Speaker Information


Barton, David G.

David Barton is Professor and Extension Agricultural Economist in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University. In addition, he is Director of the Arthur Capper Cooperative Center. He has served on the faculty of Kansas State University since 1976. Prior to coming to K-State, Dr. Barton completed his Ph.D. studies at Purdue University and was a faculty member in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Cornell University for three years. David Barton's primary faculty responsibilities at Kansas State University are to provide education programs to Kansas agribusiness firms on economic and management topics through the Cooperative Extension Service. He has conducted numerous management training seminars for agribusiness managers on management topics such as management-by-objectives (MBO), motivation, communication, delegation and financial planning. Dr. Barton has also advised and assisted agribusiness firms in the improvement of their general management and financial management practices.

His classroom teaching assignments have been on the topics of (1) quantitative methods for agribusiness decision-making, and (2) agricultural cooperatives; and his research activities have included studies on milk, meat, grain, and food marketing and on agribusiness financial management. Cooperative related research includes studies on financial performance, equity management, loss handling, governance and unification. He has prepared several case studies on cooperative agribusinesses and provides educational programs to cooperatives and other agribusinesses on governance, finance, strategic thinking and business structure. In 1984 David Barton was appointed the Director of the newly established Arthur Capper Cooperative Center. The mission of the Center is to enhance the understanding of the nature and role of cooperatives in our society. The Center uses the teaching, research and extension resources of the University to improve cooperative education and research at Kansas State University. The activities of the Center are supported by income from endowment fund contributions made by cooperatives and their friends and from project fees and grants. Dr. Barton is frequently called upon to design educational programs, to prepare education materials and to make presentations on cooperative-related topics. High interest topics recently presented are on governance, finance, strategic thinking and business structure.

He is currently serving on the on the Kansas Cooperative Council (KCC) Board of Directors.


Blaska, John

John Blaska is from Marshall, Wisconsin and is the current President of Landmark Services Cooperative. Blaska was first elected Vice President in 1994 and then President in 2000. Prior to this he served on the American Soybean Association Board of Directors as Secretary and International Marketing chair that had projects in 82 countries. He is a member of the Wisconsin Corn Growers, Farm Bureau, and Soybean Association.

Back at home Blaska served as Town of Sun Prairie Board Chairman from 1991 to 2000. He is also the general manager and president of The Oaks Golf Course in Cottage Grove and of Oaks Properties Inc.





Boland, Michael

Michael Boland (Mike) is a professor of agricultural economics and associate director of the Arthur Capper Cooperative Center at Kansas State University where he has teaching, research, and continuing education responsibilities in agribusiness management strategy. He has received numerous national, university, and college teaching awards and was recently selected as the 2008 National Association of Land Grant Universities USDA National Agriculture and Food Excellence in Teaching award which is the most prestigious college teaching award in the United States. He is President-elect of the Western Agricultural Economics Association.

Mike has also received several national and college extension team awards and was a member of the Hard White Wheat Commercialization Team that received the USDA Secretary’s Honor Award. Mike teaches educational modules on finance, governance, and strategic thinking in boards of director leadership programs. These programs are taught in 14 states annually.

The majority of his work involves food and agribusiness firms where he has co-authored over 50 case studies on agribusinesses. Mike served as co-chair of the USDA National Food and Agribusiness Management Commission and is serving as chair of the USDA International Agribusiness Task Force whose charge is to look at ways to incorporate competitiveness and trade topics into agribusiness management curriculum at land grant universities. He also serves as the faculty advisor and case writer for the Executive Seminar on Agribusiness.

He has led international study tours of agriculture for students in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, New Zealand, Nicaragua and Uruguay. He has lectured in more than 30 countries and speaks Spanish. Mike also serves as a U.S. Department of State Speaker and Specialist in international trade and marketing issues affecting the food industry.

He took his PhD in agricultural economics from Purdue University specializing in marketing, production, and strategic management. Mike also has a Master’s in agricultural economics from Purdue and a Master's in agricultural education from the University of Minnesota where he specialized in extension and continuing education. His BA degree a major in business administration is from the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minnesota.

Prior to arriving at Kansas State University as an assistant professor in 1996, Mike was the recipient of a USDA National Needs PhD Fellowship in Agribusiness where he helped work with continuing education programs in the Purdue University Center for Food and Agricultural Business. Mike’s previous work experience includes a local farm supply cooperative, a regional cooperative, a co-op state council, and other businesses. He is the oldest of 12 children and was reared in Minnesota.


Bozick, Nicholas L.

