Board of Directors

As the new entity, our Board of Directors is composed of 12 members, six selected from each of the predecessor cooperative boards. Our member-owners will be represented by nine district representatives and three at-large representatives.


    John Lowry

    Chairman
    District: 1
    Term Expires: 2018

    John Lowry

    Chairman
    District: 1
    Term Expires: 2018

    Serving as chairman of the Sunrise Cooperative Board of Directors is John Lowry. John represents District One from his Wapakoneta, Ohio farm located in Auglaize County. Dedicating over 28 years of service to the cooperative board, John most recently held the role of chairman at the predecessor Trupointe Cooperative. He also served on the Auglaize Farmers and Advanced AgriSolutions boards.

    A graduate of Wapakoneta High School, John and his wife, Lana, farm corn, soybeans and wheat. John and Lana are the proud parents of six children. Chantee (37) and her husband, Matt, have three children, Baily, Colton and Miah, along with Kyle (34) and his wife, Megan, and children Kaleb and Austin. Brad (33) is married to Ashley and together they have three children, Elijah, Isabella and Emily, while Paul (30) and his wife, Amanda, are the parents of Elijah and Arya. Rounding out the Lowry family is Ryan (27) and his wife, Gayle, and Anna (24) and her spouse, Dustin. John is an active member of the Rouscul Church of Christ and the Auglaize County Farm Bureau. He is a member of the Uniopolis Fire Department for 37 years, where he served as fire chief. You can still find John assisting with the EMS. In his spare time John enjoys cooking, traveling and doing volunteer work.

    A trusted business partner and advisor for John is his cooperative, in which he has a voice and a strong investment. In return, his loyalty is appreciated. “The cooperative expands my opportunities so I am better able to accomplish more in less time,” states John. “It also helps me secure my financial goals resulting in mutual benefits for each.”

    In his role as chairman John understands the value the cooperative presents for its member-owners today and into the future. “Our cooperative can never be content with our current status. We must continue to prepare for our future success and only look back in appreciation.”


    Peter Hazel

    Vice-Chairman
    District: 2
    Term Expires:2017

    Peter Hazel

    Vice-Chairman
    District: 2
    Term Expires:2017

    Peter Hazel of Humphrey Farms in Wakeman, Ohio is a representative in District Three and serves as Vice-Chairman. He joins the board with experience serving as the chairman of the predecessor Sunrise Cooperative from 2014-2015.

    A 1978 graduate from The Ohio State University with a degree in agriculture (agronomy), Peter owns and operates Humphrey Farms in Huron county. Peter’s farming operation consists of popcorn, field corn, soybeans and wheat. Aside from his farming endeavors, Peter has served on the Huron County Farm Bureau for five years, led Ohio Seed Improvement for five years, along with spending five years on the Land O’Lakes Regional Council. He is also active with the Wakeman Congregational Church and the Sandusky Sailing Club.

    Peter and his wife, Susan, have three children, Jessica (34), who is married to JL, and have two children, Amelia and John Arthur, Erin (32) and husband Dave, and their daughter, Emma, and Jason (29). Alongside his family, Peter enjoys hunting, fishing, woodworking and boating.

    Learning about the cooperative system began for Peter as an intern in 1977. “The ability for farmers to join together to create and direct their own company for marketing and purchasing inputs has had a tremendous, positive impact at the farm gate. We need to continue to further ramp up those benefits for our farmer-owners in order for them to be successful today and in the future.”


    Gene Cook

    Secretary
    District: 1
    Term Expires: 2019

    Gene Cook

    Secretary
    District: 1
    Term Expires: 2019

    Gene Cook of Seneca County is a District One representative on the Sunrise Cooperative Board of Directors. He will serve as the board secretary, an office he held at the predecessor Sunrise Cooperative. Gene also served on the River Springs and Country Spring Farmers Cooperative boards.

