LANSING, Mich.—As the coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to spread, the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) remains steadfast in its mission to market members’ milk to the greatest advantage possible while taking actions to protect the health and safety of our communities. Deemed a critical infrastructure business, MMPA continues to support the local and national dairy supply chain to ensure consumers have a safe, reliable supply of milk and dairy products.

In addition to continued business with customers, MMPA is responding to increased need at food banks in the Great Lakes region with dairy product donations. In Indiana, MMPA is donating cheese from Heritage Ridge Creamery to Second Helpings, an organization focused on providing meals to individuals and families in need, with particular emphasis now amidst the COVID-19 issue.  Additional cheese is also being donated to the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, an organization that provides food assistance in a six-county area in Northern Indiana.

Further, MMPA, along with Kroger’s Michigan Dairy plant, will donate over 2,020 pounds of milk per day to the Food Bank Council of Michigan throughout 2020. The first load of milk was delivered this week and the total donation of around 85,000 gallons of milk will ultimately reach all 83 counties of Michigan. MMPA has donated over 333,000 gallons of milk since 2015 including this year’s donation announced at MMPA’s 104th Annual State Delegate Meeting on March 12.

MMPA’s modified members- and employees-only annual meeting was held at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Michigan. Considering the continued spread of the coronavirus disease, MMPA limited the meeting to a reduced number of attendees. The meeting took place with a shortened agenda to conduct official business in accordance with MMPA bylaws. As the COVID-19 situation has processed, MMPA has been evaluating scheduled meetings, with many being canceled or postponed.

Unified by the theme, “Cultivating Connections. Driving Innovation.,” MMPA leaders at the modified meeting asserted the significance of building partnerships for the betterment of MMPA dairy farmer members and the dairy community.

In the MMPA board chairman report, Kris Wardin reflected on the prior year while asserting how the MMPA board of directors is guiding the cooperative in line with the meeting’s theme. “By cultivating connections – with our elected officials, other co-ops, customers and ultimately our end-user consumers – we can continue to build an even stronger co-op that will last another 100+ years,” he said. “But we have to be proactive! We must drive innovation with new products and look for partnerships that fit our core values.”

Joe Diglio, MMPA president and CEO, described how establishing relationships and building a strong team builds momentum for the future. “The more you learn and adapt to the challenges ahead, the more success you will have,” he said. “And to learn and adapt means you must trust each other on how to navigate the challenges.”

MMPA Treasurer Eric Frahm presented the financial status of the cooperative and reported annual revenue of $850 million.

Business conducted by the delegates included the adoption of the 2020 MMPA resolutions and election of MMPA members Kris Wardin and Bruce Lewis to the board of directors in three-year, at-large positions.

In the board reorganizational meeting held at the conclusion of the delegate meeting, the following officers were elected: Doug Chapin as board chairman, Tony Jandernoa as board vice chairman and Eric Frahm as treasurer.

The annual meeting proceedings also involved recognition of several MMPA members:

  • James Weber, of Vassar, Michigan as the 2019 Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperator
  • Leroy Zimmerman, of Carson City, Michigan, as the Top Quality Award Winner
  • Members who achieved membership milestones of 35 or 50 years with MMPA:
    • 50-Year Member: Dale E. Weidmayer
    • 35-Year Members: Robert W. Coulombe, Daniel & Dorothy Ritter, Randy G. Dragt, Brent & Nancy Wilson, David Adkinson, Raymond Bucholz, Jane M. Wood, Mark S. Rau, Robert A. Rau, James R. Richmond and Keith M. Richmond

The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) is a dairy farmer owned cooperative founded in 1916. MMPA serves approximately 1,300 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, handling approximately 5 billion pounds of milk annually. MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 certified manufacturing plants in Michigan and a cheese plant in Indiana.

