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Terry Barr

Senior Director of Industry Research, Knowledge Exchange Division, Cobank





William Oemichen

President and CEO, Cooperative Network


William Oemichen is President & CEO of the Cooperative Network, a Minnesota and Wisconsin trade association. Oemichen began his service with Cooperative Network in September of 2001. He is a principal founder of the Farmers’ Health Cooperative of Wisconsin (FHCW), and serves on numerous healthcare-related boards of directors, including the board of the Monroe Clinic, a hospital and clinics network in Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois; and chairs the Board of Directors’ Nominations Committee for Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin.


Oemichen was appointed in June of this year by the U.S. Comptroller General as one of 15 members of an advisory board to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. 


Previously, Oemichen served as Wisconsin’s top Trade and Consumer Protection official and as Assistant and Deputy Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner. His agriculture and consumer protection work has been featured on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and other national and local newspapers, as well as on the CBS Evening News, Dateline NBC and ABC 20/20. 


Oemichen earned a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Law and a B.A. in Economics from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.  Oemichen has also served as a Fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Policy. He practiced cooperative, insurance and business law at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi in Minneapolis and at Doherty, Rumble & Butler in Saint Paul.



Brent Hueth

Associate Professor and Director, University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives


Brent Hueth is the Director of the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives and Associate Professor in the Department of Agriculture 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 a unique resource for researchers seeking to understand, critically evaluate, and improve cooperative performance.



Marlis Carson

Senior Vice President and General Counsel, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives





Christopher Goemans

Assistant Professor, Colorado State University


Professor Christopher Goemans’ research focuses on the allocation and management of scarce resources, specifically water. Past efforts include studies investigating the impacts associated with water transfers, the relationship between increased climatic variability and the effectiveness of various regional water management schemes, and optimal demand management strategies during periods of drought. More recently his work has dealt with understanding how information affects the decision making of residential water customers, specifically their understanding of their own water use and the rate structures they face. Moving forward, Professor Goemans hopes to further investigate how continued population growth and climate change will affect the management of resources such as water.



James Pritchett

Associate Professor, Colorado State University


Professor Pritchett’s research and outreach effort targets applied economic issues important to stakeholders in Colorado agriculture and throughout the West. Most recently, his focus has been placed on water resources: how farms might make the best use of limited water resources, the economic activity generated by irrigated agriculture in rural regional economies, and the perceptions that households have for water use. Additionally, Professor Pritchett’s efforts have been invested in understanding if crop insurance is an effective risk management tool for dryland wheat farmers, the economics of animal disease, and creating business plans for small and medium sized businesses. His research has been supported by the USDA-NRI competitive grants program, the Colorado Water Resources Research Institute, the USDA Agricultural Research Service, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and Colorado’s Agriculture Experiment Station.



Keith W. Devoe

General Manager, Roggen Farmer's Elevator Association





Robert Engel

President and CEO, CoBank


As CoBank’s president and chief executive officer, Bob Engel is responsible for implementing the bank’s

strategic and business direction as set by the Board of Directors. Previously, he served as CoBank’s

president and chief operating officer for six years. Mr. Engel is a member of CoBank’s Senior Leadership

Team and the Management Executive Committee.


Prior to joining CoBank in 2000, Mr. Engel was chief banking officer at HSBC Bank USA in New York. He

has 24 years of banking experience, primarily with HSBC Bank USA, and eight years of accounting

experience, including an agribusiness specialization, with the firms of KPMG and Deloitte & Touche.

During his 14-year tenure at HSBC, he served in a variety of management and credit positions, including

chief credit officer, before being named chief banking officer.


Mr. Engel earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Niagara University in Niagara Falls, New York,

where he was designated Magna Cum Laude and later received an honorary doctorate. He is a member

of the board of directors for the Federal Farm Credit Banks Funding Corporation (Vice Chairman) and

Farm Credit Leasing (Chairman). Mr. Engel is also a member of the Farm Credit System Presidents

Planning Committee (Chairman). In addition, he serves on the board of trustees for Regis University, the

board of directors of New Ventures in Higher Education, Inc., the Graduate Institute of Cooperative

Leadership, Mile High United Way, Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association and as trustee emeritus at Niagara

University. He also serves on the Executive Council of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. He is

a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.



Bradley A. Miller,

Vice President, Practice Leader of Auctions & Competitive Bidding, CRA International


Dr. Miller is head of CRA’s Auctions and Competitive Bidding consulting practice. He specializes in applied game theory and auction theory, microeconomics, industrial organization, network industries, market restructuring, and public policy. He advises on auction and market design, implementation, monitoring, participation, bidder support and strategy, software and electronic trading platforms, and regulatory and litigation support. Dr. Miller has been instrumental in successful projects in commodities, electricity, telecommunications, oil & gas, broadcast, airline, environment, railroad, defense, health care, and other industries in several countries including the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. His clients include industry corporations and organizations, regulated companies, and international, national, state, and provincial government agencies.



Stefan Shaffer

Managing Partner, SPP Capital Partners and SPP Mezzanine Partners


Mr. Shaffer is a founder and the Managing Partner of SPP Capital Partners, LL. Mr. Shaffer is also the Managing Partner of SPP Mezzanine Partners; a Virginia based limited partnership that makes direct investments in mezzanine instruments, primarily to middle market issuers.


Mr. Shaffer became Managing Partner of SPP after engineering a management buy-out ("MBO") of SPP Hambro, the company's predecessor. Mr. Shaffer served as President of SPP Hambro for five years prior to the MBO. Mr. Shaffer is responsible for managing the origination activities of SPP Capital and is the architect of the firm's unique joint venture strategy. His 19 years of experience in the private market includes hundreds of transactions on three continents.


