Farm supply retailer Southern States Cooperative has promoted Steve Becraft to chief operating officer and hired Sean Knapp as their new executive vice president of agronomy.

Knapp will lead the co-op’s Agronomy Business Unit, which includes agronomy product line leadership and logistics for both their wholesale and retail businesses. He’ll also focus on maximizing the co-op’s agronomy supplier relationships. 

"I'm honored to join the Southern States team, with nearly 100 years of history serving its members and customers,” Knapp said. “I look forward to the opportunity to have a positive impact on the long-term success of our members, customers and employees." 

Knapp most recently held a Commercial Lead position with Compass Minerals, makers of Wolf Trax. Prior to his time at Compass Minerals, Sean held a variety of leadership positions in sales, marketing, strategy and commercial leadership over the course of 19 years with Syngenta Crop Protection. His early career included a sales position with Twin County Farm Service Company, an Illinois cooperative, where he was a Certified Crop Adviser. He holds a B.S. degree in agribusiness economics from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. 

“We’re excited to welcome someone with Sean’s diverse ag experience and leadership capabilities to lead our Agronomy Business Unit,” said Jeff Stroburg, president and CEO for Southern States. “His experience and track record of success will provide the leadership we need to expand on the success that Steve Becraft has initiated over the past couple of years. This move also allows us to expand Steve’s role to improve retail operations across the company and we look forward to the positive results that will bring.”     

Steve Becraft, Southern States’ previous head of agronomy, moves into the role of chief operating officer, a new position within the organization that will focus on operational excellence through engagement of the co-op’s company owned retail stores, and elevating the importance of their member cooperatives. 

“I’m humbled and honored to serve Southern States and our farmer owners in this new capacity,” Becraft said. “I look forward to working with our talented and dedicated teammates across the company. This is an exciting time for our cooperative as we continue to build positive momentum in an ever changing market place.”