Seventeen Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) dairy farmer members were recently awarded National Dairy Quality Awards by the National Mastitis Council (NMC), making up nearly 45 percent of the total winners. Honored at the NMC annual meeting in Orlando, Florida last week, these MMPA members were among 38 nationally recognized farms in the annual award program.

Two MMPA farms earned the highest honor, which was granted to only six dairy farms in the U.S. The platinum award winners were Kris and Carla Wardin of Evergreen Dairy in St. Johns, Michigan and Brent, Nancy, Tyler, Ben Wilson of Wilson Centennial Farm in Carson City, Michigan. MMPA farms won seven gold awards, eight silver awards in addition to four honorable mentions.

MMPA offers a portfolio of member services to help members produce the highest quality milk possible, with field representatives working closely with each member to achieve quality goals. MMPA also offers a quality premium incentive for its members producing higher quality milk.

MMPA’s large representation in the NMC National Dairy Quality Award program underscores the hard work of the cooperative’s farms while competing against other well-performing farmers across the country.

“MMPA dairy farms have a reputation for producing high quality milk and this year’s representation in the National Dairy Quality Awards is yet another a testament to maintaining excellence,” Ben Chapin, manager of field services said.

The winners were selected from a pool of 82 applicants nationwide. The winning operations stood out for consistently producing high-quality milk. Applications were evaluated for measures of quality, systems of monitoring udder health, milking routine, protocols for detection and treatment of clinical and subclinical cases of mastitis and strategies for overall herd health and welfare. MMPA winners were nominated by their member representatives.

The National Mastitis Council, along with quality partners Boehringer Ingelheim, GEA, Ecolab, IBA Inc., Conewango, milc Group and Hoard’s Dairyman sponsored the awards. The National Mastitis Council (NMC) is a not-for-profit professional organization devoted to reducing mastitis and enhancing milk quality. The NMC promotes research and provides information to the dairy industry on udder health, milking management, milk quality and milk safety.

 

Platinum Awards

  • Wilson Centennial Farm of Carson City, Michigan
  • Evergreen Dairy of St. Johns of Michigan

 

Gold Awards

  • Crandall Dairy Farms LLC of Battle Creek, Michigan
  • De Grins Oer Dairy of Blanchard, Michigan
  • Van Polen Farms of Marion, Michigan
  • Rubingh’s Dairyland LLC of Ellsworth, Michigan
  • Wirth Farms of Evart, Michigan
  • Gross Farm Inc of Weidman, Michigan
  • Raterink Dairy Farm of Zeeland, Michigan

 

Silver Awards

  • Dick Haven Farms LLC – Jersey Operation of McBain, Michigan
  • Schultz Dairy LLC of Sandusky, Michigan
  • Bosscher Dairy of McBain, Michigan
  • Spring Lake Farm of Stanton, Michigan
  • Benthem Brothers Inc of McBain, Michigan
  • Nienhuis Family Dairy of Zeeland, Michigan
  • Bontrager Farm of Wolcottville, Indiana
  • Leroy Zimmerman of Carson City, Michigan

 

Honorable Mention

  • Higgins Farm of Grant, Michigan
  • Ephraim Martin of Sheridan, Michigan
  • Dodde Dale Farms LLC of Falmouth, Michigan
  • Gilde Farms of Lake City, Michigan

 

The Michigan Milk Producers Association–established in 1916–is a member-owned and operated milk marketing cooperative and dairy processor serving approximately 1,300 dairy farmers throughout Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana. In addition to a cheese plant in Indiana, MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 dairy ingredient plants in Michigan, producing butter, nonfat dry milk powder, condensed skim milk, cream and whole milk powder.

Nine students at Michigan State University were awarded scholarships, thanks to the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA). As a long-time supporter of dairy education, the MMPA annually sponsors scholarships for members, their children and employees enrolled at Michigan State University (MSU)

For the 2019-2020 academic year, MMPA awarded 9 scholarships, totaling over $20,000. The scholarship recipients were honored and introduced to MMPA members at the annual Leaders’ Conference on Nov. 22 in East Lansing, Michigan.

