MMPA hosts 108th Annual Meeting

NOVI, Mich.— Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) members and guests gathered in Novi, Mich. on March 20 for MMPA’s 108th Annual Meeting. The nearly 200 attendees learned from MMPA leadership and industry partners about how MMPA is evolving and joined in celebrating the partners and members who made the success possible.

During the Annual Meeting, Joe Diglio, MMPA President & CEO, expressed how the cooperative’s momentum and vision for the future will continue to support its members. “We are excited about where we are headed as an organization and we’re doing it on behalf of you: to extract value, tout your message and continue to get the nutritional aspects of what you produce on your farms into the marketplace. This wouldn’t be possible without the many partners who are here today.”

Attendees heard from partners including Michelle McBride, GoodSport Founder & CEO; Omid McDonald, Dairy Distillery Founder & CEO; and Dr. Jayen Mehta, Amul Managing Director. These partnerships enable MMPA to diversify its portfolio and invest in premium products that reach a broader spectrum of consumers.

“We’re making a dent in the sports nutrition world, and because of this partnership with MMPA, we’re going to bring new innovation to life,” GoodSport Founder & CEO, Michelle McBride shared. “With the use of your raw materials and the technology and expertise of Creative Edge, we’re able to work on new products to bring into the marketplace.”

Omid McDonald, Dairy Distillery Founder & CEO, also shared the impact of MMPA’s partnership to construct the lowest-carbon intensity ethanol facility in the world at MMPA’s Constantine, Mich. plant. “The Dairy Distillery project will be one of the dairy industry’s largest decarbonization projects. MMPA’s Constantine, Mich. plant produces around 16,000 tons of permeate annually, which will generate 16,000 tons of carbon reduction a year when turned into ethanol and blended into transportation fuel.”

A new partnership was also announced during the meeting, bringing together MMPA, America’s tenth largest dairy cooperative, with Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Limited (GCMMF), the world’s largest dairy cooperative and owners of the Amul brand. The collaboration will launch the first Amul branded fluid milk products in the U.S., utilizing MMPA member milk, MMPA’s caseless milk packaging design and proprietary fluid milk technology.

“We are very honored and pleased to enter into an association with MMPA, a very respected 108-year-old dairy cooperative. This association will ensure all our American and Indian consumers will be nourished and energized with the goodness of Amul Milk,” Amul Managing Director Dr. Jayen Mehta said. “This is the first time that Amul fresh milk is being launched anywhere outside India. It is our great pleasure to bring the taste of India to the world, in alignment with the vision of our Hon Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi to make Amul a global dairy brand.”

In addition to recognizing partners, the Annual Meeting proceedings involved recognizing the outcome of the cooperative’s member governance changes last year and honoring several MMPA members including MMPA Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators, MMPA Dairy Communicators Service Award Recipients, members achieving 35 and 50 years of membership, and the MMPA member farm who achieved the best quality milk in 2023 of all MMPA farms, De Grins Oer Dairy of Blanchard, Mich.

“Our cooperative’s strength relies on young farmers who have a future in our organization, our long-time members who provide the stability and wisdom that come with many years in the business, and members who are willing to meet with consumers where they are to promote our industry,” Doug Chapin, MMPA Board Chairman said.

MMPA Treasurer Eric Frahm presented the financial status of the cooperative and reported on a strong balance sheet with annual net savings in fiscal year 2023 of $5.9 million. MMPA recently paid out $1.6 million in cash patronage refunds to its dairy farmer members, representing twenty-five percent of the net savings with the remaining non-cash balance allocated to certificates of equity to be revolved back to members in future years.

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

Partnership will introduce the first Amul branded fluid milk products in the United States market.

NOVI, Michigan – Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA), America’s tenth largest dairy cooperative, announced a partnership with Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Limited (GCMMF), the world’s largest dairy cooperative. This partnership between the two organizations will bring GCMMF’s Amul branded fluid milk products to millions of Americans.

Amul manufactures a wide range of branded milk and milk products in India and exports them to more than 50 other countries around the world, including the U.S. Owned by 3.6 million dairy farmers in India, the Amul brand is one of the world’s fastest growing dairy brands and India’s largest consumer products group, generating more than $10 billion annually.

