Record Cheese Production Fuels AMPI to $15.1 Million in Earnings

A rise in cheese demand helped Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) maintain profitability in 2017 following a record cheese production year.

AMPI reported earnings of $15.1 million during the annual cooperative meeting on March 26.

“Rising milk production on AMPI member farms allowed us to increase cheese production in sync with our customers’ needs,” says Donn DeVelder, AMPI co-president and CEO. “At AMPI, we know cheese. It’s what we do. Total cheese production — natural and processed — reached a record 659 million pounds and accounted for nearly 60 percent of the cooperative’s sales last year.”

In 2017, AMPI had $1.7 billion in sales following the marketing of 5.7 billion lb. of milk produced by cooperative members.

AMPI has been able to strategically increase processing capacity as cheese demand has climbed. This past year the cooperative expanded the Sanborn, Iowa plant.

“We’re making strategic investments that allow us to make more cheese from every pound of milk produced on member farms,” says Sheryl Meshke, co-president and CEO. “As a result, our customers are wrapping their brands around more sticks, chunks, shreds and slices of AMPI cheese. As consumers crave more cheese, we will be the farmer-owned cooperative that delivers.”

AMPI is headquartered in New Ulm, Minn., and owned by dairy farm families from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. The cooperative owns 10 Midwest-based manufacturing plants where 10 percent of the nation’s American-type cheese, butter and dried whey is produced.