“The legacy of our cooperative is made stronger by supporting the education of future dairy industry leaders. These scholarships encourage the next generation to develop new skills and pursue careers in the dairy industry,” said Joe Diglio, MMPA President & CEO.

The scholarship fund aims to assist young students pursuing a career in the dairy industry. Scholarships are awarded based on academics, involvement in the dairy industry and letters of recommendation.

The MSU scholarships available are for students enrolled in the Dairy Management Program. According to the MSU Institute of Agricultural Technology, the program delivers innovative, educational programs that develop career-ready graduates through intensive, practical learning and skill enhancement. Students in the dairy management program, advised by Dr. Joe Domecq, undergo a two year, hands-on training program for careers in the dairy industry. A key component of the program is the completion of an internship at a dairy farm different than the student’s home farm.

Scholarship applications for the 2020-2021 academic year are due Sept. 1, 2020. In continuation of MMPA’s efforts to support youth development and education, MMPA is a supporter of the Michigan Dairy Ambassador Scholarship and Leadership program and the Michigan Dairy Memorial and Scholarship Foundation.

Scholarship Recipients

  • Wyatt Lamb of Jeddo, Michigan
  • Calvin Minnis of Dansville, Michigan
  • Shania Drake of Pigeon, Michigan
  • Adam Jones of Mason, Michigan
  • Olivia Walker of Lapeer, Michigan
  • Kassidy Thelen of Westphalia, Michigan
  • Jack Baker of Byron Center, Michigan
  • Ian Black of Eagle, Michigan
  • Mikayla Bowen of Hudson, Michigan
MSU scholarship students were honored at the MMPA Leaders’ Conference on Nov. 22 (L-R): Jack Baker, Ian Black, Mikalya Bowen, Calvin Minnis, Shania Drake, Olivia Walker and Wyatt Lamb.

MADISON, Wisc. — Butter made in southwest Michigan by farmer-owned Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) was today awarded top honors from the World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest. First, second and third place awards were granted to unsalted butter made at MMPA’s dairy plant in Constantine, Michigan.

In the cheese division, MMPA’s Colby-jack cheese—made by subsidiary Middlebury Cheese Company in northern Indiana—won third place in the Colby or Monterrey jack cheese category. MMPA has competed in the North American contest for nine years.

“Excellence starts with our member-owners’ high-quality milk and the dedication of our plant teams to produce award-winning products,” MMPA President and CEO Joe Diglio said. “We are proud of these accomplishments that continue to be recognized at World Dairy Expo.”

“The commitment of our team shines in the quality of our products,” MMPA Constantine Plant Manager Dave Davis said. “We are proud of our product made right here in the Great Lakes region.”

The World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest is the only North American judging contest which encompasses all dairy products. The contest received over one thousand entries in 75 product classes including cheese, butter, fluid milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream, cultured milk and dried whey from throughout the United States.

A contest auction of all first-place entries will take place during the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin today. As a result of this contest, the Wisconsin Dairy Products Association (WDPA) annually funds two scholarships for students preparing for careers in the dairy industry. WDPA also funds a culinary arts scholarship and donates to the National Collegiate Judging Contest which trains college students the art of evaluating dairy products.

MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 dairy ingredient plants in Michigan and a cheese plant in Indiana. In addition to butter, MMPA’s dairy ingredient plants manufacture nonfat dry milk, condensed skim milk, cream and whole milk powder. MMPA sells its products to food manufacturers who make infant formulas, candy, ice cream, pudding, baked goods, cheese and yogurt. The Colby-jack cheese and 2 pound rolls of butter are sold at the Heritage Ridge Creamery store in Middlebury, Indiana and online at www.heritageridgecreamery.com.