    Through Moon Light Farms, LLC, Gene farms corn and soybeans, along with his wife, Becky. Gene and Becky have three sons, Jason (35), Kevin (34) and Adam (32), all of which can be found assisting on the farm. Included in the immediate Cook family is Jason’s wife, Shonna, Kevin’s spouse, Beth, and Adam’s wife, Melissa. And rounding out the family are seven grandchildren, Kaitlyn (14), Levi (13), Krista (11), Lauren (7), Caroline (4), Keaton (1) and Owen (2 months). In his spare time, Gene enjoys spending time with his grandchildren and attending church activities.

    A Fremont St. Joseph High School graduate, Gene went on to earn an associate’s degree in engineering. He is active with the Seneca County Farm Bureau, Knights of Columbus and the Clyde St. Mary’s Church Council.

    There has been a good sense of reliability and forward thinking that has surrounded the cooperative over the years and Gene feels it will continue to stay on top of the ever-changing agriculture industry. “Over the years the cooperative has been a company which provides valuable goods and services to area customers. This new cooperative will continue the trend of its two predecessors to keep up with the farming industry.”


    Doug Swaim

    Asst. Secretary
    District: 2
    Term Expires: 2017

    Doug Swaim

    Asst. Secretary
    District: 2
    Term Expires: 2017

    Representing District 2 from Greene County on the Sunrise Cooperative Board of Directors is Doug Swaim. Doug will serve as the Assistant Secretary and will bring experience as the Vice Chairman of the predecessor Trupointe Cooperative to his officer’s role. Aside from his time on the Trupointe board, Doug also represented member-owners on the Southwest Landmark board.

    Based out of Cedarville, Ohio, Doug farms corn and soybeans through S Corp LLC that includes Hickory Dell Farms, Inc. and Swaim Farms LLC. Alongside the farming setup, Doug oversees a gilt multiplier operation. Doug and his wife, Teresa, have two children, Luke and Lilly. The Swaim family attends Grace Baptist Church and Doug is an active member of the Ohio Corn Growers Association, Ohio Soybean Association and the Greene County Farm Bureau. In his free time, Doug enjoys spending time with family and friends, golfing and weekend trips.

    There is a strong connection in the cooperative system between multiple entities and Doug values that link. “I believe the cooperative brings its owners value by being the link between farmers and manufacturers and leading the industry with the newest technologies.” Doug continues that “the success of the cooperative is dependent on the success of its customer-owners.”


    Rick Brill

    District: 3
    Term Expires: 2019

    Rick Brill

    District: 3
    Term Expires: 2019

    Representing District Three from Lorain County is Rick Brill, owner of Brill-View Farms Inc. and J. Brill Land Co. LLC. Rick was a representative for over 25 years on the predecessor Sunrise Cooperative board, and served in the role of vice-chairman in 2014.

    Brill-View Farms Inc. is a farming and dairy operation situated in Wellington, Ohio. The farming operation is centered around corn, soybeans, wheat and hay, with a dairy operation consisting of 120 dairy cows and 250 replacement heifers. Aside from his service on the Sunrise board, Rick also served on the Kipton Elevator and NOBA Board of Directors. Rick is an active member with the Lorain County Farm Bureau, Ohio Holstein Association and the Ohio Dairy Producers.

    Rick and his wife, Janice, have a one daughter, Jessica (33).

    In his role as a member-owner, Rick knows the importance of the cooperative system and the benefits it offers to growers by pooling resources together to allow to obtain products and services on a competitive basis. It also allows Rick to “access the most modern technology which helps reduce costs and manage risk.”

    From his seat on the board, Rick is honored and privileged to serve and is excited to see the advances the cooperative makes.


    Mike Kocher

    District: 3
    Term Expires: 2020

    Mike Kocher

    District: 3
    Term Expires: 2020

    Mike Kocher is representing District 3 on the Sunrise Cooperative Board of Directors. He resides in Marion County and joins the board from the predecessor Sunrise Cooperative. Mike also served on the Country Star board prior to Sunrise.

