FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative celebrated its first year as a recently-merged cooperative by hosting its second annual meeting, Feb. 14-15 in Appleton, Wis. Over 200 dairy producers and industry members gathered together for the event, gaining insight on industry exports and better practices in addition to sharing perspective on the year ahead.
“Our second annual meeting provided members with the opportunity to reflect on the past year, to suggest new initiatives and consider other improvements to be made throughout our cooperative divisions,” said David Cooper, general manager for FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative. “Our members’ ideas and perspective are vital in laying the foundation for our cooperative, ensuring that it continues to provide the greatest value to its members.”
In Producer Discovery Workshops, producer Keith York and his veterinarian Tom Strause presented on their farm’s protocols in preserving the quality of beef as a dairy producer in addition to the quality of milk, and how quality record keeping came into play.
Marin Bozic, an assistant professor within dairy economics at the University of Minnesota, concluded the afternoon with his detailed explanation of the new Farm Bill and federal dairy policy.
During the evening banquet, staff members and board directors were recognized for their years of service. Field staff member, Denny Pank was recognized for 20 years of service (beginning with his tenure at Family Dairies USA). Dennis Olsen served as the Controller since 2007 for Family Dairies and helped the cooperative transition through the merger until retiring this past year. Dennis Donohue received the Meritorious Service Award for his leadership as general manager, first at Manitowoc Milk Producers and then this past year at FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative, until his retirement at the end of 2013. Board members Thomas Breuer, Bill Klink, Rae Kohn and Marvin Anderson were also awarded for their years of service on the Board of Directors.
“Nothing has been more rewarding than working with such dedicated members. Your chosen field of work speaks volumes for your ethic and values. Our cooperative then and now would have not been
what it was without your dedication and your commitment,” said Dennis Donohue. “Thank you for the opportunity to work with you in this capacity.”
The cooperative’s business meeting began on Feb. 15.
“This past year has proven to be a very excitin one for the cooperative and its board of directors, as we navigated through this year’s transition,” said KFarmFirst Dairy Cooperative President Peter Kleiman. “There is still work ahead of us and industry issues to be represented. With our members’ as our priority, we as directors will be ready to discuss and deliberate until we find the right solution.”