MMPA is a dairy farmer owned cooperative founded in 1916. MMPA serves approximately 1,600 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, handling approximately 5 billion pounds of milk annually. MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 certified manufacturing plants in Michigan and a cheese plant in Indiana. Products made at MMPA’s plants include cheese, ultra-filtered milk, butter, milk powder, cream and condensed skim milk.

The top five interviewees were announced during the State 4-H Dairy Banquet on July 18. From left, Hope Shilling, Madison Halfman, Adalee Thelen, Kassidy Thelen and Joshua Tripp.

NOVI, Mich.—Five Michigan youth will travel to Wisconsin this fall for the National 4-H Dairy Conference, thanks to a sponsorship from the Michigan Milk Producers Association. The top five selected are: Adalee Thelen, Clinton County; Kassidy Thelen, Clinton County; Madison Halfman, Clinton County; Hope Shilling, Branch County and Joshua Tripp, Ottawa County. The alternates are Ian Black, Clinton County and Corbin Redman, Gratiot County.

The students were selected as Michigan delegates after attending the MMPA 4-H Milk Marketing Tour held annual in Novi, Michigan, at the MMPA headquarters. The participants with the highest scores on a dairy industry and cooperative quiz administered at the end of the tour were invited to interview in East Lansing during the Michigan Dairy Expo. The top five interviewees were announced during the State 4-H Dairy Banquet on July 18 and awarded a sponsored trip to the National 4-H Dairy Conference in Madison, Wisconsin on September 29 to October 2.

The National 4-H Dairy Conference, held in conjunction with World Dairy Expo, brings future dairy leaders together build upon their knowledge of the dairy industry. The five students sponsored by MMPA will join approximately 200 delegates from the U.S. and Canada.

During the MMPA 4-H Milk Marketing Tour on June 27-28, 21 youth from nine counties came together to learn about milk marketing and cooperatives. MMPA has welcomed 4-H and FFA members to the cooperative’s headquarters for over 80 years to be immersed in the operations of the dairy cooperative and educated about milk marketing principles.

Co-sponsored by MMPA and Michigan State University Extension, the Milk Marketing Tour is the longest running 4-H tour in existence with thousands of participant alumni. Throughout the tour, participants learned about the role of milk marketing cooperatives through interactive activities involving the MMPA staff members. Additionally, students visited Kroger’s Michigan Dairy plant in Livonia to see how milk is processed and packaged once it leaves the farm.

MMPA is a dairy farmer owned cooperative founded in 1916. MMPA serves approximately 1,600 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, handling approximately 5 billion pounds of milk annually. MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 certified manufacturing plants in Michigan and a cheese plant in Indiana. Products made at MMPA’s plants include cheese, ultra filtered milk, butter, milk powder, cream and condensed skim milk.

MMPA to donate 150 gallons of milk and 50 pounds of cheese per day for one year to the Food Bank Council of Michigan

LANSING, Mich.—Food banks across the state of Michigan will receive a new batch of milk and cheese this year, thanks to a dairy cooperative and processor, the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA). MMPA celebrated its partnership with the Food Bank Council of Michigan (FBCM) with a Valued Partner award presented today in Lansing, Michigan during MMPA’s annual meeting.

“Our partnership with the Food Bank Council of Michigan began in 2015 and has resulted in thousands of families in Michigan receiving fresh milk—one of the most requested and nutrient rich food bank items,” Ken Nobis, MMPA president and dairy farmer said.

During the award presentation, MMPA announced a donation of 150 gallons of milk and 50 pounds of cheese per day for an entire year to the FBCM. The Kroger Company of Michigan is donating the processing and packaging of the milk at their Michigan Dairy plant in Livonia, Michigan. The cheese comes from MMPA’s subsidiary brand, Heritage Ridge Creamery, based in Middlebury, Indiana.

“We are grateful for the council’s hunger relief efforts in helping our neighbors,” Nobis said. “Today, we honor the organization with our Valued Partner award and look forward to our continued partnership with another donation in 2019.”

