husband’s legion baseball team in the summer to baking anything sweet in the fall.

Charles F. (Chuck) Conner
President and CEO
National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

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.

Tom Field
Director of the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Tom is a passionate advocate for education, agriculture, free enterprise, engaged citizenship, and the potential of young people. He serves the people of Nebraska as the Director of the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program and holder of the Engler Chair in Entrepreneurship at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is also a noted agricultural author with works including his column “Out of the Box” and featured commentator of “The Entrepreneurial Minute” on the Angus Report on RFD-TV.

A frequent speaker at agricultural events in the U.S. and abroad, he has consulted with a number of agricultural enterprises and organizations, and has served on numerous boards related to education, agriculture, and athletics. He is the co-owner of Field Land and Cattle Company, LLC in Colorado. He and his wife Laura watch over a brood that includes a son in the Teach for America Program, twins who are seniors in college and toddler twins to round out the team.

Kimberly Frederickson headshotKimberly Frederickson
Director of Learning and Organizational Development
CROPP Cooperative/Organic Valley

Kimberly Frederickson is the Director of Learning and Organizational Development at CROPP Cooperative/Organic Valley where she leads the talent development strategy and delivery of training for Organic Valley’s 900+ employees. Kimberly has spent her entire career focused on the learning, team effectiveness, organizational change, and leadership development needs of cooperatives.  Prior to joining Organic Valley, Kimberly’s led employee and member education in the credit union industry, where she won awards for progressive and innovative program development. Kimberly holds a bachelor’s in adult learning from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and MBA from Edgewood College. She and her three children reside in Viola, Wisconsin, where she serves as an EMT with the local rescue squad.

Tim Goodman
Dorsey & Whitney

Tim Goodman is a partner in the Benefits & Compensation group at Dorsey & Whitney.  Tim works with cooperatives on a range of benefits from retirement plans and executive compensation to health plans and welfare benefits.  Tim also assists cooperatives and employers in complying with the Internal Revenue Code, ERISA, and the numerous other laws that govern benefits.

Warren Jibb
Warren Jibb is a Certified Director of GROWMARK INC, representing the Ontario Co-operatives. He has held this position since August, 2013. He has served on the Governance, Audit & Compliance and Budget Capital Committees of GROWMARK.

Warren serves as Secretary and has held the position of Vice President and President of his local Co-op where he served on the Board from 1991 to 2001 and 2009 to present. He has also served on numerous agricultural organizations and committees.

Warren along with his wife and family operate Shadyway Farms Limited, a dairy and crop farm in Central Ontario. They started practicing no-till in 1989 and grow alfalfa, corn, soybeans and wheat. They do custom planting, combining and silage bagging. They utilize everything a Co-op system has to offer.

Shadyway Farms Limited works closely with their Co-op to improve nutrient delivery to the crops through programs such the GROWMARK NWatch program and use it as a management tool to provide insight into the dynamics of plant available nitrate and ammonium nitrogen. Shadyway has hosted a Crop Technology Day with their local Co-operative for 18 years with a focus on sustainable cropping practices that produce maximum yields. Warren and his family have worked with all levels of governments on many agricultural initiatives such as the 5 year Greenhouse Gas Initiative to perform nitrogen testing of the soils on their farm and the effect on the local watershed.

The farm has also received awards for their efforts to promote, preserve and enhance their Region’s natural environment. Many of the practices they have adopted on their farm have allowed them to lessen their impact on the environment while improving soil health, crop yields and providing long-term sustainability in their farming operation.

Ann Kafer head shot

Ann Kafer
Vice President of Human Resources and Strategy Officer

Ann Hastings Kafer has served GROWMARK, Inc. as Vice President of Human Resources and Strategy Officer since May 2017. She joined the organization in 1993 and has held manager and director positions in corporate communications, marketing services, career development, human resources administration, and director of organizational change. Ann also served as Compliance Officer. GROWMARK is an agricultural cooperative with $7.3 billion is sales (FY2017) operating in 43 U.S. states and Canada.

She is an honors graduate of the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications. Ann is also a 2007 high honors graduate of Lincoln Christian Seminary with a master’s of arts degree in the Bible. In addition, she has logged hours toward a Masters of Business Administration degree at Illinois State University.

Ann’s professional experience prior to GROWMARK includes serving as director of communications for Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperative in Mattoon, Ill., and as communications coordinator for the Illinois Soybean Association.

She currently serves on the board of directors for ACDI/VOCA and for the Midwest Food Bank. Ann is also on the education committee for the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and the College of Business Advisory Committee for Illinois State University. She earned the Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional designation in 2013, and she earned the Cooperative Communicators Association’s Graznak Award in 1999 as the outstanding communicator under age 36.