“This partnership with Amul allows us to work with another cooperative to help them grow their brand in the United States, benefitting not only our own dairy farmer members, but those in India as well,” MMPA President & CEO Joe Diglio said. “MMPA’s strategic partnership with Amul will continue to enhance MMPA’s growing and diversified product mix while utilizing our state-of-the-art technology.”

MMPA’s caseless milk packaging design and proprietary fluid milk technology allow Amul to market fluid milk in specialty stores throughout the Midwest and East Coast with 6%, 4.5%, 3.25% and 2% fat levels under their brands Amul Gold, Amul Shakti, Amul Taaza, and Amul Slim n Trim milk, respectively. The collaboration brings together MMPA’s unique technology capabilities and high-quality member milk with the Amul brand’s rapidly growing and well-known, international reputation for premium dairy products.

Amul’s partnership with Michigan-based MMPA is a continuation of the brand’s ties to Michigan. Dr. Verghese Kurien, known as the Milkman of India and the founder chairman of GCMMF, is a Michigan State University alumnus and credited for the overall success of India’s dairy industry.

“We are very honored and pleased to enter into an association with MMPA, a very respected 108-year-old dairy cooperative. This association will ensure all our American and Indian consumers will be nourished and energized with the goodness of Amul Milk,” Amul Managing Director Dr. Jayen Mehta said. “This is the first time that Amul fresh milk is being launched anywhere outside India. It is our great pleasure to bring the taste of India to the world, in alignment with the vision of our Hon Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi to make Amul a global dairy brand.”

The Amul partnership was announced to internal stakeholders during the 108th MMPA Annual Meeting on March 20, 2024. Pictured (L-R): Brad Parks, MMPA Director of FP&A and Business Development; Sudeep Jain, MMPA Director of Quality; Doug Chapin, MMPA Board Chairman; Joe Diglio, MMPA President & CEO; Dr. Jayen Mehta, Amul Managing Director; Shashank Shah, Amul Sales Manager; Sheila Burkhardt, MMPA Chief Corporate Affairs Officer; Greg Soehnlen, MMPA Chief Operating and Business Development Officer.

About Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA)
The Michigan Milk Producers Association is a member-owned and operated milk marketing cooperative known for producing high-quality, award-winning dairy products. Established in 1916, MMPA is the 10th largest U.S. dairy farmer-owned cooperative serving members in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin. At MMPA, commitment to milk quality begins on the farm and extends through all four of their SQF version 9.0 certified processing facilities: a cheese plant in Indiana, a dairy product plant in Ohio and two dairy ingredient plants in Michigan.

About Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (Amul)
Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation, (Amul) based in Anand, Gujarat is the world’s largest farmer-owned dairy cooperative. It is owned by 3.6 million dairy farmers and procures 30 million liters of milk every day and processes it across 100 dairy plants in India and markets more than 50 categories of products like Amul Milk, Amul Butter, Amul Cheese, Amul Ice Cream, among many others. Amul products are market leaders in India across all categories of dairy products in India. Amul is the most trusted food brand of India and is also known for its Amul Topical campaign, the longest running advertising campaign in the world.

 

Photo Credit: Hoard’s Dairyman

NOVI, Mich.— Nine Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) dairy farms were awarded National Dairy Quality Awards by the National Mastitis Council (NMC). Recognized during the NMC Annual Meeting today in Dallas, Texas, these MMPA members were among 39 nationally recognized farms in the annual award program and were selected from a pool of 85 applicants nationwide.

One MMPA farm earned the highest honor, which was granted to only six dairy farms in the U.S. The platinum award winner was the Michigan State Dairy Teaching and Research Center in Lansing, Michigan. MMPA farms also won two gold awards, three silver awards, plus three honorable mentions.

“MMPA’s members exemplify an unparalleled commitment to milk quality within the dairy industry. Their dedication to animal care, meticulous attention to farm details, and ongoing efforts result in the production of some of the finest quality nationwide. The notable representation in this year’s NMC National Dairy Quality Awards is a clear testament to the relentless hard work of our members and the devoted field staff in upholding excellence,” Ben Chapin, Director of Member Services said.

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. Overall, MMPA members’ milk quality continues to be impressive through the years, with somatic cell counts (SCC), a key milk quality indicator, reaching impressive lows in 2023. MMPA offers its own quality award program and this year presented awards to 295 member farms for the production of outstanding quality milk over the last fiscal year.