Food banks need fresh food like milk and cheese to support Michigan residents, one of seven of which struggle with hunger. FBCM is made up of member regional food banks in the state of Michigan. Through their distribution network, the donated dairy products will reach all 83 counties of Michigan.

“Partnerships are the key to ending food insecurity in Michigan,” said Phil Knight, executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan. “MMPA and its members are one of our most valued partners. Their significant contributions of fresh, wholesome milk is vital, especially for our children.”

The announcements were made at MMPA’s 103rd Annual Meeting in Lansing, Michigan. Approximately 400 dairy farmer members and guests gathered at the meeting today to discuss the current dairy industry, recognize members, adopt policy resolutions and elect board members.

 

About Michigan Milk Producers Association:

The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) is a dairy farmer owned cooperative founded in 1916. MMPA serves approximately 1,600 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, handling approximately 5 billion pounds of milk annually. MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 certified manufacturing plants in Michigan and a cheese plant in Indiana. Products made at MMPA’s plants include butter, non-fat dry milk, whole milk powder, cream and condensed skim milk.

About the Food Bank Council of Michigan

Founded in 1984, the Food Bank Council of Michigan was created to implement a unified strategy to address and alleviate hunger statewide. FBCM works with its regional food banks and over 3,000 hunger relief agencies, private companies, farmers, state and federal officials and other allies to make sure no Michigander goes without food. For more information about the Food Bank Council of Michigan, visit www.fbcmich.org or call 517.485.1202.

About The Kroger Co. of Michigan

Incorporated in Michigan in 1909 and headquartered in Novi, The Kroger Co. of Michigan operates 121 Kroger stores, 78 fuel centers, 103 pharmacies and the Michigan Dairy. Michigan Kroger’s 18,000 associates are dedicated to the Kroger Purpose: to FEED the Human Spirit, by serving the region through food, inspiration and uplift, and creating #ZeroHungerZeroWaste communities by 2025.

NOVI, Mich.—The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) recently paid $1.5 million in cash patronage refunds to its dairy farmer member-owners. This cash allocation represents 100 percent of the farm supply earnings and 25 percent of the milk marketing earnings. All members who marketed milk through MMPA for fiscal year 2018 received a portion of the allocation.

MMPA members received other cash payments in April 2018 of $4 million through retirement of the cooperative’s 2008 equities. With the current payment of $1.5 million, cash payments in the last 10 months total over $5.5 million.

“The nearly $6 million in patronage refunds and equity retirements we’ve recently returned to our member-owners speak to the financial strength MMPA,” Joe Diglio, MMPA CEO said. “These patronage refunds are the earnings achieved from our efforts on behalf of our member-owners.”

Cash patronage funds and equity allocations are based on the amount of milk each individual member farm marketed and on the supplies purchased through the cooperative during the year in which the earnings were achieved. Under the current board policy, the non-cash balance of the equity allocation will be revolved back to the members in future years.

The Michigan Milk Producers Association–established in 1916–is a member-owned and operated milk marketing cooperative and dairy processor serving approximately 1,600 dairy farmers throughout Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana. In addition to a cheese plant in Indiana, MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 dairy ingredient plants in Michigan, producing butter, nonfat dry milk powder, condensed skim milk, cream and whole milk powder.

Eleven MMPA members were awarded National Dairy Quality Awards, making up about a quarter of the total winners. These MMPA members were among 41 nationally recognized farms in the annual award program. Five gold awards and six silver awards were earned by MMPA members.

MMPA offers a portfolio of member services to help members produce the highest quality milk possible, with field representatives working closely with each member to achieve quality goals. MMPA also offers a quality premium incentive for its members producing higher quality milk. MMPA’s large representation in the National Dairy Quality Awards underscores the hard work of the cooperative’s farms while competing against other well-performing farmers across the country.

“This year’s member representation in the National Dairy Quality Awards is a testament of our members’ commitment to producing the highest quality milk,” Ben Chapin, manager of field services said. “Producing this level of quality milk consistently takes dedication and overcoming the daily challenges of dairy farming. Congratulations to our eleven members recognized.”

