The International Dairy Foods Association presented several dairy processor and producer awards during the organization's annual Dairy Forum, held this week in Palm Desert, Calif.
Soaring Eagle Awards
Soaring Eagle awards, recognizing leadership in the dairy industry, within IDFA and its affiliates (International Ice Cream Association, the Milk Industry Foundation and the National Cheese Institute) were presented to: Mike Nosewicz, vice president, Fresh Dairy, The Kroger Co.; Ed Mullins, executive vice president and CEO, Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc.; and Jon Davis, president and CEO, Davisco Foods International, Inc.
Nosewicz served as IDFA chairman from 2011-2013 and IDFA vice chairman from 2009 to 2011. He also served as chairman of the Milk Industry Foundation from 2009 to 2011, MIF vice chairman from 2008 to 2009 and MIF treasurer from 2007 to 2008.
While leading Prairie Farms Dairy Inc., a farmer-owned dairy cooperative headquartered in Carlinville, Ill., Mullins became increasing involved in leadership positions in the industry as well. He served as chairman of the Milk Industry Foundation from 2011 to 2013, vice chairman from 2009 to 2011 and secretary from 2007 to 2009. He also served as IDFA secretary from 2012 to 2013 and treasurer from 2011 to 2012.
Davis served as the chairman of the National Cheese Institute from 2011 to 2013, vice chairman from 2009 to 2011 and treasurer from 2007 to 2009. He also served as IDFA vice chairman from 2012 to 2013 and secretary from 2011 to 2012.
Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year
Milk Source, LLC, of Kaukauna, Wis., was named 2014 Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year. The award recognizes U.S. dairy producers that apply creativity, excellence and forward thinking to achieve greater on-farm productivity and improved milk marketing.
Milk Source earned two nominations, one from Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture Ben Brancel and another from David Crass and Anna Wildeman, attorneys with Michael Best &; Friedrich LLP, in Madison, Wis. All three attended the ceremony where Jim Ostrom, president and CEO of Milk Source, accepted the award.
The other owners are John Vosters, who manages the livestock, and Todd Willer, who handles facility and farming operations. Willer is also the lead on all building and site renovations. This partnership has allowed the farm to grow from 180 cows in 1994 to nearly 27,000 cows today.
Milk Source has six locations across Wisconsin with four facilities – Tidy View Dairy, Omro Dairy, Rosendale Dairy and New Chester Dairy – that focus on milk production. Calf Source is a calf-raising facility, and Milk Source Genetics is home to an elite herd of high genetics Holstein cattle. The company also recently expanded into Kansas with the acquisition of a modern heifer-raising facility.
The farms use an array of innovative management practices, such as bio digesters, as well as production efficiency technologies, including a new biogas plant that will include a public education center when complete. Rosendale Dairy will use this plant to generate 1.4 megawatts of electricity to help the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with its goal for carbon neutrality on campus.
NCI Laureate Award
The National Cheese Institute bestowed its highest honor, the NCI Laureate Award, on Robert G. Bush, chairman emeritus of Schreiber Foods, Inc., Green Bay, Wis. The award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the development and growth of the cheese industry.
The son of Schreiber Food's founder, Merlin G. Bush, Bob Bush dedicated his entire career to the cheese industry. Bush holds 17 patents and revolutionized the industry with his engineering and technical expertise, which led to the invention of technology that gave the world individually wrapped processed cheese slices.
During Bush's tenure with Schreiber Foods, the company grew from one plant and $12 million in sales to 19 plants with $1.5 billion in sales.
Videos highlighting the award recipients can be viewed at IDFA's YouTube channel.