MSU scholarship students were honored at the MMPA Leaders’ Conference on Nov. 21. Back row, from left: Gerrit Baker, Casey Tebos, Adam Wiles and Nolan Wieber. Front row, from left: Hope McAlvey, Morgan Luoma, Cameron Cook and Jacob Arens.

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

For the 2017-2018 academic year, MMPA awarded nine scholarships, totaling over $21,000. The scholarship recipients were honored and introduced to MMPA members at the annual Leaders’ Conference 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.

“Encouraging young people to pursue careers in agriculture, specifically the dairy industry, is important to MMPA. We feel it is vital to invest every year to ensure a bright future for the dairy industry,” says Ken Nobis, MMPA president and dairy farmer from St. Johns, Michigan. “These scholarships help  students find careers within the dairy sector and inspire them to strengthen this industry.”

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 two­year, 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.

Scholarship applications for the 2018-2019 academic year are due Sept. 1. 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

  • Cameron Cook, Pewamo, Michigan
  • Morgan Luoma, East Leroy, Michigan
  • Casey Tebos, Falmouth, Michigan

MSU Second-Year Employee Scholarship

  • Hope McAlvey, Carson City, Michigan 

MSU First-Year Scholarships

  • Jacob Arens, Westphalia, Michigan
  • Gerrit Baker, Bryon Center, Michigan
  • Adam Wiles, Middleton, Michigan

MSU First Year Employee Scholarship

  • Nolan Wieber, Fowler, Michigan

Purdue University Scholarship

  • Jason Perkins, LaGrange, Indiana

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. 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.

Randy Mooney (left), chairman of the National Milk Producers Federation, presented the Grand Champion Cheese award, the chairman’s trophy, to MMPA General Manager Joe Diglio (center) and President Ken Nobis (right) during the closing luncheon of the federation’s annual meeting in Anaheim, California on Nov. 1.

ANAHEIM, CA—Pepper-jack cheese produced under the Heritage Ridge Creamery brand at Michigan Milk Producers Association’s Middlebury, Indiana cheese plant was recently named Grand Champion Cheese. The award was presented by the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) last week at the federation’s annual meeting in California.

The annual contest includes cheese made by dairy cooperatives belonging to NMPF. A record 194 entries totaling 3,070 pounds of cheese products were submitted in the 2017 contest. Heritage Ridge pepper-jack placed first in the hot or spicy cheese category and then went on to win the overall best cheese prize. This is the first year MMPA has entered a product in the cheese contest.

“We are honored our product was recognized nationally, a testament to high quality milk from our farms and the craftsmanship of our cheesemakers,” said Jim Feeney, senior director of sales for the MMPA. “We strive to exceed our customers’ expectations everyday with the quality products in our portfolio.”

The Heritage Ridge Creamery brand markets cheese produced at the Middlebury, Indiana plant and sold in the on-site retail store. The cheese plant produces Colby cheese, a softer, milder flavored cheddar cheese, in addition to cheddar, pepper-jack, Amish Creamery cheese and other flavors.

Pepper-jack

Heritage Ridge Creamery is a brand of Middlebury Cheese Company, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the MMPA. The farmer-owned cooperative acquired the facility in 2016 and is currently reviewing options to increase capacity and expand product offerings.

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. In addition to the 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.

MADISON, Wis. — 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 and third place awards were granted to unsalted butter made at MMPA’s dairy plant in Constantine, Michigan. MMPA has competed in the nationwide contest for seven years.

“Our recipe for excellence starts with our farmers’ high-quality milk along with the dedication of our plant team to produce award-winning butter,” MMPA General Manager Joe Diglio stated. “We are proud of these accomplishments, recognized once again at the World Dairy Expo.”

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 this evening. 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.

In addition to a cheese plant in Indiana, MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 dairy ingredient plants in Michigan. 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 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.

NOVI, Mich.— Michigan dairy farmers have until Oct. 13 to decide where the state’s dairy promotional dollars will be spent during the next five years. A majority “Yes” vote on the Dairy Promotion Referendum ballot, mailed to every state dairy producer, will continue the educational and promotion efforts of the United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM).