The winners were selected from a pool of 165 applicants nationwide. The winning operations stood out for having produced high-quality milk consistently. Applications were evaluated for measures of quality, systems of monitoring udder health, milking routine, protocols for detection and treatment of clinical and subclinical cases of mastitis and strategies for overall herd health and welfare. MMPA winners were nominated by their member representatives.

The National Mastitis Council, along with Boehringer IngelheimGEAEcolabIBA Inc.Qualitru Sampling SystemsAcumen Detection and Hoard’s Dairyman  sponsored this year’s awards.

Gold Awards

  • Don Beattie, Holton, Michigan
  • Ron and Barb Brinks, McBain, Michigan
  • Brad and Debbie Kartes, West Branch, Michigan
  • Brad, Mark and Larry Crandall, Battle Creek, Michigan
  • Gordon Dick, McBain, Michigan

Silver Awards

  • Benthem Brothers, McBain, Michigan
  • Lynn, Clint and Parker Bivens, Bellevue, Michigan
  • Michael Bosscher, McBain, Michigan
  • David Mageean, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Mark Ramer, Hale, Michigan
  • Brian Wenkel, Standish, Michigan

The Michigan Milk Producers Association–established in 1916–is a member-owned and operated milk marketing cooperative and dairy processor serving approximately 1,600 dairy farmers throughout Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana. In addition to a cheese plant in Indiana, MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 dairy ingredient plants in Michigan, producing butter, nonfat dry milk powder, condensed skim milk, cream and whole milk powder.

Photo caption: MSU scholarship students were honored at an MMPA meeting on Nov. 20. Back row, from left: Nolan Wieber, Gerrit Baker, Adam Wiles and Adam Jones. Front row, from left: Jacob Arens, Shania Drakes, Olivia Walker and Wyatt Lamb. NOT PICTURED: Josh Perkins.

Beginning in 1971, the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) has annually supported dairy education by sponsoring scholarships for members, their children and employees enrolled at Michigan State University and in 1999, MMPA added a scholarship for members or their children attending Purdue University.

For the 2018-2019 academic year, MMPA awarded nine scholarships, totaling over $20,000. The scholarship recipients were honored and introduced to MMPA members at a member meeting on Nov. 20 in East Lansing, Michigan.

The scholarship fund aims to assist young students pursuing a career in the dairy industry. Scholarships are awarded based on academics, involvement in the dairy industry and letters of recommendation.

“Supporting young people to pursue careers in agriculture, specifically dairy careers, is important to the future of our industry,” says Ken Nobis, St. Johns dairy farmer and MMPA president. “MMPA invests in scholarship and leadership programs to help students explore different facets of the dairy industry and find a career that suits them, therefore, strengthening the dairy sector of agriculture.”

The MSU scholarships available are for students enrolled in the Dairy Management Program. According to the MSU Institute of Agricultural Technology, the program delivers innovative, educational programs that develop career-ready graduates through intensive, practical learning and skill enhancement. Students in the dairy management program, advised by Dr. Joe Domecq, undergo a two-­year, hands-on training program for careers in the dairy industry. A key component of the program is the completion of an internship at a dairy farm different than the student’s home farm.

In addition to the MSU Scholarships, MMPA also awards one scholarship to a member or a child of a member who is a student at Purdue University College of Agriculture. Moving forward, MMPA will add a similar scholarship at The Ohio State University.

Scholarship applications for the 2019-2020 academic year are due in September. for the MSU scholarships. Purdue scholarship applications were due Jan. 1 for freshmen students and are due Feb. 1 for current students. In continuation of MMPA’s efforts to support youth development and education, MMPA is a supporter of the Michigan Dairy Ambassador Scholarship and Leadership program and the Michigan Dairy Memorial and Scholarship Foundation.