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

NDQA judges considered many criteria when reviewing finalists’ applications. In addition to milk quality indicators, judges looked at specific details about each operation, including milking routine, cow comfort, udder health monitoring programs, treatment and prevention programs, strategies for overall herd health and welfare, and adherence to drug use and record keeping regulations.

This year’s NDQA sponsors included Boehringer Ingelheim, GEA, Conewango, Cargill, and Hoard’s Dairyman and NMC. NMC is an international professional organization, based in Minnesota, devoted to reducing mastitis and enhancing milk quality.

 

Platinum

  • Michigan State University Dairy Teaching and Research Center, Lansing, Michigan

Gold

  • Garlomar Farms (Gary Zuiderveen and Christ Martz), Falmouth, Michigan
  • Horning Farms (Earl, Jeffrey, Lynda and Mason Horning, and Katelyn Packard), Manchester, Michigan

Silver

  • Clearview Dairy Farm (Paul, Betty, and Brian DeMann), Martin, Michigan
  • Schultz Dairy (Dave and Kelton Schultz), Sandusky, Michigan
  • Evergreen Dairy Farm (Kris and Carla Wardin), Saint Johns, Michigan

Honorable Mention

  • Slater Farms 88th (Allen and Aaron Slater), Holton, Michigan
  • Hartland Farms (Brad, Burke, Chad, and Nick Hart), Clayton, Michigan
  • Ritter Farms (James, Valerie, Brad, and Tonya Ritter), Byron, Michigan

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

For the 2023-2024 academic year, MMPA awarded eight scholarships, totaling $23,500, based on academics, involvement in the dairy industry and letters of recommendation. The scholarship fund aims to assist students pursuing a career in the dairy industry.

“MMPA is working to make the future of Michigan’s dairy industry even stronger than it is today by supporting the education of future dairy industry leaders. These scholarships encourage the next generation to equip themselves with new skills and pursue careers in the dairy industry following graduation,” said Joe Diglio, MMPA President & CEO.

The MSU scholarships are for students pursuing a dairy management certificate in the Institute of Agricultural Technology or who are enrolled in the Dairy Concentration Program in the Department of Animal Science. MMPA scholarships are also available for members or children of members enrolled in any agriculture-related major at Purdue University and The Ohio State University.

Scholarship applications for the 2024-2025 academic year are due Sept. 1. for the MSU scholarships. Scholarship applications for Purdue University and The Ohio State University are due Jan. 1 for freshmen students and 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.

MMPA Scholarship Recipients:

  • Grant Gasper, Lowell, MI – Member Scholarship Recipient
  • Brianna Hill, Gregory, MI – Member Scholarship Recipient
  • Grace Brown, Reese, MI – Employee Scholarship Recipient
  • Lane Herrman, Buchanan, MI – Employee Scholarship Recipient
  • Avery Mays, Millington, MI – Employee Scholarship Recipient
  • Danielle Rummel, East Lansing, MI – Employee Scholarship Recipient
  • Adalee Thelen, St. Johns, MI – Employee Scholarship Recipient
  • Rachael Bosse, Wayland, MI – Employee Scholarship Recipient

Partnership aims to create an alliance for future innovation and furthers commitment to sustainability.

NOVI, Mich. Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA), a dairy cooperative committed to fostering innovation announced that it has taken an equity stake in Chicago-based start-up, GoodSport Nutrition, the company dedicated to harnessing the natural benefits of milk to create innovative, clean and effective sports nutrition solutions.

GoodSport Nutrition is recognized for launching GoodSport®, the first dairy-based sports drink on the market. GoodSport® is a natural hydration option with 3x the electrolytes and 33% less sugar than traditional sports drinks. Peer-reviewed published studies funded by Dairy Management, Inc., demonstrate that the drink hydrates better than water and traditional sports drinks and improves exercise performance. The company utilizes naturally occurring electrolytes and vitamins extracted from milk to create the clear, refreshing sports drink.

“With a shared commitment to advancing dairy innovation and meeting evolving consumer preferences, the partnership reflects MMPA’s passion for creating new opportunities for our dairy farmer owners, our commitment to leveraging our investments in technology and our dedication to sustainability,” said Joe Diglio, MMPA president and CEO. “This partnership, along with MMPA’s subsidiary Creative Edge, will leverage our organizations’ strengths for future dairy product innovations that will promote the use of dairy to the next generation of consumers.”

