The Tennessee Farmers Cooperative Board has selected Shannon Huff of Bell Buckle to succeed Bart Krisle as chief executive officer (CEO) of TFC. Krisle announced that he will retire June 4 after a career spanning 38 years, including the last 14 as CEO.
Krisle 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,” said Thompson. “His work in establishing Consolidated Financial Services 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 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, said Thompson.
“As we begin the cooperative’s 76th year, he becomes only the seventh person to lead TFC as CEO,” he said. “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,” stated 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.”
He continued, “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!”
Huff thanked Krisle for the career he built at TFC, but more specifically, for his 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 CFS, which is now utilized by more than 90% of member cooperatives and is now TFC’s largest patronage income department. He has more than 33 years of experience with TFC. He joined the cooperative in 1988 as a field auditor then transitioned to the role of corporate accountant in 1993, where he was responsible for the corporate accounts receivable department. In 1999, he became manager of Field Audit/Regional Accounting where he served until 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) and 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.