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CEO transition

Shannon Huff becomes seventh to lead Tennessee Farmers Cooperative
By Glen Liford 4/23/2021

 

Kirk Fisher
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Tennessee Farmers Cooperative Board Chairman Mark Thompson announced on behalf of the entire TFC board on March 10 that Shannon Huff of Bell Buckle has been selected to succeed Bart Krisle as chief executive officer of TFC.

Krisle announced that he will retire June 4 after a career spanning 38 years, including the last 14 as CEO. He joined the TFC staff in 1983 as a field auditor and has served in various capacities within the cooperative through the years. In 1987, he was named to the Internal Auditing Department staff and in 1988 became manager of the Member Support Department in the information services area. Krisle was named Region 2 operations specialist in 1992 and held that position until being selected to fill the role of chief operating officer in 1999.

“As CEO, Bart’s steady and thoughtful leadership has been invaluable during a period of unprecedented growth and change for TFC,” says Thompson. “His work in establishing Co-op Financial Solutions and GreenPoint Ag strengthened the organization and positioned the cooperative to make the key strategic alignments that have led to the creation of the Faithway Alliance and GreenPoint Ag joint ventures (JV) and the feed JV that is in the formation process. His work with the TFC senior staff and leadership team over the last year has provided the mission, vision, values, and strategic plan that will guide our cooperative for the next few years and provide clear direction as we change the structure of TFC to a business service provider.”

Huff has played a key role in developing and implementing this strategic plan as well, says Thompson.

“As we begin the cooperative’s 76th year, Shannon becomes only the seventh person to lead TFC as CEO,” says Thompson. “His depth of experience and vision for the future are among the many qualities that make him the right person to take the helm of TFC during this critical transition period.”

Huff had served as TFC chief financial officer since 2006 before being appointed CEO.

“It is truly an honor to be chosen as chief executive officer,” says Huff. “The Co-op has been part of my life since I was a child, and I have spent my career learning from and working with great people in a system with a noble cause – the farmer.

“I want to be very clear when I say that our focus has been, and will continue to be, on the member Co-ops. My career has proven many things to me, not the least of which is that we are better when we work together. I see those opportunities in our future. When you reflect on the history of TFC and the member Co-ops, there are so many success stories, and I believe many more lie ahead. Thank you, Bart, for the career you built at TFC, but more specifically, your role as CEO. Many success stories in our cooperative history have been written during your tenure, and your impact will be felt for many years to come. One of those impacts will be the strategic plan to partner with other strong, likeminded cooperatives.”

Along with Krisle, Huff was instrumental in the development of Co-op Financial Solutions (CFS), which is now utilized by more than 90 percent of member cooperatives and is TFC’s largest patronage income department. He has more than 33 years of experience with TFC, having joined the cooperative in 1988 as a field auditor before transitioning to the role of corporate accountant in 1993, where he was responsible for the corporate Accounts Receivable Department. In 1999, Huff became manager of Field Audit/Regional Accounting where he served until 2006 when he was selected as chief financial officer.

Huff is a certified public accountant and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville. He grew up on a small farm in Fentress County.

He and his wife, Laura, have two children, daughter, Niki and son, Tyler.

Co-op is recognized as one of the strongest federated farm supply cooperative systems in the nation and includes Tennessee Farmers Cooperative (TFC), the 47 member Co-ops, and 11 associate members in neighboring states that own TFC. At the very foundation are the roughly 70,000 farmers who are member-owners of the local Co-ops in their home counties. Some 164 Co-op retail outlets, which operate in 84 of Tennessee’s 95 counties, and across the border in five neighboring states, serve more than half a million customers. Learn more at www.ourcoop.com.

Senior staff appointments

Fischer is CFO; Farmer is COO

Kirk Fischer has been selected to replace Shannon Huff as Tennessee Farmers Cooperative chief financial officer and Phillip Farmer was chosen as chief operating officer. Farmer replaces Jim McWherter who retired from TFC after a 47-year Co-op career in October 2020.

“Both Kirk and Phillip bring important expertise and experience to their new roles,” says TFC Chief Executive Officer Shannon Huff. “Their efforts will be crucial as we follow the strategic direction for increased cooperation through the joint venture strategy and continue to enhance TFC’s value to our member

Co-ops and contract customers.”

Fischer had served as internal auditor since March 2016. He joined TFC in 2003 as a corporate accountant, then transitioned to senior regional accountant in 2013, a role he held until being appointed internal auditor. He holds a master’s degree in accounting and a bachelor’s in business administration from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. Fischer is a certified public accountant and a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors.

Born in Peru, Ind., Fischer grew up in nearby Rochester, graduating from Rochester High School in 1998. He and his wife, Jaime, a former employee of TFC Risk Management, live in Murfreesboro. They have four children — Audrey, 19, who is attending Motlow Community College to become a paramedic; Wyatt, 9; and twins Wes and Theo, 3.

Farmer was named TFC chief marketing officer in January 2019. He brings more than 25 years of experience in business leadership, strategic thinking, planning, marketing, and business developments to his new role. He is the leader, entrepreneur, and founder of FLM Harvest, a strategic consulting, marketing, and communications agency, and The Farmer Group Ltd.

During his tenure as chief marketing officer, Farmer transformed the marketing and communications efforts of TFC for core business units, member Co-ops, and joint ventures while reducing administrative overhead.

Farmer grew up on a corn, soybean, wheat, and cattle farm in northern Ohio, and holds a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University. He has two children, Rory, 19, a freshman at Bowling Green State University, and Quinten, 16, a sophomore in high school. He and his fiancé, Tammy Eckhart, plan to marry on May 14, and they will reside in Mt. Juliet.

 
 
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