Under national law, 15-cents per hundredweight are deducted from dairy producers’ milk checks for advertising and educational programs. The law permits 10 of the 15 cents to remain in Michigan to fund local programs. The upcoming referendum will decide whether or not that 10 cents will stay in Michigan or go to the national level. Ballots were mailed Sept. 26 and must be returned by Oct. 13.

“If we pass the referendum, the Michigan dairy industry can keep the funds necessary to continue to support education programs and advertising in areas that benefit our producers,” says Ken Nobis, Michigan Milk Producers Association president and dairy farmer from St. Johns, Michigan. “If the referendum fails, the Michigan dairy industry loses control of how and where that entire 15-cents is invested. This is one very big reason why my fellow dairy farmers should take the time to vote ‘yes’ and return those ballots.”

UDIM works strategically to promote the Michigan dairy industry through partnerships, education and advertising. Their goal is to connect with consumers to share dairy nutrition information and connect them with Michigan’s dairy farm families. The relationships promote programs such as school breakfast and fighting childhood obesity by including dairy as part of a healthy diet along with getting 60 minutes of physical activity every day. UDIM continues to lead school health and wellness initiatives, playing a part in the development of school food standards that recognize the value of dairy in good nutrition. Learn more »

“UDIM has a long history of sound management and excellent vision,” Nobis says. “Programs initiated by UDIM in Michigan have broad appeal at the national level and lead the way in building partnerships with individual consumers and associations.”

The 15-cent per hundredweight checkoff is authorized by the Dairy and Tobacco Adjustment Act of 1983. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development administers the Michigan referendum.

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.

2017 OYDC: Nate & Jenny Elzinga, Zeeland, Michigan

NOVI, Mich.—Nate and Jenny Elzinga of Zeeland, Michigan, were selected as the state winning 2017 Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators (OYDC) by a panel of judges represented by leaders in the Michigan dairy industry.

As the state winning cooperators, Nate and Jenny will represent MMPA at various industry and association activities. Jarris and Rebekah Rubingh of Ellsworth, 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.

“The OYDC program identifies outstanding young leaders in our organization and provides an opportunity for them to gain a greater understanding of milk marketing activities and MMPA,” says Ken Nobis, MMPA president.

Nathan and Jennifer Elzinga own Daybreak Dairy LLC with Nathan’s father, Daniel Elzinga, and brother, Paul Elzinga. The farm operates 350 acres and milks 235 cows. The couple is a member of MMPA’s West Michigan Local in District 3.

Nathan completed the Dairy Tech Program at Michigan State University while Jennifer graduated from Baker College after finishing the Veterinary Tech Program. Nathan served on the MSU dairy judging team advising committee and is currently serving as a member on Ottawa County Farm Bureau. They plan to continue improving their animal performance and health through genetics. They are working hard to lower cost of production and make their farm more efficient.

“Our farm’s mission is to provide for the families involved and employees by bringing our modern dairy to the next level through animal comfort, nutrition, genetics and by following the best cropping and manure practices,” stated the Elzingas.

The Elzingas were one of 10 cooperators invited to the annual OYDC Conference held Aug. 17-18. 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 67 years. This year’s program featured the Top Ten OYDCs selected from a pool of applicants nominated by their local.

All Top 10 MMPA OYDCs will be officially recognized at MMPA’s 102nd Annual Meeting to be held March 15, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan.

2017 Top 10 Outstanding Young Cooperators (in alphabetical order):

  • Brandon & Molly Anderson, Carson City, Michigan
  • Garrett Bartholomew, Scotts, Michigan
  • Jason Elenbaum, Mayville, Michigan
  • Nate & Jenny Elzinga, Zeeland, Michigan
  • Mike & Laura Finkbeiner Manchester, Michigan
  • Adam & Charlie Freis, Wallace, Michigan
  • Rachel Hinkley, Ceresco, Michigan
  • Scott & Melinda Parr, Brown City, Michigan
  • Jesse & Chelsea Ramer, Goshen, Indiana
  • Jarris & Rebekah Rubingh Ellsworth, 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.

More about the OYDC Program

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: Miriam Cook from Clinton County, Grace Sayles from Shiawassee County, Drew Neyer from Isabella County, Dylan Keller from Hillsdale County and Elyse Zimmerlee from Eaton 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 20 and awarded a sponsored trip to the National 4-H Dairy Conference in Madison, Wisconsin on October 1-4.