Ann is active in her church and as a speaker and author. She serves on the board of directors for the Christian Activity Center in East St. Louis, Ill. Ann and her husband Brad live in Bloomington, Ill. and are parents of two sons, Ben and Will.

Pete Kappelman
Board President
Land O’Lakes

Pete Kappelman, a dairy producer, is co-owner of Meadow Brook Dairy Farms, LLC, and is current Chairman of the Board of Land O’Lakes, Inc., a cooperative designed to meet the needs of dairy farmers in the Midwest. Kappelman joined the Land O’Lakes Board of Directors in 1995 and served as Board Secretary and First Vice Chairman before being elected Chairman in 2004.

Land O’Lakes has been a farmer-owned cooperative for more than 90 years and is the nation’s second largest co-op and a leading marketer of dairy-based consumer, foodservice and food-ingredient products across the U.S., as well as provides an extensive line of agricultural supplies (animal feed, seed, and crop protection products) and services.

Kappelman also serves on the National Milk Producers Federation Board where he is currently serving as Chair of the International Trade Committee; he is also an Ag Policy Advisor to the Administration for USDA and USTR. Kappelman is a current Wisconsin Alumni Association member and former board member of several organizations including the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board; the Board of the U.S. Dairy Export Council; the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, and the UW Center for Dairy Profitability.

Kappelman farms in partnership with his wife Shellie. The Kappelmans were Wisconsin’s 1995 Dairy Farm Family of the Year. Kappelman received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, College of Engineering.

Phil Kenkel head shot

Phil Kenkel
Professor and Bill Fitzwater Cooperative Chair
Oklahoma State University

Phil Kenkel is a Regents Professor in the Agricultural Economics Department at Oklahoma State University and holds the Bill Fitzwater Cooperative Chair.  He is the editor of the Journal of Cooperatives.  In 2011 he managed a national project identifying critical issues facing agricultural cooperatives which resulted in seminars for the House and Senate staff in Washington D.C.  Dr. Kenkel is the current chair of the Cooperative Community of Practice on eXtension which has conducted national webinars on non-qualified stock and other issues. He is also active in the NCERA-210 research committee on cooperatives and has prepared white papers for the CHS Center for Cooperative Growth and the Farm Credit Council. Dr. Kenkel has authored more than 200 research and extension publications, presented over 100 papers at professional meetings and conducted training sessions on producer owned businesses in 6 countries.

Kendra Kissane headshot

Kendra Kissane
Sustainability Lead & Coordinator
Michigan Milk Producers Association

Kendra Kissane is the Sustainability Lead and Coordinator at Michigan Milk Producers Association, more commonly known as MMPA. Farming is in Kendra’s blood as she has also grown up and is still very active on her family’s registered dairy farm in Northern, Michigan.

Kendra graduated from Davenport University with a Bachelor of Health & Business Administration. While in college she played Lacrosse and Volleyball on a dual, full ride athletic and academic scholarship. In addition to her Bachelors, she has received her Spanish diploma of literacy from two international institutions, Cosi Institute de Español (institute of Spanish) in Costa Rica and Simon Bolivar of Quito, Ecuador.

Kendra’s passion for agriculture was first recognized by MMPA when they recruited her to be a bilingual mastitis management specialist and field representative. She later left MMPA to grow more professionally. Since her return, Kendra has been nationally recognized in a case study for piloting and implementing the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC), Field Guide for Co-op Sustainability Programs. Kendra has led and guided MMPA through two of the world’s largest Consumer Packaging Goods (CPG) sustainability assessments.  In addition, she currently sits on NCFC’s sustainability working group committee, the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program advisory committee and is on her local county’s Farm Bureau board. This fall Kendra was also accepted into the Young Dairy Leaders Institute where she hopes to learn more about environmental policy and development along with mapping out Dairy’s future with other industry leaders.

Cathy Resler
Head of Global Sustainability
Ocean Spray Cranberries

Cathy Resler is the Head of Global Sustainability for Ocean Spray Cranberries – a Farmer-Owned Cooperative – where she leads sustainability strategy across the Cooperative, with Ocean Spray farmers and business partners. Her work on environmental and social responsibility initiatives focuses on building value across sustainable agriculture, operations, supply chain, sales, marketing, and customer and employee engagement,   She led the expansion and first publication of Ocean Spray’s Farm Sustainability Assessment a comprehensive  report of 700+ cranberry farmers performance on pollinator and IPM management, soil health, water, energy, ecosystem conservation, business stewardship, worker well-being and community impact.