MSU Second-Year Scholarships

  • Jacob Arens, Westphalia, MI
  • Gerrit Baker, Byron Center, MI
  • Adam Wiles, Middleton, MI
  • Nolan Wieber, Fowler, MI

MSU First-Year Scholarships

  • Wyatt Lamb, Jeddo, MI

MSU First Year Employee Scholarship

  • Shania Drakes, Pigeon, MI
  • Olivia Walker, Lapeer, MI
  • Adam Jones, Mason, MI

Purdue University Scholarship

  • Josh Perkins, LaGrange, Indiana
pyle
Nancy and Paul Pyle

NOVI, Mich.—Paul and Nancy Pyle of Zeeland, Michigan, were selected as the state winning 2018 Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators (OYDC) by a panel of judges represented by leaders in the Great Lakes dairy industry.

As the state winning cooperators, Paul and Nancy will represent MMPA at various industry and association activities. Jeremy and Deanna Beebe of Alger, Michigan, were selected as the runner-up cooperators. Selection of the OYDC is based on the applicant’s farming operations, farm-related and community activities and demonstrated leadership abilities.

Paul owns Pyle Dairy Farm, Inc. with his dad and brother. The farm operates 265 acres and milks 140 cows. They are members of MMPA’s West Michigan Local in District 3.

“Our mission is to provide for our families, give the best possible care to our animals, be good stewards of God’s creation, all while providing the highest quality products to our customers,” stated the Pyles.

Paul holds local agriculture leadership positions with Michigan and Ottawa County Farm Bureau, the Critter Barn and Farmers Co-op Elevator Company. Paul has an associates degree from Davenport University, while Nancy has bachelors and masters degrees in elementary education from Calvin College and Western Michigan University. Nancy is employed off the farm as the preschool director at Zeeland Christian School.

The Pyles were one of several finalists invited to the annual OYDC Conference held Aug. 14-15. The couple was selected to participate in the program earlier this year by fellow dairy farmers in their local.

The state OYDC Conference, held at MMPA headquarters in Novi, provides participants with information about milk marketing activities, cooperatives, milk testing procedures and other current events within the dairy industry. The program has been held annually the past 68 years. This year’s program featured the OYDCs finalists selected from a pool of applicants nominated by their local.

All MMPA OYDC finalists will be officially recognized at MMPA’s 103nd Annual Meeting to be held March 14, 2019 in Lansing, Michigan.

2018 Outstanding Young Cooperators Finalists (in alphabetical order):

  • Jeremy and Deanna Beebe of Alger, Michigan
  • Andrew Brown, Berlin, Michigan
  • Neil and Kimberly Weidmayer, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Rachel Foley, Millington, Michigan
  • Rebecca Pirman, Skandia, Michigan
  • J. and Molly Pluger, McBain, Michigan
  • Paul and Nancy Pyle of Zeeland, Michigan
  • Quinn Smith and Lisa Plemmons, Homer, Michigan
  • Jason and Amy Budnick, Ossineke, Michigan

The Michigan Milk Producers Association—established in 1916—is a member-owned and operated milk marketing cooperative and dairy processor serving approximately 1,700 dairy farmers throughout Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana.

Learn more about the OYDC program

LANSING, MICH. – For the fourth year in a row, the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) has made a donation of fresh milk to the state’s food bank network.

MMPA is donating 150 gallons of milk a day for 2018. That amounts to 54,750 gallons of milk to Michigan area food banks this year. The donation is occurring primarily during the summer months when the need is the greatest The Food Bank Council of Michigan will ensure Michigan’s seven food banks serving all 83 counties in Michigan will receive this wholesome product.

MMPA is a farmer-owned cooperative, meaning the milk is a donation directly from the farmers. For four consecutive years, MMPA has worked with local farmers for their generous donation while increasing the milk donation.