Nicholas L. Bozick of Mecca is President of Richard Bagdasarian, Inc., a family run multi-commodity produce, growing packing and shipping business in the Coachella Valley. In addition to citrus, the company also handles table grapes and vegetables. He is chairman of the Board of Sunkist Growers and has served on the board of directors of both Sunkist and Fruit Growers Supply Company, a manufacturing and supply cooperative affiliate of Sunkist. Bozick is a former chairman of the California Grape and Tree Fruit League, having served on that organization's executive committee for seven years and on the board for more than 15 years.





Broeckelman, Bob

Bob Broeckelman, is Vice President of Recruiting & Selection Services with FCCServices headquartered in Denver, Colorado but is housed in Wichita, Kansas. Bob’s responsibility is to assist the bank, associations, Ag Cooperatives and their branches with their selection and training of new personnel throughout 11 states in the southwestern part of the United States and additional associations in 14 other states. Through extensive research on each position and the applicants for the position, a concentrated effort is given to match the right person with the right job and place them in the right location. Over the past twenty years, turnover has dropped from as high as 28 percent, down to three to four percent.

Bob has a PhD in Adult and Occupation Education (1988) with an emphasis in management and human resources from Kansas State University. Prior to his current role, Bob taught high school vocational agriculture at Norton, Kansas for 5 years and was on the Kansas State University staff serving as the Executive Secretary of the Kansas Association of FFA and Kansas Young Farmers Association for the State of Kansas for five years. He began his career with Farm Credit in 1981 and has over 27 years experience in developing selection instruments to help banks, cooperatives and associations make better hiring decisions. The selection instruments can be utilized to select new employees from entry level to CEO positions.


Derscheid, Doug

Doug served as manager of several cooperatives in Nebraska before accepting a position in 1992 as CEO of Central Valley Cooperative. Through several unifications, it became Central Valley Ag Cooperative in 2003. CVA operates in 40 communities in north central and north east Nebraska, employees 365 full time, and has sales of $629.0 million.

He serves as Chairman of the Board of Cooperative Mutual Insurance Company in Omaha, Nebraska, Board member FCStone Group Ic. in Kanas City Mo. and also serves on the O’Neill Airport Authority board. Doug is an avid pilot and owns a 2008 Cessna Turbo Skylane.





Fulton, Murray

Murray Fulton is a Professor in the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and a Fellow in Agricultural Co-operation with the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, University of Saskatchewan.

Murray’s research and teaching interests are focused in a number of areas, including industrial organization, agricultural and rural policy, co-operative theory, intellectual property rights, and regulatory compliance. He is the co-author of a number of books and reports, including Canadian Agricultural Policy and Prairie Agriculture and Co-operatives and Canadian Society. Dr. Fulton has also written many articles and papers on industrial organization, co-operatives and agricultural policy. One important area of research has been an examination of the changes that are occurring in agriculture and the response of organizations – including agricultural co-operatives – to these changes. He is the leader of a SSHRC Knowledge Impact in Society project designed to create a dialogue between university researchers and partners in agriculture and rural communities on the challenges facing the agricultural sector (see www.kis.usask.ca). His current research examines the success of the co-operative retailing system in Western Canada.


Gales, Amy H.

Amy Gales (Regional President, Central Region Commercial Agribusiness Division, Agribusiness Banking Group) is responsible for managing the Commercial Agribusiness Division operations of the bank’s central region, which includes the Minneapolis, Omaha and Fargo banking centers. These banking centers support agribusiness customers in seven Midwestern states.

Ms. Gales’ team specializes in serving the needs of Farm Credit Associations as well as agricultural cooperatives that process, market, transport and export agricultural commodities. The majority of these customers are in the grain and farm supply industries. Commercial Agribusiness also supports the fruit, nut and vegetable, dairy, livestock and biofuels industries, as well as credit and finance companies. Ms. Gales is based in Minneapolis, and is a member of the bank’s Senior Leadership Team.

Ms. Gales brings more than 25 years of financial and agribusiness experience to her position. She began her career in 1981 with the former St. Paul Bank for Cooperatives, working directly with local cooperative customers over a 17-year period in a variety of different positions. Subsequently she served as the manager of a grain and farm supply co-op in southern Minnesota and as executive director of an agricultural development center in South Dakota. She returned to banking in 2002, working in leadership posts at both Commerce Bank and Wells Fargo. She joined CoBank in July of 2007 as regional vice president in the Minneapolis office.

Ms. Gales earned a bachelor’s degree in business with a finance emphasis from the University of Minnesota.


Henehan, Brian M.