Prior to becoming a principal at SPP, Mr. Shaffer was a Vice President in the Private Placement Group at Bankers Trust Company Prior to his move into investment banking, Mr. Shaffer had been an attorney with the law firm of White & Case.. 


Mr. Shaffer is a cum laude graduate of the Cornell Law School where he earned a J.D. degree and is a magna cum laude undergraduate from Colgate University where he was elected Phi Beta Kappa.



Mike Jackson

President and CEO, Adayana

Mike Jackson was named President and CEO of Adayana in April 2008, after having served as President and CEO of ABG, which he founded in 1979. Under his leadership, Adayana has refined its targeted vertical market approach and increased profitability and return to all stakeholders.  Jackson frequently publishes management and marketing articles in industry and company publications, and has recently been featured on Inside Indiana Business television program and the Indianapolis Smart Business magazine.  Jackson helps companies adjust their strategies to compete successfully in tomorrow’s market. He co-authored Agri Selling, the standard textbook on agricultural selling. Jackson serves on the Boards and Audit Committees of Terra Nitrogen Company and Renewable Energy Group, Inc. and received the prestigious “Distinguished Agricultural Alumni Award” from Purdue University in 1996. 




Jim Hoyt

Vice President, Strategic Planning and Corporate Services, Growmark, Inc.





Les Hardesty

Chair, Mountain Area Council, Dairy Farmers of America





David Warlick

Director, The Landmark Project

Sponsored by the Ralph K. Morris Foundation


David Warlick is a 34-year educator.  He has been a classroom teacher, district administrator, and staff consultant with the North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction. For the past ten years, Mr. Warlick has operated The Landmark Project, a consulting, and innovations firm in Raleigh, North Carolina.


David’s attribution web site, Citation Machine, serves nearly a million page views a day and his classroom blogging tool, has served more than a quarter of a million teachers and students.

David Warlick is also the author of four books on instructional technology and 21st century literacy, and has spoken to audiences throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, The Middle East, and South America.




Rick Browne

Senior Vice President, Grain Marketing, CHS


Richard (Rick) Browne’s title is Senior Vice President and he is responsible for managing the majority of the CHS global Grain Marketing business. 


With the organization for 31 years, Rick started as a grain buyer and moved into grain merchandising. Over the next 15 years, he held a series of progressively responsible positions trading and managing several commodity desks within CHS, which included a merchandising assignment in the Portland, Oregon office.  In 1996, Rick was promoted to vice president and merchandising manager of Grain Marketing. In 1998, Rick was named merchandising manager for United Harvest, LLC, a grain exporting joint venture with Mitsui, located in Portland, Oregon. Rick has been in his current position as Sr. Vice President since 2001.


Rick serves on the Board of Directors of TEMCO LLC, United Harvest LLC, Multigrain AG, Horizon Milling, and National Grain and Feed Association.


Rick graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics and Business Management in 1979 from the University of California, Davis.


Rick is married, has two children and lives in Roseville, MN.


Duane Nelson

Duane was elected to the cooperative board of directors in 1997.  He was elected president of Genex Cooperative, Inc., a subsidiary of Cooperative Resources International (CRI), in 2008.  In 2003, Duane was selected to represent Genex on the CRI board.  CRI has over 1,400 employees and 25,000 members in the U.S.  In 2009, CRI marketed products in over 60 countries.  Duane has represented CRI and Genex during board negotiations in France, Germany and the Netherlands.


In addition, Duane has served on numerous committees and leadership roles with other cooperatives.  He and his family own a herd of registered Holsteins on their farm near Winthrop, Minnesota.



Gregory Mckee

Assistant Professor and Director, Quentin Burdick Center for Cooperatives, North Dakota State University


Greg 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.



Chris Peterson

Professor, Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics, Michigan State University


Dr. H. Christopher (Chris) Peterson is the Homer Nowlin Chair of Consumer-Responsive Agriculture and professor of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics at Michigan State University.  He is Director of the MSU Product Center for Agriculture and Natural Resource, which focuses on assisting agricultural, food, natural resource, and bioeconomy firms in the development of new markets, products, and associated supply chain relationships. 


Dr. Peterson has his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University and his MBA from the Harvard University Graduate School of Business.  His research and outreach activities span the areas of strategic management, value-added ventures and differentiated product development, cooperative theory and financial practices, entrepreneurship, business innovation, the emergence of the bioeconomy, vertical coordination strategy, and supply chain management.  He serves on the state advisory board for the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Centers.  Dr. Peterson has been an outside director on the three cooperative boards, Michigan Sugar Company, CoBank, and the former St. Paul Bank for Cooperatives. 


Dr. Peterson also does “futuring” to craft scenarios for the evolution of the agri-food and bioeconomy systems.  Based on this work, sustainability is a growing area for his research and outreach.  He serves on the Executive Committee of the Sustainable Michigan Endowed Project and on the international advisory board of TransForum, a public/private consortium dedicated to scientific and practical discoveries to enhance the sustainable of agriculture in the Netherlands and globally. 



Sarah Stokes Alexander,

Director, Sustainability and Leadership Program, The Keystone Center


Sarah Stokes Alexander serves as Director of Sustainability and Leadership Programs for The Keystone Center and has over 15 years of experience working as a facilitator on collaborative problem-solving models. She has facilitated numerous efforts in the areas of sustainability, agriculture, transportation, environmental cleanup, and forestry at local, national, and international levels. She has provided facilitation of industry-led sustainability initiatives, interagency coordination efforts, regulatory negotiations, strategic planning, and national and regional dialogues. She provides training in collaborative leadership, stakeholder engagement, and sustainability strategies. She graduated from Middlebury College with a bachelor's degree in environmental studies and holds a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University.



Russell Williams

Director, Regulatory Relations, American Farm Bureau