The boards of directors for Family Dairies USA, Manitowoc Milk Producers Cooperative and Milwaukee Cooperative Milk Producers have called for a membership vote on the proposed merger of the three cooperatives.
The call for member votes comes after a series of information-sharing opportunities. Following the announcement of a unanimous board vote to recommend a unified merger for the membership earlier this fall, all cooperative members received additional information on the merger through regional meetings. Detailed literature and a voting ballot via mail were also distributed to all cooperative members.
If passed by the membership vote, the three cooperatives could become the largest Midwest dairy marketing cooperative, offering immense collaborative opportunities to all members.
“This is an exciting and historic opportunity for our members,” says David Cooper, general manager of Family Dairies USA. “Each cooperative is built on a deep history and the combined strength and brand value of all three organizations will provide a larger platform and significant opportunities to our members.”
“If passed, the collaborative power of the three organizations will provide our members with a more powerful voice in milk marketing policy while allowing for expanded direct services to members,” adds Dennis Donohue, general manager of Manitowoc Milk Producers Cooperative. “Members will also see benefits of greater efficiencies which we have already begun to identify.”
“To achieve these efficiencies and move towards the future, members need to make their voices heard,” says Jim Bird, general manager of Milwaukee Cooperative Milk Producers. “Each member’s vote is important in this historic process. We encourage all members to vote yes on this promising opportunity.”
Membership votes on the proposed merger must be received by the member’s respective cooperative by 4 p.m. on Dec. 17, if sent via mail. Members are encouraged to mail their ballots to the listed office within their information packet in advance to meet the deadline. Members may also hand-deliver their vote on Dec. 18 to their respective cooperatives’ special meeting being held to approve the merger and count ballots. If the merger passes, the new, combined cooperative will begin business function Jan. 1, 2013.
Family Dairies USA, based in Madison, Wis., is a grassroots, non-partisan, regional dairy co-op organization dedicated to bring fairness and equity to its family farm members in dairy policy matters and to provide excellence in dairy marketing services at reasonable prices. Family Dairies represents approximately 2,300 farms.
Manitowoc Milk Producers Cooperative, based in Manitowoc, Wis., was established in 1933 and represents more than 2,650 farms. The cooperative provides required Federal Milk Marketing Order services to members and is co-owner of a milk quality testing laboratory for components, cultures and somatic cell counts.
Milwaukee Cooperative Milk Producers, based in Brookfield, Wis., represents approximately 500 farms, providing insurance alternatives to dairy producers. Together with Manitowoc Milk Producers Cooperative, they co-own Fox Valley Quality Control Laboratory in Neenah, Wis. The cooperative was established in 1916.