Prior to joining Ocean Spray Cranberries, Cathy worked in the fashion, jewelry, and publishing industries contributing to the first industry adopted Restricted Substance List (RSL), Responsible Down and Wool Standards, Environmental Paper Assessment Tool (EPAT), sustainable textiles and leather, sustainable forestry management, packaging design, green store design guidelines, and community giving program development.  She also has worked at the U.S. EPA, Columbia University and holds an MS in Sustainability Management from Columbia University and a BS from The George Washington University in Environmental Studies.

David Scheevel
Chairman of the Board

Foremost Farms

Dave Scheevel, Preston, Minnesota, has served on the board of Foremost Farms USA® dairy cooperative since 1997 and has served as chairman since 2008.

Dave and his wife Kathy operate a 135-cow dairy and 250-acre farm, raising corn, rye and alfalfa hay. Kathy works off the farm as a loan specialist for ONB Bank in Rochester, Minnesota. They have two grown children, Emily (Eric) Sinn and Andrew (Rachel) Scheevel who are both pursuing off-farm careers. They also have two grandchildren, Kylie and Cael Sinn.

Dave and Kathy live on the farm he grew up on and operate the dairy on a neighboring farm. Dave graduated from Preston-Fountain High School, attended Rochester Community College and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture in 1982. While at Rochester and River Falls, Dave played on the football team. He and Kathy were married in August of 1989.

Dave is also a board member of the National Milk Producers Federation, Southeast Minnesota Ag Alliance, and was a member and chairman of the Minnesota Dairy Leaders Roundtable. His hobbies include flying airplanes, playing golf and spending time with his grandchildren.

Dave believes if cooperatives wish to remain a viable option, they must continue to provide ownership and equity value, as well as remain economically competitive.

Brian Schouvieller head shot

Brian Schouvieller
Senior Vice President Global Grain Marketing
CHS Inc.

Brian Schouvieller is senior vice president for CHS Global Grain Marketing, a position he has held since April 2018. He is responsible for all CHS global commodity trading, supply chain management and risk management, including freight, currency, execution and trade finance.

Schouvieller has spent his career with the cooperative system, joining CHS as an intern. His experience includes working in three business units, and several special assignments.

He began his career in grain marketing, where he was promoted through the ranks to vice president, international development. In that role he was responsible for building out the Asia-Pacific business platform for CHS Grain Marketing, including the first grain trades to China. He also spent one year on assignment in Mexico managing two soybean processing, refining and packaging plants.

His management responsibilities expanded to include serving as senior vice president, North America Grain Marketing and Crop Nutrients, responsible for overall development and management of CHS North America grain marketing and crop nutrients operations. In 2014, he was named to lead a special, multi-year assignment studying possible CHS investment in nitrogen manufacturing.

He gained retail management and business development experience as regional vice president for the Eastern Region of CHS Country Operations. In addition to overseeing a regional Country Operations business unit, Schouvieller led business development efforts to uncover new growth and partnership opportunities in geographic areas east of the Mississippi River for Country Operations.

Schouvieller grew up on a western Minnesota crop and turkey farm. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business from the University of Minnesota.

He represents CHS on the board of directors of TEMCO, a grain marketing joint venture with Cargill.


Jeff Spence HeadshotJeff Spence
Vice President, Grain
Crystal Valley Cooperative

Jeff Spence grew up on a farm near Vernon Center and started working for CHS (GTA) in agronomy. In 1982 he became manager of the grain elevator and agronomy plant in Vernon Center. For the next 21 years, Jeff was a General Manager at many locations in the upper Midwest for both CHS and other local coops. In 2003, Jeff joined the Peace Corp and spent 3 ½ years in Romania. In the spring of 2007, Jeff joined Crystal Valley as the Grain Division Manger.

Kristine Thompson Headshot

Kristine Thompson
Director of Business Integration
CHS Inc. 

Kristine Thompson leads merger and acquisition integration, including business transformation, change management and continuous improvement. During her 24 years with CHS, she has led strategy efforts for human resources, brand strategy and corporate advertising, plus strategic marketing, brand management and advertising for locally controlled, company-owned cooperatives and subsidiaries. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls.

Mike Trosen HeadshotMike Trosen
General Manager
Meadowland Farmers Cooperative

I manage Meadowland Farmers Coop, a $350 million diversified Coop, headquartered in Lamberton Minn. I have spent the majority of my career in the cooperative system and feel cooperatives bring the most value to the farmer at the farm gate. By giving the farmer an opportunity to not only share in the profits but more importantly the governance of their cooperative they are given a seat at the table to influence the future direction of their service and market provider. I feel for the cooperative system to truly succeed the regionals and locals have to find ways to work closer together. Today in some cases the system is its own worst enemy.