    MKB Farms Ltd. and Kocher Livestock LLC is based in Galion, Ohio. The farming operation raises corn, soybeans, wheat and hay, while feeding 800 head of fat cattle. Mike earned an associate’s degree in livestock production from The Ohio State University-ATI. He is active with the Ohio Corn Grower’s Association, Ohio Soybean Association, Ohio Cattleman’s Association and the Marion County Farm Bureau.

    The Kocher family is comprised of Mike and his wife, Brenda, along with children, Heather (27) and Nick (25). Joining the immediate family is Heather’s husband, Sam, and their daughter Ellie (2.5), along with Nick’s wife, Becca, and their newborn daughter, Lucy. In his free time, Mike enjoys spending time with family and friends, camping, travelling and playing cards.

    Mike feels that the products, service and people that the cooperative provides brings value to not only his operation, but all member-owners. “The cooperative is a business set up to give me products that are important to my operation at a reasonable price with all the research and knowledge behind them to be profitable. The employees are some of the best in the business and it is a company that positions itself to have the product available when needed. The cooperative is always striving to bring the latest technology and to be here for the customer in the future.”


    James Metzger

    District: At-Large Term Expires: 2018

    James Metzger

    District: At-Large Term Expires: 2018

    Serving as an at-large representative on the Sunrise Cooperative Board of Directors from Auglaize County is James Metzger. James joins the board from the predecessor Trupointe Cooperative.

    Based out of Wapakoneta, Ohio, James farms corn, soybeans and wheat. James and his wife, Corinne, have four children, Noah (15), Natalie (7), Samantha (6) and Trevor (2). James earned a bachelor of science degree in ag business. Aside from his time on the farm, and representing member-owners on the Sunrise board, James serves as the Clay Township Fiscal Officer. He is an active member of St. Marks Lutheran Church and the Ohio Farm Bureau. In his spare time, James enjoys spending time with his family and friends.

    Working together is a key component of a cooperative system according to James. “When membership and the cooperative work together, we can maximize efficiencies and profits.”


    Bart Neer

    District: 2
    Term Expires: 2018

    Bart Neer

    District: 2
    Term Expires: 2018

    A resident of Clark County, Bart Neer represents District Two on the Board of Directors. He has over 32 years of board service and most recently served as the secretary of the predecessor Trupointe Cooperative.

    Bart, in partnership with his son, Eric, farms corn, soybeans and does certified soybean seed production in South Vienna, Ohio. Along with his time on the Trupointe board, Bart has represented member-owners on the boards for Clark Landmark and Southwest Landmark. Bart is also active with the Clark County Farm Bureau, Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association, Ohio Soybean Association and First Christian Church.

    Together with his wife, Karen, the Neer family also includes two grown children, Eric and Julie Jennings. Bart enjoys traveling alongside family and friends, as well as watching sporting events.

    Serving on the board of your cooperative is a role that Bart takes very seriously. “The cooperative is meaningful to me because it is a business owned by its patrons who elect a board of directors that help make decisions that are in the best interest of its members.”


    Benny Ritz

    District: 3
    Term Expires: 2017

    Benny Ritz

    District: 3
    Term Expires: 2017
    (419) 426-5075
    benritz@sunriseco-op.com

    Residing in Attica, Ohio, located in Seneca County, is Ben Ritz. Ben is a District 1 representative on the Sunrise Cooperative Board of Directors. He brings over 20 years of board experience, most recently serving on the predecessor Sunrise Cooperative board.

    Ben also served 13 years on the Country Star Cooperative board. Ben’s farming operation consists of corn and soybeans, while also raising just over 20 head of feeder cattle. Together with his wife, Denise, the Ritz family also includes two daughters, Renae (28) and Hilary (26), and son, Matthew (23). Rounding out the immediate family is Renae’s husband XXXX and their son, XXXX. Ben is also active with the Attica Fair Board and the XXX church council. During his spare time, Ben can be found spending time with his family, trap shooting, hunting, camping, snowmobiling and riding his Harley.

