Michigan Milk Producers Association considering expansion

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The 98th Annual Delegate Meeting of the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) was held on March 20 at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Mich.

President Ken Nobis and General Manager Clay Galarneau discussed changes taking place in the industry and cooperative. Both leaders discussed MMPA’s processing expansion studies to accommodate member milk production growth, and indicated the cooperative would likely be announcing a final decision in the coming months.

They also highlighted MMPA’s strong 2013 earnings and the record 535 milk quality awards distributed to members.

“Our pay prices have been, and continue to remain, competitive in the industry. We are maintaining and growing the assets in the cooperative necessary to ensure members’ investment in the ownership of MMPA continues to provide value for their milk marketing needs,” Galarneau said.

Business conducted by the delegates included the re-election of Rodney Daniels, of Whittemore, to an at-large position on the board of directors, changes to the cooperative’s bylaws and adoption of the 2014 MMPA resolutions.

In a special presentation, MMPA recognized Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow for her persistent, dedicated work on the 2014 Farm Bill. Nobis presented the senator with a “Champion of Dairy” award banner and wall hanging while the crowd thanked her with a standing ovation. Sen. Stabenow commented, “We worked for over four years to pass the farm bill and our work is not over. In the coming months, we will continue to ensure the rules are written in a way that’s fair and feasible for Michigan farmers. I know how hard you work on your farms, and I’m proud to work hard for you in Washington.”

Also in attendance at the meeting, National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern relayed the organization’s gratitude for MMPA members’ support of the 2014 Farm Bill. “Thank you for calling your legislators and being involved in the process as we worked to formulate a better safety net for American dairy farmers. With your help, we’ve secured risk insurance options to more effectively protect hardworking dairymen and women,” he said.

MMPA Treasurer Mark Halbert presented the financial status of the cooperative, reporting a net savings in fiscal year 2013 of $6.5 million. Halbert also illustrated the strength of MMPA in the marketplace and the amount of dollars returned to members in the past year in the form of premium payments.

Nobis recognized 64 individuals holding MMPA membership for 35 years. He honored these individuals for their commitment and hard work to the dairy industry and MMPA. Each 35-year member was presented with a plaque.

Guest speaker Steve Peterson, General Mills director of sourcing sustainability, told the delegates, “Sustainability is all about spreading the word about the good stewardship stories already happening on MMPA farms. We’ve enjoyed working with such committed, quality producers shipping to the Reed City Yoplait Plant to lay the groundwork for a future of effective, reasonable dairy processing sustainability efforts.” In recognition of MMPA members’ participation in the General Mills sustainability pilot program, Peterson presented a $7,000 check to the Michigan Dairy Memorial and Scholarship Foundation.

The 2013 District Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators (OYDC) were also honored at the meeting including Mike and Jordan Noll, of Croswell, who were officially recognized as MMPA’s 2013 OYDC.

Dean Letter, Member Services Department director, and Frank Brazeau, member representative, presented Jacob and Elaine Jahfetson and family of Baraga, Mich. with the highest quality milk production award. The Jahfetsons achieved the best quality records in 2013 among MMPA’s over 1,200 farms.

Michigan Milk Producers Association is a member owned and controlled milk-marketing cooperative serving over 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio.

Read also: MMPA returns $2 million of cash patronage refunds to members


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