“The Food Bank Council couldn’t be happier to receive this donation of milk year after year,” said Dr. Phillip Knight, FBCM Executive Director. “One in seven people in Michigan struggle with hunger, and we’re constantly working toward solutions. MMPA’s donation puts us one step closer in solving hunger and food insecurity in Michigan.”

The milk will be coming from some of the 1,100 farmers of MMPA. Michigan Dairy, operated by Kroger, is donating the processing and packaging of the milk, saving the food banks over $25,000.

“As a cooperative, MMPA is committed to serving local communities at its core. One way the dairy farmer owners of MMPA can support our neighbors in need is by providing food banks with nutrient-rich milk,” said Ken Nobis, dairy farmer and president of MMPA. “Therefore, we are proud to make a donation of milk to food banks across the state of Michigan this summer. With this donation and through our partnership with the Food Bank Council of Michigan over the last few years, we have now donated a total of 2.6 million servings of milk, reaching communities in every corner of the state.”

This abundant contribution provides milk, one of the most requested items at local distribution centers, to Michigan residents, families and children in need of this wholesome product.

###

About the Food Bank Council of Michigan

Founded in 1984, the Food Bank Council of Michigan was created to implement a unified strategy to address and alleviate hunger statewide. FBCM works with its regional food banks and over 3,000 hunger relief agencies, private companies, farmers, state and federal officials and other allies to make sure no Michigander goes without food. For more information about the Food Bank Council of Michigan, visit www.fbcmich.org or call 517.485.1202.

About Michigan Milk Producers Association

Founded in 1916, the MMPA is a dairy farmer owned cooperative and dairy processor. MMPA serves approximately 1,700 dairy farm families in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin..MMPA markets approximately five billion pounds of milk annually from its dairy farmer members. For more information about the Michigan Milk Producers Association, visit www.mimilk.com or call 284.474.6672.

About The Kroger Co. of Michigan:

The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) is one of the world’s largest grocery retailers and the nation’s largest operator of traditional grocery stores.  Recognized by Forbes as the most generous company in America, Kroger supports hunger relief, breast cancer awareness, the military and their families, and more than 30,000 schools and grassroots organizations. Kroger contributes food and funds equal to 276 million meals a year through more than 100 Feeding America food bank partners.   Opened in 1967, Kroger Michigan Dairy has been serving Michigan for over 50 years.  Kroger Michigan Dairy currently receives over 40 million pounds of milk each month from MMPA.  For more information about Kroger Michigan Dairy please visit www.kroger.com.

Gilde AM
MMPA President Ken Nobis (left), Member Representative Deb Gingrich (second from left) and Northwest Area Supervisor Sarah Michalek (right) presented Aaryn and Nathan Gilde (center) of Lake City, Michigan, with the highest quality milk production award.

NOVI, Mich.—Gilde Farms LLC of Lake City, Michigan were named Michigan Milk Producers Association’s (MMPA) Top Quality Award Winners at MMPA’s annual meeting in Lansing on March 15, 2018. The Gildes were featured in the May issue of MMPA’s member publication, the Michigan Milk Messenger.

The Gilde family run a 220-cow dairy that obtained the highest quality records in 2017 among the nearly 1,100 farms belonging to MMPA. To qualify, a producer must meet MMPA’s quality premium requirements for an entire year.

“In order to meet MMPA quality premium levels each and every month of the year, everyone on the farm must be on board.  This level of commitment shows the pride the owners, managers and employees of Gilde Farms LLC have in the business and industry,” says Deb Gingrich, MMPA member representative.

Since 1990, MMPA has recognized the farm that produces the highest quality milk for the year. The Gilde Family makes cow comfort and closely monitoring animal health a priority to continue to produce high quality milk. They utilize technology such as video cameras in the barns and milk metering systems to better manage their resources and time to benefit the cows. They have always taken extreme personal pride in producing high quality milk.

Read more about the Gilde family in the Michigan Milk Messenger »

MMPA—established in 1916—is a member owned and operated dairy cooperative serving approximately 1,700 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.