    “A place that provides top-quality products, service and well trained professionals is what Sunrise Cooperative provides now and will well into the future,” according to Ben. “It strives to keep the member-owners up to date with the ever-changing technology in this fast paced changing world.”


    Steve Snider

    District: At-Large Term Expires: 2019

    Steve Snider

    District: At-Large Term Expires: 2019

    A three-year board member from the predecessor company, Trupointe Cooperative, is Steve Snider. Steve resides in Shelby County and is an at-large representative on the board.
     
    A native of Piqua, Ohio, Steve is a 1975 graduate of Piqua Central High School. Together with his son, Steve farms corn soybeans and wheat. He is active with St. Paul’s Church and the Lake Loramie Watershed Board.
     
    Steve and his wife, Kay, have two children, Luke (35) and Sara (33). Luke and his wife, Jen, have four daughters, Makenna (10), Madison (8), Marissa (6) and Mallory (3). Sara is married to John and together they have two children, Grant (3) and Evan (2). Steve enjoys spending time with his family during his down time.
     
    Steve feels that by “working through a cooperative business model, which is owned and governed by its members, is an avenue that everyone can benefit.” In his role on the board, Steve strives to keep the “best interests of the members as top priority in all decisions that are made.”
     


    Dean Sweeting

    District: At-Large
    Term Expires: 2020

    Dean Sweeting

    District: At-Large
    Term Expires: 2020

    Representing the Sunrise Cooperative member-owners as an at-large representative on the board is Dean Sweeting. Dean operates Sweeting Family Farms LLC in North Fairfield, Ohio, located in Huron County. He joins the board from the predecessor Sunrise Cooperative.

    Sweeting Family Farms LLC consists of a corn and soybean farming operation, alongside 15 different fresh market vegetables, peaches and blackberries. Dean and his wife, Jane, have two sons, John (32) and Jeff (30). Outside of his cooperative board experience, Dean has also served on the school, FSA and township zoning boards, along with serving as a Norwalk United Methodist Church trustee. He is also active with the Ohio Corn Growers Association, Ohio Soybean Association, Huron County Farm Bureau, Fruit Growers Association and the Vegetable Growers Association. Dean spends his free time with his grandchildren, riding ATV’s and UTV’s, swimming and family vacations.

    A cooperative covers multiple basis for Dean’s farming operation. “Having a business that is working for me and having a company that I can trust to give me accurate information on hybrid selection, new biologicals, new chemistry, timing and placement of inputs and advancements in technology, as well as contracting grain two or three years into the future” is how Dean views a cooperative. And a cooperative shares its success with its member-owners is an added benefit.


    Kirk Walker

    District: 2
    Term Expires: 2020

    Kirk Walker

    District: 2
    Term Expires: 2020

    Kirk Walker of Clinton County represents District Two on the Sunrise Cooperative Board of Directors. He brings over 25 years of board experience from time served on three predecessor cooperative boards: Clinton Landmark, Southwest Landmark and Trupointe Cooperative.

    A native of New Vienna, Ohio, Kirk, in partnership with his brother, Kent Walker, farms corn and soybeans. Kirk is also an active member of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association, Ohio Soybean Association, Clinton County Farm Bureau and the East Clinton FFA Advisory Board.

    Kirk is a 1989 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Agriculture with a degree in agriculture economics. In 1991 he married his wife, Tammy, and together they have two children, Rebecca (23) and Brice (19). Hobbies that Kirk enjoys are summer boating at local state parks with family, water sports, short Ohio trips and motorcycle riding.

    A strong believer in the cooperative system, Kirk appreciates the value that it brings to his own operation and strives to bring added value to all member-owners from his seat on the board. “Having a stable, competitive co-op in the marketplace for products and services has always been important for our operation. I have always tried to represent all owner/user/patrons in a fair manner, as they are the core owners of the cooperative.”