2019 Speakers

Joe Theisman

Joe Theismann -- Entrepreneur and Former Star Quarterback

Joe Theismann is an entrepreneur and the former star quarterback for the Washington Redskins. Most recently, he spent the last 2 decades working for ESPN and the NFL Network as an NFL analyst.

Joe graduated in 1971 from the University of Notre Dame, where he received All-American honors in both Football and Academics. That same year, he was runner up to Jim Plunket for the Heismann Trophy balloting. Joe chose to begin his career with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League after being drafted by the Miami Dolphins and Major League Baseball’s Minnesota Twins.

A 12-year NFL veteran, Joe played in 163 consecutive games from 1974-1985 for the Washington Redskins and holds Redskin records for passing yardage (25,206), completions (2,044) and attempts (3,602). He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection and Pro Bowl MVP leading the Washington Redskins to a 27-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII.

Joe was selected as the NFL’s Man of the Year in 1982 for his community service and dedication to the health and welfare of children. In 1983, he won the league’s Most Valuable Player Award, leading the Redskins to a second consecutive Super Bowl appearance. Joe Theismann’s career ended abruptly in 1985 after sustaining a badly broken leg during a Monday Night Football game against the New York Giants on national television. In 2003, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and in 2013 received the Walter Camp Football Foundation “Distinguished American” Award.

With every chapter of his life, Mr. Theismann evolved from athlete to the ultimate businessman. An Emmy award winning analyst, business man and athlete, he utilizes his gifts, talent and high energy to share his strategies for handling unforeseen change.

Curt CovingtonCurt Covington -- Executive Vice President - Chief Credit Officer. Farmer Mac

Curt Covington joined Farmer Mac in 2015 and currently serves as Executive Vice President – Chief Credit Officer where he is responsible for the company’s expansive ag real estate portfolio, as well as its credit administration and underwriting functions.

Curt’s extensive experience in ag lending spans over three decades and his passion for rural America developed at a young age on his family’s grape and tree nut farm in Selma, California. Most recently, Curt served as the Managing Director for the Ag and Rural Banking Division at Bank of the West. He has also held various management roles within the Farm Credit System and at Rabobank. In addition to his role at Farmer Mac, Curt is a respected leader in the Agricultural Mortgage industry and is actively involved in leadership roles within industry trade groups.

Curt earned his Bachelor of Arts in Finance at the University of Southern California and earned a Masters in Agribusiness from Santa Clara University.

Shannon FerrellShannon Ferrell -- Associate Professor, Oklahoma State University 

Shannon Ferrell is an associate professor in the Oklahoma State University department of agricultural economics, where he specializes in Agricultural Law.

He grew up on a cattle and wheat operation in Western Oklahoma, and obtained his bachelor’s degree and master’s degrees in agricultural economics from OSU before obtaining his Juris Doctorate from the Oklahoma City University School of Law with endorsements in estate planning and business and financial services law. Shannon spent a number of years in full-time private practice before joining OSU in the summer of 2007.

As an educator and speaker, Shannon helps audiences all over North America understand the fundamental legal elements of farm business management and farm transition planning. In private practice, he helps farm families with the legal mechanics of the farm transition process.


Chip FloryChip Flory -- Host, AgriTalk. Farm Journal Economist

Chip joined Pro Farmer as a floor reported for Futures World News in January 1988 after graduating from Iowa State University with a degree in ag journalism. He spent three years reporting from the floors of the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange as bureau chief for FWN. Chip moved to the Pro Farmer headquarters in 1991 where he started as electronic services editor. With Pro Farmer, he served as senior market analyst, general manager, editor of the company’s flagship newsletter for 17 years, editorial director and is now editor emeritus for Pro Farmer. Chip is the host of Farm Journal Media’s issues-driven “AgriTalk” and markets-driven “AgriTalk After the Bell.” Chip is also the Farm Journal economist, providing market insights for readers in each issue of Farm Journal.


Mike McCullyMike McCully -- The McCully Group, LLC

Mike McCully owns The McCully Group, LLC, a firm that provides strategic consulting services to dairy and food companies. The McCully Group has worked with many of the top dairy and food companies in North America as well as major global food companies. Client projects include business analysis, procurement and supply chain strategies, market research, and commodity risk management. In addition, The McCully Group has provided subject matter expertise for global consulting companies, private equity firms, and Wall Street investment banks.