Brian M. Henehan is Senior Extension Associate with the Department of Applied Economics and Management in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, where his applied research focuses on agribusiness management and marketing. He serves as program leader for the Cooperative Enterprise Program. He is responsible for developing and delivering an educational program for senior management, directors, members, and staff of cooperative businesses as well as conducting applied research on cooperative organizational behavior, marketing and decision making. He earned a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Vermont where he conducted research on the factors for success in emerging cooperatives. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College. He serves as Executive Secretary of the Northeast Cooperative Council, a non-profit organization serving rural cooperatives in New York and New England. He has served as an alternate director on the board of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives as well as on the founding board of directors of the Cooperative Development Institute. More information including a list of publications and a portrait photo can be obtained on the following web page: www.aem.cornell.edu/profiles/henehan.html


Hueth, Brent

Brent Hueth is the Director of the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives and Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. Professor Hueth received his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park. Prior to joining the University of Wisconsin, Brent spent two years at the University of California Berkeley as a Research Economist, and then eight years at Iowa State University as Associate Professor in the Department of Economics. His research and teaching focuses on cooperative organizations and agricultural markets. He is the Principal Investigator of a large-scale USDA-funded research project to measure the incidence and economic importance of cooperative activity nationwide. This research is expected to generate the most comprehensive inventory to date of U.S. cooperative firms, and will serve as a unique resource for researchers seeking to understand, critically evaluate, and improve cooperative performance.



Lindgren, Timothy J.

Tim’s career started in San Francisco with the Pacific Telephone Company where he helped develop their first major system-wide data processing application. He returned to Los Angeles and became manufacturing manager for an apparel firm. Part of his responsibilities was to establish plants on the Indian lands of Northern Arizona. Tim then returned to San Joaquin Valley where he became General Manager of the Tenneco West Corporation Almond Division, helping modernize their facilities and establishing an international marketing program.

Tim joined Fruit Growers Supply Company, a cooperative affiliate of Sunkist Growers, in 1972 and was involved in the agricultural supplies and timberland management and severed as president for 26 years retiring in 2003. In 2006, Tim was asked to return to the Sunkist/Fruit Growers system to aid in the transition to new company leadership by serving as Executive Vice President. He was soon appointed Interim President and Chief Executive Officer and then was selected as President and CEO following a nationwide search.

During his years with Fruit Growers, Tim had the opportunity, through his activities in the forest products and agricultural industries, to make extensive government and economic visits to much of Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. This gave him the opportunity to work with government officials, agriculturalists, business leaders and to gain an appreciation of the regional dynamics of these areas.

Tim has served on many statewide committees concerned with California's agricultural and forest resources, the California Forestry Council, the California State Board of Forestry Research Advisory Committee, and the California State Chamber of Commerce, where he served as Chairman of the Agricultural and Natural Resources Committees. He also served as Vice Chairman and Director of United Wholesale Lumber Company and Vice President and Director of Sunkist Real Estate Corporation.


McKee, Gregory

Gregory McKee is Director of the Quentin Burdick Center for Cooperatives and Assistant Professor in the Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics at North Dakota State University. His research and teaching focuses on how participants in a market can coordinate in order to improve their welfare. Currently, Dr. McKee teaches a semester-length course on cooperative business management to undergraduate students at three universities in North Dakota and a course in game theory and strategy for agribusiness management. Recent research has focused on determinants of profitability for North Dakota agricultural cooperatives and credit unions as well as authoring several case studies about significant management decisions made by cooperatives headquartered in the Upper Great Plains.




Murphy, Kevin M.

Kevin Murphy was raised on a vegetable and cash crop farm near Penn Yan, New York. He received an A.A.S. degree in Journalism from S.U.N.Y. at Morrisville in 1972, followed by a B.A. degree in Journalism from St. Bonaventure University in 1974. That year he joined Pro-Fac Cooperative and he has served in several member relations and communications positions with Pro-Fac since that time. He is presently vice president-member relations.

A graduate of the Empire State Food and Agricultural Leadership Institute (Lead New York), Mr. Murphy is a past president of the New York State Agricultural Society. He is also past chairman of the National Junior Horticultural Association. Active in farmer cooperative organizations, he is a director and past president of the Northeast Cooperative Council and has served on the Education, Government Affairs, and Member and Public Relations Committees of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.

He and his wife, Susan, reside in Fairport, NY.

Pape, Dieter L.