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, 16 youth from 11 counties came together to learn about milk marketing and cooperatives. MMPA has welcomed 4-H and FFA members to the cooperative’s headquarters for the past 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 over 4,000 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.

“I learned a lot about the sale of milk from the 4-H Dairy Tour. Getting to see the Kroger plant was a neat experience and I realized how much work goes into that final gallon you can pick up at the grocery store,” said Kyle Godley, a tour participant from Shiawassee County.

This year’s attendees at the MMPA 4-H tour included: Drew Neyer, Catie Theisen, Grace Sayles, Jonathan Sayles, Eric Beebe, Adam Wiles, Jessica Parrish, Jordan Parrish, Miriam Cook, Abigail VanDyk, Kyle Godley, Chrissy Polzin, Dylan Keller, Will Sharrard, Carolyn Delong and Elyse Zimmerlee.

The annual MMPA 4-H Milk Marketing Tour includes a visit to the Michigan Dairy in Livonia, Michigan. Tour participants and chaperones gathered outside the plant on June 27. (Top, L-R) Julia Chamberlain, Bethany Meyer, Mary Sayles, Jacob Armstrong, Miriah Dershem, Barb Keller, Greg Godley, Mary Ellen Wiles, John Broesamle, Leslie Parrish, Sarah VanDyk and Jeremy Beebe. (First row, L-R) Catie Theisen, Drew Neyer, Elyse Zimmerlee, Eric Beebe, Carolyn Delong, Mariam Cook, Jordan Parrish, Jessica Parrish, Chrissy Polzin, Abby VanDyk, Adam Wiles, Will Sharrard, Kyle Godley, Dylan Keller, Grace Sayles and Johnathan Sayles.

 About the Michigan Milk Producers Association

The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) is a dairy farmer owned cooperative founded in 1916. MMPA serves approximately 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, handling approximately 5 billion pounds of milk annually. MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 certified dairy ingredient plants in Michigan and a cheese plant in Indiana.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congress must revise the dairy safety net program established in the 2014 Farm Bill to provide farmers with effective risk management protection that will increase participation in the program, according to Ken Nobis, president of the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) and first vice-chair of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), who spoke at a 2018 Farm Bill hearing today.

Nobis testified before the Senate Agriculture Committee that while he believes the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) remains the right program for the dairy industry, “the changes Congress made to the MPP when writing the last Farm Bill rendered it ineffective when dairy farmers needed it the most.”

Nobis is a dairy farmer from St. Johns, Mich., and leader of MMPA, a milk marketing cooperative serving over 1,700 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. He testified on behalf of his cooperative and the National Milk Producers Federation. His full testimony can be found here.

In calendar year 2015, dairy farmers paid more than $70 million into the MPP and received payments totaling just $730,000. In 2016, those figures were $20 million and $13 million. Nobis said farmers found that the program was not helpful during two years that were particularly detrimental to the dairy industry. As a result, many of them have become disenchanted with the program, and participation has dwindled.

“I guarantee, if Congress alters the MPP so that it more accurately reflects the actual costs of production for businesses like mine, participation in the program will increase,” he told Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

In making his case for improving the MPP, Nobis detailed a list of proposed changes NMPF and its members had developed to improve it. The MPP is designed to help farmers insure against either low milk prices or high feed costs, Nobis said, but the determination of the feed price used in the margin calculation is problematic. During the farm bill process, NMPF’s original proposed feed formula, though considered accurate, was cut by 10 percent to address other budget concerns. Based on the government profit made on the program, concerns about budget that led to the 10-percent cut were misplaced, explained Nobis.

Nobis said it is also important to expand dairy farmers’ access to additional risk management tools like the Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle (LGM) program and similar programs that could be offered by USDA.

“Making the [MPP] program more attractive for dairy farmers is vital to ensuring participation in the program, and the safety of America’s dairy industry,” Nobis said.

Nobis also expressed appreciation that the Agriculture Committee’s leadership worked with the Senate Appropriations Committee to include important changes to the MPP in the agriculture appropriations bill for fiscal year 2018.