GoodSport® rescues and upcycles a nutrient-rich byproduct of ultra-filtered milk, a use that hadn’t been fully developed. This effort improves the value of the food system. MMPA is committed to social responsibility throughout the entire supply chain, with sustainable practices beginning on the farm and continuing through its processing facilities.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Michigan Milk Producers Association as a strategic partner to drive growth and strengthen our ability to bring new, innovative and sustainable products to families across the country,” said Michelle McBride, Founder and CEO of GoodSport Nutrition. “Together, we will continue to champion the incredible benefits of milk as a natural, extremely effective and sustainable source of sports nutrition.”

The collaboration brings together the longstanding dairy expertise of MMPA with the forward-thinking approach of GoodSport Nutrition.

Pictured above: Members of the MMPA Executive Committee join GoodSport Nutrition Founder & CEO Michelle McBride. Back row (L-R): Eric Frahm, MMPA District Director & Treasurer; Aaron Gasper, MMPA Director-At-Large; and Greg Soehnlen, MMPA Chief Operations and Business Development Officer. Front row (L-R): Carlton Evans, MMPA Director-At-Large; Joe Diglio, MMPA President & CEO; Michelle McBride, GoodSport Nutrition Founder & CEO; and Tony Jandernoa, MMPA District Director & Vice Chairman. 

NOVI, Mich. – Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA), in partnership with Newtrient and others, has been awarded a $6.2 million grant through the 2023 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

MMPA was one of 10 dairy cooperatives and industry partners to receive funding totaling $112 million. Announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the nearly $1 billion in funding targeted 81 partnership projects that incentivize environmental sustainability.

The investment in dairy’s environmental stewardship efforts aligns with MMPA’s commitment to cooperative social responsibility and sustainable business practices throughout the entire supply chain. The grant funding will be used to develop a farmer-focused project that will increase the adoption of methane-emissions-reducing Natural Resources Conservation Service conservation practices focused on manure management and feed management, with anticipated enrollment beginning in 2024.

“Dairy and agriculture have a unique role in the sustainability space,” said Doug Chapin, MMPA Board Chairman. “We’re honored to receive this funding so that as farmers, we can expand our commitment to sustaining our livelihoods for the next generation.”

As part of MMPA’s commitment to sustainability on the farm, MMPA members have participated in numerous sustainability focused projects with emphasis on soil health, feed efficiency and forage management. MMPA has adopted the U.S. Dairy Stewardship Commitment, which is a demonstration of U.S. dairy’s long-standing values, and a pledge to uphold those values for today, tomorrow and the future. Learn more about MMPA’s sustainability commitment at https://www.mimilk.com/about-the-cooperative/social-responsibility/.

Partnership will build a low carbon ethanol plant in southwest Michigan to add needed biofuel supply and help lower the dairy industry’s carbon footprint.

NOVI, Michigan – Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) and Canadian Dairy Distillery announced a joint initiative that will transform a dairy byproduct into the world’s lowest carbon-intensity ethanol, adding to the biofuel supply for cars and trucks.

Ontario-based Dairy Distillery developed technology to transform a lactose-rich dairy byproduct, called milk permeate into vodka, aptly named Vodkow. This high value use of milk permeate caught the attention of MMPA whose Constantine, MI facility produces 14,000 tonnes a year that’s being used for animal feed. Looking to create more value for its dairy farmer members, MMPA partnered with Dairy Distillery to build a plant to process its milk permeate into 2.2 million gallons of ethanol. When blended with transportation fuel, the permeate ethanol will offset 14,500 tonnes of carbon a year. This offset will reduce the carbon footprint of the milk processed at Constantine by 5%.

“I’ve been inspired by MMPA dairy farmers and their commitment to sustainability. Using a milk byproduct to reduce the carbon footprint of dairy is an innovation that will make a significant contribution to MMPA’s net zero carbon emissions goal.” explains Dairy Distillery CEO Omid McDonald.

Ethanol production at the $41 million ethanol plant is planned for early 2025. The project received $2.5 million in funding from the Michigan Strategic Fund, showing the state’s commitment to the future of clean energy.

“Constructing an ethanol-processing plant at the Constantine facility compliments our focus on sustainability and provides a progressive, unique opportunity to utilize new technologies that add value to our current processing operations while further diversifying the markets we currently serve,” MMPA President and CEO Joe Diglio said. “It’s exciting to see innovative solutions such as this facility, which lead to growth and success for our members, employees, stakeholders and our communities.”