Dieter Pape received his B.A. (1969) from Michigan State University, served in the US Army in Vietnam (1969-1971) and then received his MBA (1972) from Michigan State University. Dieter has had a varied career beginning in the retail area with what is now Target Corporation. He then specialized in start up companies and turning around companies in financial distress including Morey’s Seafood International, Inc. After spending some time in academia as a professor and the head of continuing education for a technical college, Dieter was recruited by North American Bison Cooperative (NABC) as the President/CEO and led a successful turnaround. Two years ago NABC started North Dakota Natural Beef, LLC where Dieter assumed the role of President/CEO of the start up in addition to his current role with NABC.




Peterson, H. Christopher

Dr. H. Christopher (Chris) Peterson is the Homer Nowlin Chair of Consumer-Responsive Agriculture and professor of Agricultural Economics at Michigan State University. Dr. Peterson's mission as the Nowlin Chair is to provide leadership to university and industry efforts focused on the development and marketing of differentiated, consumer oriented products based on agricultural goods.

He is also Director of the MSU Product Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources. The Center focuses on assisting agricultural, food, and natural resource firms in the development of new markets, products, and associated supply chain relationships. Since it began serving clients in early 2004, the Product Center has attracted some 1900 participants to its educational programs, assisted approximately 650 clients with analyzing various aspects of venture development projects, and helped launch 65 new ventures (either new businesses or new products from existing businesses).

Dr. Peterson has his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University and his MBA from the Harvard University Graduate School of Business.

In addition to his management of the Product Center, Dr. Peterson has personally facilitated a variety of strategic management projects for nearly 60 agribusinesses, food processing firms, and commodity associations. His research work has spanned the areas of strategic management, value-added ventures and differentiated product development, cooperative theory and financial practices, vertical coordination strategy, and supply chain management. He also does “futuring” to craft scenarios for the evolution of the agri-food system.

Dr. Peterson is the outside director on the board of Michigan Sugar Company. He has served as an outside director on the board of CoBank (1999-2001) and on the board of the former St. Paul Bank for Cooperatives (1994-1999), both part of the Farm Credit System.


Schmura, Cheryl

Cheryl Schmura is vice president, CHS, crop nutrients, responsible for driving the division’s growth and profitability through cost-effective and stable international sourcing, efficient supply chains and customer-focused service and supply.

Prior to joining CHS Cheryl was vice president, chief financial officer for Agriliance, the agronomy marketing joint venture equally owned by CHS and Land O’Lakes. Prior to joining Agriliance, Schmura spent 25 years with 3M, holding various business development and finance management positions within and outside of the US.


Swalheim, Larry

Larry Swalheim,CEO, Landmark Services Cooperative, is responsible for managing the overall operations and new business development for Landmark Services Cooperative. The cooperative is owned by the customers it serves and specializes in animal nutrition, energy products, grain marketing, agronomy, convenience stores, and a Lennox heating and cooling division. Total sales for Landmark Services Cooperative for the fiscal year ending 09/30/08 grew to exceed $320 million. Landmark Services Cooperative also operates Landmark Logistics a wholly owned transportation subsidiary that specializes in hauling petroleum, feed, fertilizer and grain.

Previously, Swalheim served as the grain marketing manager of the Cottage Grove Cooperative prior to becoming the CEO in 1991. He began his career in the cooperative system in 1977 as the general manager of the Consumers Cooperative in Sauk City, Wisconsin. From there he moved on to manage a diversified cooperative in Ellsworth, Wisconsin. From 1985 to 1987 Swalheim was employed by Cenex Inc., the regional supply cooperative located in Minneapolis, Minnesota as a business service manager working with directors and managers of cooperatives in southern Wisconsin.

A native of Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, Swalheim earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa in 1972. He completed the general manager prep school through Cenex in 1977.

Swalheim is President of the National Coop 401K Plan and also is chair of The University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives Advisory Committee. He is past board president of Stoughton Country Club in Stoughton, Wisconsin. He serves as a director for the Wisconsin Community Bank and is a member of the commercial loan committee. He serves on the Architectural Review Committee for the Village of Cottage Grove, Wisconsin. Larry is a member of the Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce.


Swanson, David P.

An attorney at Dorsey & Whitney LLP, David Swanson has been a partner in the corporate practice group since 1998 and chair of the Agribusiness, Rural Electric and Cooperatives Law practice group. For 25 years, his practice has focused on organizational issues, financing and transactions for agricultural and rural electric cooperatives, as well as cooperative financial institutions. He has worked with many start-up groups on the organizational, tax and securities issues involved in starting a new rural enterprise.