Nobis’s testimony touched on several other policy challenges affecting U.S. dairy farmers, including immigration and labor shortages, and the vitality of U.S. dairy trade as NAFTA renegotiations begin. He commended Congress and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue for actions taken earlier this year to reintroduce 1% flavored milk back into schools. He also thanked Roberts, Stabenow and several other Congress members for backing legislation that would support farmers’ roles as stewards of environmental sustainability.

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About NMPF

The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance the wellbeing of dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. The members of NMPF’s cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S. milk supply, making NMPF the voice of dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. Visit www.nmpf.org for more information.

About the Michigan Milk Producers Association

The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) is a dairy farmer owned cooperative founded in 1916. MMPA serves approximately 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, handling approximately 5 billion pounds of milk annually. MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 certified dairy ingredient plants in Michigan and a cheese plant in Indiana.

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LANSING, Mich. – More Michigan children will enjoy nourishing milk this summer thanks to 876,000 servings donated in June to the Food Bank Council of Michigan (FBCM).

The donation honored the 50th anniversary of Kroger and Michigan Dairy’s partnership with the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA). On behalf of the state’s food banks, FBCM received a donation of 150 gallons of milk per day for 2017. This amounts to 54,750 gallons of milk to Michigan’s area food banks.

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

“One in seven people in Michigan struggle with hunger, and we’re constantly working toward solutions,” said Dr. Phillip Knight, FBCM executive director. “MMPA’s donation puts us one step closer to solving hunger and food insecurity in Michigan.”

The milk was donated on behalf of MMPA’s over 1,100 farms. Most of the milk will be processed by Prairie Farms in Battle Creek, but Michigan Dairy will also be processing the milk donated in their honor.

“The dairy farmers of MMPA are conscious of the need in Michigan communities to provide nutrient-rich foods — like dairy products — to those struggling with hunger,” said Ken Nobis, dairy farmer and MMPA president. “Milk remains one of the most requested food bank items. Therefore, we are proud to make a contribution to the Food Bank Council of Michigan to bring 876,000 servings of milk to food insecure families across the state this summer.”

This abundant contribution brings June’s National Dairy Month to a close and allows Michigan food banks to provide milk – the most requested summer item – to its customers, including the many families with children in need of milk.


About the Michigan Milk Producers Association

Michigan Milk Producers Association, established in 1916, is a member owned and operated dairy cooperative serving approximately 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio. Each year, MMPA’s dairy farm families produce over half a billion gallons of milk for families in Michigan, the U.S. and the world.

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.

The 2017 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award winners were announced by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy at a ceremony on June 28, including an honorable mention in Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships presented to four Michigan organizations. Pictured, left to right: Joe Mounger, Food Bank of Eastern Michigan; Kyle Powell, The Kroger Company; Sheila Burkhardt, Michigan Milk Producers Association; Jeff Dwyer, MSU Extension; Ken Nobis, Michigan Milk Producers Association; William Kerr, Food Bank of Eastern Michigan; Cathy Blankenship, Food Bank of Eastern Michigan; and Matt Nuckels, Emcee, Eastview Farms.

ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA), Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, The Kroger Co. of Michigan and Michigan State University (MSU) Extension were together honored by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy for their efforts supporting food insecure families with milk donations in the wake of the Flint Water Crisis in 2016.

For coming together to bring over 36,000 gallons of milk to a community in crisis, the organizations received an honorable mention for Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships by the Innovation Center during its sixth annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards in a June 28 Chicago ceremony.

The community partners, armed with information on milk’s nutrient-dense profile, are helping aide residents of Flint, Michigan during an ongoing crisis in which they are susceptible to lead poisoning from contaminated water. A healthy diet that includes nutrient-rich foods can help protect children and families from the harmful effects of lead poisoning and have a positive effect on overall health.

“Milk has always been high on the list of requested items to support food insecure families, but often is in short supply,” said William Kerr, President of the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. “The nutrient rich milk donated by the Michigan Milk Producers Association provided immediate health benefits to the residents of Flint during a time of crisis.”

In addition to community sustainability, the Innovation Center’s award program recognizes dairy farms, businesses and partnerships whose practices improve the well-being of people, animals and the planet. Award winners represent the U.S. dairy community’s voluntary efforts toward continuous improvement in sustainability.

“This year’s winners demonstrated impressive leadership and creativity in the application of technology and other practices that protect our land, air and water. And they’re proactive about building strong relationships with their communities and employees,” said Barbara O’Brien, president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. “Based on this year’s nominations, it’s clear that all sizes of dairy farms and companies use sustainable practices because it’s good for the environment, good for their community and good for business.”

Judges evaluated nominations based on their economic, environmental and community impact. The independent judging panel — including experts working with and throughout the dairy community — also considered learning, innovation, scalability and replicability.

“These award-winning practices can serve as models for other farmers, too,” said Jason Bateman, dairy farmer, 2016 award winner and one of this year’s judges. “Winners made breakthroughs, and they improved everyday practices. It’s inspiring to see people collaborate with partners outside of dairy and build on ideas from other industries.”

From farm to table, transparency and ingenuity drive dairy forward, as demonstrated in the newly released 2016 Sustainability Report, which describes the Innovation Center’s strategic plan focused on social responsibility. The plan was developed by dairy community leaders in recognition of the changing consumer and customer marketplace where health, environmental and ethical practices are of increasing interest.


About the Michigan Milk Producers Association:

Michigan Milk Producers Association, established in 1916, is a member owned and operated dairy cooperative serving approximately 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio. Each year, MMPA’s dairy farm families produce over half a billion gallons of milk for families in Michigan, the U.S. and the world.

About the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan:

Serving local families in need since 1981, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan has grown to provide over 25 million pounds of food each year through more than 415 partner agencies in 22 counties. Partner agencies consist of local soup kitchens, homeless shelters and food pantries who strive to feed more than 300,000 people who struggle with hunger throughout eastern Michigan.

About The Kroger Co. of Michigan:

Incorporated in Michigan in 1909 and headquartered in Novi, The Kroger Co. of Michigan includes 19,000 associates, 126 Kroger stores, 75 fuel centers, 104 pharmacies and the Michigan Dairy. The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) is one of the world’s largest grocery retailers and the nation’s largest operator of traditional grocery stores, with fiscal 2016 sales of $115.3 billion. Kroger employs more than 443,000 associates who serve customers in almost 3,000 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 35 states and the District of Columbia under two dozen local banner names, all of which share the same belief in building strong local ties and brand loyalty with our customers. 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. A leader in supplier diversity, Kroger is a proud member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber’s Million Dollar Club.

About Michigan State University Extension:

Michigan State University (MSU) Extension helps people improve their lives by bringing the vast knowledge resources of MSU directly to individuals, communities and businesses.  For more than 100 years, MSU Extension has helped grow Michigan’s economy by equipping Michigan residents with the information that they need to do their jobs better, raise healthy and safe families, build their communities and empower our children to dream of a successful future.

 

MIDDLEBURY, Ind.—Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) launched Heritage Ridge Creamery as its Indiana cheese plant’s new brand today, during a community Customer Appreciation Day event.

The new brand reflects both the heritage of the plant in its Amish community and the robust history of MMPA as a farmer-owned cooperative.

“With our acquisition of the Indiana cheese plant last fall, we were enthused by the opportunity to diversify our product portfolio and develop a brand owned by our dairy farmer members,” Joe Diglio, MMPA general manager, said. “Our new Heritage Ridge Creamery brand demonstrates our commitment in expanding our presence within the dairy industry while embracing the legacy of the community.”

Today customers visited the Heritage Ridge Creamery store, enjoying free ice cream made with a steam powered engine, activities for children and store specials during the Customer Appreciation Event.

The Heritage Ridge Creamery brand will market cheese produced at the Middlebury plant and sold in the on-site retail store. An online store is currently in development and expected to go live later this year at heritageridgecreamery.com. The facility produces Colby cheese, a softer, milder flavored cheddar cheese, in addition to Colby-Jack, Cheddar, Pepper-Jack cheese and other flavors.

The acquisition last year positions MMPA to further explore expansion opportunities at the Middlebury plant location in the future, starting with the launch of this new brand and internal improvements in plant operations. The facility currently processes approximately 400,000 pounds of milk per day into longhorn and deli horn cheeses, and is operated by MMPA’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Middlebury Cheese Company, LLC.

NOVI, Mich.— Carl Rasch of Morrice, Michigan, was recently selected as this year’s recipient of the Michigan Dairy Industry Service Award at the 69th Annual Michigan Dairy Industry Conference (MDIC) held June 1 in Lansing, Michigan. As Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) Director of Milk Sales, Rasch was nominated by his coworkers for his dedication to the industry and strong leadership over the last four decades.

“Carl’s passion and commitment to the dairy industry is well known by all of us. I can’t think of a more deserving honoree of the Michigan Dairy Industry Service Award,” said Joe Diglio, general manager of MMPA and long-time colleague of Rasch. “His willingness to educate, train and mentor many of us in the industry has been instrumental and beneficial to the past, current and future leaders of dairy.”

Leading the milk sales team for the last 40 years, Rasch has seen the co-op go from local customer base to an international scale. By being “direct and bold,” according to past and present MMPA leaders, Rasch has been able to build relationships with customers in and outside of Michigan, capitalizing on opportunities to move milk to a variety of outlets.  While working on business development and strategic planning for MMPA, Rasch is responsible for negotiating contracts with processing plant customers and milk supplying members.

Rasch currently serves on the Michigan Dairy Memorial and Scholarship Foundation Board. In the past, he has also served on the board of directors for the United Dairy Industry of Michigan, as the secretary of the Great Lakes Southern Milk Marketing Agency, and has worked on taskforces with the National Milk Producers Federation concerning Federal Order reform. At the MMPA’s annual meeting in March, the cooperative recognized Rasch as an honoree of the Michigan Dairy Memorial and Scholarship Foundation with a $1,000 contribution to the scholarship foundation in his name.

Rasch graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science degree. His career began by working as a field auditor at USDA before being hired by MMPA in 1977.

“Having been born and raised on a dairy farm, I am fortunate to work on behalf of members who are family, neighbors and friends,” Rasch said. “It’s been a privilege to work for an organization like MMPA who is recognized as a leader in the industry.”

Rasch resides in Morrice, Michigan, with his wife, Roxanne. They have five children: Jessica, Anthony, Michael, Carol Ann, and Katie.

The Michigan Dairy Industry Conference focusses on discussing current issues, technology, economic outlook, techniques and legislation affecting dairy farmers, shippers, processors and consumers.

MMPA is a member-owned and operated milk marketing cooperative and dairy processor serving approximately 2,000 dairy farmers throughout Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana.

Carl Rasch with his wife, Roxanne, accepted the 2017 Michigan Dairy Industry Service award on June 1 during the annual Michigan Dairy industry Conference in Lansing, Michigan.

NOVI, Mich.—Delegates attending the 101st annual meeting of the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) on March 23 elected Mark Iciek of Gladwin and Kris Wardin of St. Johns to at-large, three-year terms on the board of directors.

During the board’s reorganizational meeting, held after the delegate meeting, the following officers were elected: President: Ken Nobis, St. Johns; Vice President: Mark Halbert, Battle Creek; Treasurer: Eric Frahm, Frankenmuth.

Board members reelected at the district level were: Timothy Hood in District 2, David Pyle in District 3 and Anthony Jandernoa in District 6.

Delegates at the district level also elected representatives to the MMPA Advisory Committee. Members of this committee—five in each of the eight districts—serve as a liaison between the membership and the board of directors and management.

Each leader on the Advisory Committee and Board of Directors is dairy farmer member-owner of the MMPA cooperative.

Advisory Committee members elected this year to a two-year term are:

District 1             Brad Hart of Clayton, Josh Lott of Mason and Art Riske of Hanover
District 2             Danny Ransler of Gobles, Dan Ritter of Potterville and Richard Thomas of Middlebury, Indiana
District 3             William Stakenas of Freesoil, Burke Larson of Scottville and Gary Nelson of Grant
District 4             David Folkersma of Rudyard, Russell Tolan of Ossineke and Ronald Lucas of Posen
District 5             Tom Jeppesen of Stanton, Bruce Benthem of McBain and Amy Martin of Leroy
District 6             Aaron Gasper of Lowell, Steve Thelen of Fowler and Brad Ritter of Byron
District 7             Scott Kleinhardt of Clare, Jason Elenbaum of Mayville and Philip Gross of Weldman
District 8             Michael Noll of Croswell, Michael Bender of Croswell and Nick Leipprandt of Pigeon

MMPA—established in 1916—is a member owned and operated dairy cooperative serving approximately 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.

More about the Annual Meeting