“Projects like these are a prime example of the diversity and strength of our dairy industry and demonstrates the Whitmer Administration’s commitment to growing agriculture businesses in Michigan,” said Tim Boring, director, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “In 2022, MDARD provided a $100,000 Value-Added Grant to the Michigan Milk Producers Association and Dairy Distillery in this first of its kind venture. The department is proud to support business expansion with multi-pronged benefits – creates good-paying local jobs; opens up new markets for Michigan’s farmers to continue to thrive; lowers carbon footprints; and reduces the overall waste stream. I hope this serves as a model for others into the future.”

More information about this project is available in this video about the project: https://vimeo.com/691542619/9b32ba2402.

PEWAMO, Mich. – Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) members gathered last week to learn more about cover crops from farmer panelists, industry representatives, and Michigan State University (MSU) Extension experts.

Hosted at Cook Dairy Farm in Pewamo, Mich., the half-day program included a field tour, lunch, presentations by experts and a farmer panel. Participants learned about seed selection for forage cover crops, manure management, planting and harvesting methods, and the practical application of cover crops in a dairy crop rotation.

“MMPA is committed to cooperative social responsibility and sustainable business practices throughout our entire supply chain. The Cover Crop Field Day is one way for members to gather together, learn from each other and experts about the practical management and benefits of cover crops on dairies,” MMPA Board Chairman Doug Chapin said.

Since 2020, MMPA has partnered with Barry Callebaut and Unilever’s brand Breyers in a Cover Crop Project to study and share the feasibility of cover crops on dairy operations. As an extension of the Cover Crop Project, the Cover Crop Field Day included a panel of MMPA members who have participated in the project.

“In a dairy operation like mine, where we are tightly balanced between cows and acres, we’re always a little short on feed and a little long on manure. Cover crops address both of those problems,” Kris Wardin, MMPA member and Cover Crop Project participant shared on the panel. “With cover crops, I can get high quality feed while utilizing nutrients more effectively and reaping all the soil benefits that cover crops are known for. To me, using cover crops on our operation has become a real win.”

61 percent of MMPA farms utilize cover crops and the field day builds on MMPA’s sustainability mission to continually strive for a more sustainable future. For more information about the Cover Crop Field Day, Cover Crop Project and MMPA’s sustainability commitment, visit mimilk.com/cover-crops.

MMPA members heard from industry representatives and Michigan State University (MSU) Extension experts during the Cover Crop Field Day hosted at Cook Dairy Farm in Pewamo, Mich. last week.
Platinum award-winning Crandall Dairy Farm. Back row (L-R): Zach Crandall, Brad Crandall, Larry Crandall, Mark Crandall, Thomas Wagner. Front row (L-R): Kylie Crandall, Monica Crandall, Stacy Koyl, TJ Paul, Kelley Wagner, Jackson Wood.

NOVI, Mich.—Sixteen Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) dairy farms were awarded National Dairy Quality Awards by the National Mastitis Council (NMC). Recognized during the NMC Annual Meeting today in Atlanta, these MMPA members make up 35 percent of the 45 nationally recognized farms in the annual award program.

One MMPA farm earned the highest honor, which was granted to only six dairy farms in the U.S. The platinum award winner was Crandall Dairy Farm in Battle Creek, Michigan. MMPA farms also won four gold awards, eleven silver awards, plus two honorable mentions.

“The dedication of MMPA’s membership to milk quality is second to none in the industry. From the membership’s commitment to animal care, to their attention to the details at their farms, MMPA’s members continue to produce some of the best quality in the country. This year’s representation in the NMC National Dairy Quality Awards is a testament to the hard work of our members and dedicated field staff to maintaining excellence,” Ben Chapin, Director of Member Services said.

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. Overall, MMPA members’ milk quality continues to be impressive through the years, with somatic cell counts (SCC), a key milk quality indicator, reaching record lows in 2021. MMPA offers its own quality award program and this year presented awards to 289 member farms for the production of outstanding quality milk over the last fiscal year.

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

NDQA judges considered many criteria when reviewing finalists’ applications. In addition to milk quality indicators, judges looked at specific details about each operation, including milking routine, cow comfort, udder health monitoring programs, treatment and prevention programs, strategies for overall herd health and welfare, and adherence to drug use and record keeping regulations.