Mike has spoken at numerous conferences around the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Prior to starting The McCully Group, Mike worked for over 15 years at Kraft Foods where he held management roles in dairy, meat, and grain purchasing. Mike has worked on many dairy industry issues and served on the Board of Directors for International Dairy Foods Association’s (IDFA) Milk Industry Foundation and the Dairy Institute of California and is currently a member of IDFA’s Dairy Ingredients board. He has been a member of IDFA’s Legislative Oversight Committee, IDFA’s Farm Bill Committee, the National Cheese Institute’s Economic Policy and Legislative Committee, and the California Dairy Institute’s Producer Relations committee. He is also a member of American Dairy Products Institute Center of Excellence.

Mike grew up on a grain and beef cattle farm in north central Illinois and remains active in the beef industry through his partnerships in purebred Angus and Hereford cattle. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from Western Illinois University and a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Illinois.

Michael NepveuxMichael Nepveux, Economist, American Farm Bureau Federation

Michael Nepveux serves as an Economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation. His issue portfolio consists of livestock and dairy markets, farm bill and federal crop insurance, renewable fuels, biotechnology, agricultural data issues, and endangered species issues.

AFBF is the nation’s largest organization representing farmers and ranchers. AFBF is the unified national voice of agriculture, working through our grassroots organizations to enhance and strengthen the lives of rural Americans and to build strong, prosperous agricultural communities.

Nepveux joined the American Farm Bureau Federation as an economist in May of 2018. He comes to AFBF from Informa Economics’ Agribusiness Consulting Group, where he was a consultant charged with conducting market, policy and economic research and analysis in several fields including agriculture, agricultural risk management, transportation and renewable energy. His prior experience also includes internships and placements with the Agriculture Department’s Foreign Agricultural Service and the House Agriculture Committee.

Nepveux earned a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness and economics and a master’s degree in agricultural economics, both from Texas A&M University.

Mike NorthMike North -- Commodity Risk Management Group

Mike grew up on his family's dairy farm in southeastern Wisconsin. His lifelong interest in agriculture production led him to the University of Wisconsin - Platteville, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agribusiness with a minor in Dairy Science. While still a student, Mike served a one-year term as a Wisconsin State FFA Officer. Mike began his work in the futures industry in 1995 as an intern with a local brokerage company researching the technical and fundamental dynamics of commodity market history and current price trends. As the company grew, Mike's responsibilities grew as well.  His team was often recognized around the country as one of the pioneers of market responsive option hedging programs and were invited by groups across the country to share their knowledge.

After nearly two decades in the business, Mike founded Commodity Risk Management Group (CRMG) (www.crmg.us) in 2014.  His team of brokers and advisors leads production and processing clients in their efforts to construct marketing plans and margin management programs. Taking it a step further, CRMG goes beyond the traditional futures and options services to construct programs that manage local market variables as well. Additionally, Mike uses his experience to educate today’s producers and businessmen about the tools available for price protection and risk management.

Mike has been published in several agricultural periodicals, is a regular guest on several national programs such as AgDay, RFDTV, and the U.S. Farm Report, can be heard frequently on several local and national radio programs, served as a part time lecturer at the University of Wisconsin – Platteville and is a featured speaker at programs across the country. In 2008, Mike was elected to the board of directors of the Dairy Business Association (DBA), an organization which represents the dairy industry and its economic and environmental stake in Wisconsin. He now serves as their president. Mike has been honored as the 2006 Rising Star in Business for the IA, IL, & WI Tri-State Region and in 2011 as the recipient of the UW-Platteville Outstanding Alumni Award. 

Mike and his wife Jennifer have four daughters and are actively involved in showing animals, the leadership of their church as well as several community initiatives. Mike is an avid sportsman who enjoys hunting, fishing, biking and skiing.

Phil PlourdPhil Plourd -- President, Blimling and Associates, Inc.

Phil Plourd is President of Blimling and Associates, Inc. and President of the services division of Dairy.com. He has been involved in dairy market and food industry analysis, research, forecasting, consulting and risk management activities for more than 20 years. Phil draws on that experience to lead an expert team of 15 professionals helping clients find better ways to do business – across the supply chain and around the world. He is a popular speaker who engages audiences on a variety of topics.

A resident of Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, Phil also serves on the Board of Directors of the Madison Public Library Foundation.