Dave’s work experience has included facilitating the joint venture between National Cooperative Refinery Association and Farmland Industries, Inc., which established Cooperative Refining, LLC; he had the lead role in the 1992 acquisition by Tri-State G&T (Denver, CO) of Colorado-Ute assets in a Chapter 11 proceeding and in the documentation and legal aspects of the 1998 consolidation of Cenex and Harvest States Cooperatives; handled private placement debt offerings in 1997-1998 for Minnesota corn Processors, Tri Valley Growers and American Crystal Sugar Company; and he also played the lead role in the formation and capitalization of many rural electric joint ventures – Cooperative ConNEXTions, EnPower Services, Western States Power Corporation. In 2002, Dave Swanson took the lead role in the financing of a $939 million coal plant in Arizona for Tri-State G&T and has more currently provided counsel in the development of ethanol plants in the states of Nebraska, Indiana, and Ohio and formed a unique cooperative whose members consisted of Best Buy, Jostens, and others to share software. Dave has most recently been involved with the development and financing of ethanol and biodiesel plants across the country, as well mergers and acquisitions of biofuels facilities.

Mr. Swanson is a 1978 graduate of St. Cloud State University (B.S., chemistry) and a 1981 graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Law. Prior to joining Dorsey & Whitney, he worked for 15 years at Doherty, Rumble & Butler in St. Paul, Minnesota, and 2 years at Chapman and Cutler in Chicago. He lives in Plymouth, MN, with his wife and four children.


Vernon, Bruce

Bruce Vernon is Manager of Sales & Marketing for MKC (Mid Kansas Coop) headquartered in Moundridge, KS. MKC with its 39 locations comprises a geographical footprint of more than 13,000 square miles. Previous to joining MKC, he was Agriliance director, Crop Nutrients Marketing & Risk Management where he had management oversight for crop nutrients sold by Agriliance. Vernon and his team were also responsible for the introduction and management of price and supply risk management applications used by dealers, and for the company’s designation as the lead market maker for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s fertilizer futures contracts.

Vernon joined Agriliance in the fall of 2002, as a Crop Nutrients marketing manager. Prior to joining Agriliance, Vernon was a Regional Manager for Farmland Industries. He joined Farmland Industries in 1982 and held various sales, marketing and management positions in the Company’s business divisions.



Weaver, Michael L.

Michael works extensively with cooperatives--both traditional and “new generation”--limited liability companies, and other agribusiness clients on issues relating to organization, governance, finance, market development, mergers and acquisitions, consolidations and joint ventures. He has in depth, practical experience in cooperative, corporate and LLC law, and has a broad range of experience in project financing, partnership, tax and securities matters.

Mr. Weaver focuses his practice on renewable energy development and financing in the United States, particularly in the ethanol industry, and has assisted clients develop and finance over 1 billion gallons of ethanol production capacity. Mr. Weaver also represents clients in biodiesel production and community-based wind energy development. With the resources of the firm’s national renewable energy practice, Mr. Weaver also provides business plan and strategic planning guidance to agribusiness clients throughout the United States. He has also been involved in a number of acquisition and consolidation transactions in the beef, swine, grain and agronomy industries.

Prior to law school, Mr. Weaver completed undergraduate studies at the University of Washington in Seattle, and the University of Bordeaux in Bordeaux, France. He is a member of the Minnesota and Ramsey County Bar Associations, and serves on the State Bar Association Business Section Subcommittee for partnerships, limited partnerships, and limited liability companies.


Wefald, Jon

Jon Wefald became K-State's 12th president in 1986. During his presidency he has been recognized nationally for his leadership and the accomplishments of the university. Enrollment has increased from approximately 17,000 to more than 23,000. K-State's total research funding has increased in record numbers and the university returns nearly $17 for every $1 of state funding it receives (2006). Since 1986, K-State leads the nation's public universities in the total number of Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, Goldwater and Udall scholarship winners. Hale Library, which houses the University Archives, is among the impressive facilities that have been constructed during his tenure. USA Today called these achievements the "miracle in Manhattan."

A popular speaker, President Wefald has made countless presentations to scholarly, professional, and civic organizations. He has been interviewed on ABC's Nightline with Ted Koppel, CBS National News, NBC National News, and CNN News.


Wolf, Dan

Daniel Wolf grew up in the grape belt of Chautaugua County. He now lives in Lyons, NY. He and his wife, Nancy, have two sons. Dan, Nancy and their oldest son, John operate a 300-cow dairy farm and farm over 1,000 acres.

Dan has been a delegate of Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc., and its predecessors since 1980. He was first elected as a director of the Cooperative in 1984. He was elected President of Upstate Farms Cooperative, Inc. in 2001, and is now President of the merged Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc.