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.

Gilde family
Gilde family
THE GILDE FAMILY, (L TO R) RANDY, MARY, NICK, AMANDA, NATHAN AND AARYN

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!  The blaring alarm clocks jars the Gilde family awake to start the morning chores. Worn, soft clothes are slipped on quickly after fumbling around the floor, so the chores can begin on time. Hot, bitter coffee sweetened with a little dairy cream is gulped down as they trudge out to the barn with the smell of fresh morning air helping clear the sleep from their heads. The sight of a multigenerational family gathering in the barn to work together is the perfect example of an all-American image.

Established in 1978, Gilde Brothers Farm began when Randy and his brother Steve with their wives, started milking around 100 cows. Since then, Steve and his wife were bought out in 1991 as the next generation began to take ownership. Randy and Mary’s sons, Nathan and Nick, along with their families were officially brought into the business in 2011 under the name Gilde Farms LLC.

Named Top Quality Award winner at the 102nd Annual State Delegate Meeting, Gilde Farm LLC was unsurpassed by the nearly 50 percent of MMPA’s farms who received quality awards. While milking 220 cows and farming almost 1,100 acres of corn and alfalfa, this Lake City, Michigan farm maintained an average somatic cell count (SCC) of 47,167 cells per milliliter, pre-incubated (PI) bacteria count of 1,333 cells per milliliter and raw bacteria count of 1,083 cells per milliliter in the 2017 fiscal year.

Excellent quality takes dedication and consistency. It also takes hard work to achieve. Although it was a shock to the Gildes to receive the award, they shared some of their management style that helps maintain their low counts. For the Gildes, it is truly a family effort to achieve such high milk quality goals. Each family member and six part-time employees has a part to play in giving the cows the VIP treatment all day every day.

“Great quality and healthy cows is a standard we’ve come to expect from ourselves. We have received quality awards ever since we’ve been with MMPA,” said Mary. “Milk quality effects everything. It’s not just a premium on your milk check and it starts in the parlor.”

“There are two things we focus on for parlor management. We look at the milk filters after every shift for signs of inadequate udder prep and mastitis. Even though it is very low tech, it is the most effective way to monitor what happens in the parlor for us. I also watch flow rates and milking curves using the Afimilk system,” explained Nathan.

The Afimilk system is an electronic milk meter that gathers information about each animal, stores, and analyzes the data in reports. “These reports give farmers real-time information about their herd’s health and fertility, milk quality and productivity. It shows if the milking routine is being followed,” continued Nathan. “I have found it helps to have something to show employees the importance of following our udder prep procedure if something is off.”

The farm milks twice a day in a double six herringbone parlor using a strict milking procedure. As Nathan describes, they prep three cows at a time starting with dry wiping any loose debris, fore stripping to inspect the milk and pre-dipping in the first visit. They return to wipe the dip off and attach the milking unit within 60 to 90 seconds to capture the ideal milk letdown window. Hitting this letdown window helps minimize the time it takes to milk the cow and to get her back in the barn. After the milking machine is removed with automatic take-offs that are carefully calibrated to insure no overmilking occurs, each teat is post dipped with a barrier iodine dip before being released to go back to the freestall barn.

Mastitis protocols include DHI or dairy herd improvement testing every three months, utilizing the cow-side CMT (California mastitis test) as needed and selective treating following milk culture results. In 2010, the farm invested in the equipment and training to conduct on-farm milk culturing to better treat cases of mastitis. “The main reason for the investment was to prevent overtreatment of cows. It has changed the way we look at mastitis and has even changed our management style focusing more on prevention and animal housing to keep them cleaner rather than dealing with the infections after the fact,” explained Nathan.

The Gildes also have extra tank samples pulled twice a week to monitor bacteria counts closer and prevent problems before they occur. Quarterly, the milking equipment dealer does routine maintenance, checking the pulsators and vacuum levels to ensure proper working order and liners are changed every five weeks.

“Equipment maintenance was always a big emphasis from my dad,” Nathan explained. “He always told us ‘we need to have the best equipment we can, and it needs to be working well. We can do everything right, but if we aren’t milking the cows correctly, it doesn’t do us much good.’”

Part of doing everything right for the Gildes includes doing their best to put family first. Making sure there is a place for the next generation is important to them as it is for many farms throughout the countryside. Even though Nick and Nathan’s children are still in school, they play a part in the family business. Hard work ethics and the high standards set for the farm are instilled so going forward the tradition of high quality will continue.

“The Gildes are detail-orientated farmers who strive to produce the best quality milk possible,” shared Deb Gingrich, MMPA member representative. “They carefully manage their quality to ensure potential problems are addressed early and prevention is one of the forefront factors in their decision-making process. It
is wonderful to work with farms like Gilde Farm LLC who love what they are doing and take such pride in selling a high-quality product.”

In describing her sentiments toward dealing with elevated SCC and low milk prices, Mary simply said, “Never give up.”

“Times have been tough for us before and we buckled down, worked hard paying close attention to details and did our best to make it through. There is always something good about the present and looking forward to better times puts a little hope on the horizon,” continued Mary. “With farming, things don’t always go to plan, but if we want there to be something for the kids and grandkids, we need to work at it and move forward.”

As the sun sets at dusk over Gilde Farms LLC, the picturesque scene of calves bedded down in thick straw beds, cows comfortably getting a drink at the water fountain or eating at the feed bunk and the skid loader being parked for the night can be seen around the farm. Although the work of a dairy farmer is never complete, working with family is a tradition and a blessing at Gilde Farm LLC.

–Krista Schrock

This article was originally published in the May 2018 issue of the Michigan Milk Messenger

Leprino Foods to donate 4,300 pounds of Michigan-made cheese to food banks in conjunction with award

LANSING, Mich.—Underscoring the value of industry collaboration, the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) today honored customer Leprino Foods Company with a Valued Partner award. The award was presented at the dairy farmer-owned cooperative’s annual meeting, which carried a theme of “Focus on Cooperation.”

During the award presentation, Leprino Foods announced a donation of 4,300 pounds of mozzarella string cheese to the Food Bank Council of Michigan. The donation is an effort to support the one out of every seven Michigan residents struggling with hunger.

MMPA and Leprino Foods began an agreement over 30 years ago that has enabled the success of two Leprino cheese plants in the state of Michigan. The plants in Allendale and Remus process a combined 3.5 million pounds of milk per day and support over 400 jobs.

“Through vision, MMPA and Leprino have remained steadfast ‘Partners in Progress’ through the years,” said President Ken Nobis, who presented the award with General Manager Joe Diglio on behalf of the cooperative.

The initial partnership, innovative for its time, brought Colorado-based Leprino Foods to Michigan in the late 1980s. Leprino is now the largest manufacturer of mozzarella cheese and supplies many of the world’s leading pizza companies.

Per capita consumption of mozzarella cheese has more than doubled in America in the past 30 years. Thanks to the growing dominance of pizza, Americans now eat almost 12 pounds of cheese per year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Leprino Food’s donated mozzarella cheese—produced locally in Remus, Michigan—will reach food banks in all 83 counties of Michigan after being distributed by the Food Bank Council of Michigan.

“Our business success is based on one key ingredient – milk. Michigan’s healthy milk shed and its dedicated dairy farmers make it an excellent location for us to produce the highest quality cheese and dairy ingredients for our customers and consumers throughout the world,” Leprino Foods Company President Mike Durkin said. “Our relationship with MMPA, and its dairy farmer members, has spanned three decades and we look forward to our continued partnership. We are honored to be acknowledged with this Valued Partner Award.”

“We are grateful for our mutually-beneficial relationship with Leprino Foods. Together, our quality milk and Leprino’s innovative technology creates value for the industry and MMPA dairy farmers. Our work with Leprino showcases the lasting power of collaboration,” Diglio added.

The announcements were made at MMPA’s 102nd 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 1,700 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 Leprino Foods Company: 

Leprino Foods Company, headquartered in Denver, Colo., is a global leader in the production of premium-quality cheese and dairy ingredients. Leprino Foods is the largest producer of mozzarella cheese in the world and a leading manufacturer of lactose, whey protein and sweet whey. For more information, please visit www.leprinofoods.com.

 

MMPA President Ken Nobis (left) and General Manager Joe Diglio (right) presented the Valued Partner award to Leprino Food Company. Accepting the award from Leprino Foods were (center, L-R) Associate Director of Raw Dairy Ingredient Sales Melissa Bischoff, Vice President of Supply Chain Mark Benson, CEO Mike Durkin and Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs Mike Reidy.
The platinum award winning MMPA farm includes the team of (R to L): Jenn Buchner, Jeremy Werth, Paul Werth, Larry and Paulette Werth, Evan Beyer (behind Larry Paulette), Austin Malaney, Josh Jones, CJ Malaney and Ethan Buchinger. Photo credit: Corey Gieger, Hoard’s Dairyman.

Seventeen Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) member farms were today awarded National Dairy Quality Awards, making up over a third of the total winners. The MMPA members made up over one third of the  46 nationally recognized farms in the annual award program. One platinum award, seven gold awards and nine silver awards were earned by MMPA members.

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. National Dairy Quality Award winners are recognized at the annual National Mastitis Council meeting held this week in Tuscon, Arizona.

“Congratulations to our member farms being recognized through the National Dairy Quality Awards program.  Attaining consistent milk quality at this level results from proactively doing the ‘right’ things for animal health and comfort day in and day out,” says Dean Letter, Director of Member Services.  “High milk quality and animal care results from a proactive commitment to do the right thing every time, every day.”

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. In 2017, MMPA paid out $17.7 million to members in quality premiums.

The winners were selected from a pool of 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.

 

Platinum Award

  • Larry and Paulette Werth, Jeremy Werth and Paul Werth, Alpena, Michigan

Gold Awards

  • Don Beattie, Holton, Michigan
  • Brad, Mark and Larry Crandall, Battle Creek, Michigan
  • Gordon Dick, McBain, Michigan
  • Brad and Debbie Kartes, West Branch, Michigan
  • Brent Simon, Westphalia, Michigan
  • Ken, Duane, Anna and Laurie VanPolen, Marion, Michigan
  • Douglas Warner, Charlevoix, Michigan

Silver Awards

  • Karl Bontrager, Wolcottville, Indiana
  • Michael Bosscher, McBain, Michigan
  • Norm and Mark Buning, Falmouth, Michigan
  • Harley and Marietta Lambright, LeRoy, Michigan
  • William Pirman, Skandia, Michigan
  • Jerry and Sharron Powers, Pentwater, Michigan
  • Mark and Bob Rau, West Branch, Michigan
  • Allen and Aaron Slater, Holton, Michigan
  • Ken and Carol Tebos, Falmouth, Michigan

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