This year’s NDQA sponsors included Boehringer Ingelheim, GEA, Ecolab, IBA Inc., Conewango, Cargill, Hoard’s Dairyman and NMC. NMC is an international professional organization, based in Minnesota, devoted to reducing mastitis and enhancing milk quality.

 

Platinum

  • Crandall Dairy Farm (Brad Crandall), Battle Creek, Michigan

Gold

  • Dick Haven Farms (Gordon, Dale and Mark Dick), McBain, Michigan
  • Gross Farms (Steve, Phil and Kevin Gross), Weidman, Michigan
  • Michigan State University Dairy Farm, Lansing, Michigan
  • Tjerk and Ramona Okkema, Blanchard, Michigan

Silver

  • Benthem Brothers (Doug, Bruce, Jason, Ryan and Kyle Benthem), McBain, Michigan
  • Bode Valley Farm (Charles Bode), Marion, Michigan
  • Garlomar Farms (Gary Zuiderveen and Christ Martz), Falmouth, Michigan
  • Hammond Dairy Farm (Norm, Kim and Derrick Hammond), Dowling, Michigan
  • Koppenol Dairy Farms, Inc. (Alan and Deborah Koppenol, and Ken Raterink), Coopersville, Michigan
  • Louis and Ronald Brecht, Shepherd, Michigan
  • M & H Family Farms (Barry Gillhespy), Wayland, Michigan
  • Michael Bosscher, McBain, Michigan
  • Tacoma Dairy (Dave and Rick Tacoma), Falmouth, Michigan
  • Taylor Creek Farm (James Kronemeyer), Pickford, Michigan
  • Williams Family Farm (John, Brent and Shane Williams), Spring Arbor, Michigan

Honorable Mention

  • Horning Farms (Earl, Jeffrey, Lynda and Mason Horning, and Katelyn Packard), Manchester, Michigan
  • Slater Farms 88th (Allen and Aaron Slater), Holton, Michigan

MMPA members gather for Cover Crop Field Day

WESTPHALIA, Mich. – Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) members gathered on Oct. 18 to learn more about cover crops from farmer panelists and Michigan State University (MSU) Extension experts.

MMPA members gathered for a Cover Crop Field Day on Oct. 18 in Westphalia, Michigan. During the event, they heard from MSU Extension experts, MMPA customers and a farmer panel.

Hosted at Jem-Lot Dairy in Westphalia, Michigan, the half-day program included a field tour, lunch and a farmer panel. Participants learned about seed selection for forage and conventional cover crops, manure management, planting and harvesting methods, and the practical application of cover crops in a dairy crop rotation.

“The MMPA Cover Crop Field Day showcased the sustainability efforts taking place on MMPA member farms and provided an educational opportunity to hear about each other’s experiences and lessons learned with cover crops,” MMPA Board Chairman Doug Chapin said.

Since 2020, MMPA has partnered with Barry Callebaut and Unilever’s brand Breyers in a Cover Crop Project to study and share the feasibility of cover crops on dairy operations. As an extension of the Cover Crop Project, the Cover Crop Field Day included a panel of MMPA members who have participated in the project.

“For MMPA’s customers, sustainability is driven by consumers and that comes back to our practices on the farm,” James Weber, MMPA member and Cover Crop Project participant, shared on the panel. “I’m enrolled in as many sustainability projects as possible, including the Cover Crop Project, because I want to be part of the solution and not the problem. Cover cropping isn’t the only solution, but it’s a large part of it.”

As reported in MMPA’s 2021 Cooperative Social Responsibility Report, 62% of MMPA farms utilize cover crops and the field day builds on MMPA’s sustainability mission to continually strive for a more sustainable future. For more information about the Cover Crop Field Day, Cover Crop Project and MMPA’s sustainability commitment, visit mimilk.com/cover-crops.

During the Cover Crop Field Day, participants heard from a farmer panel about lessons learned on their own farms with cover crops.

About Michigan Milk Producers Association
The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) is a member-owned and operated milk marketing cooperative known for producing high-quality, award-winning dairy products. Established in 1916, MMPA is the 10th largest U.S. dairy farmer-owned cooperative serving members in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin. At MMPA, commitment to milk quality begins on the farm and extends through all four of their processing facilities: a cheese plant in Indiana, a dairy product plant in Ohio, and two SQF Level 3 dairy ingredient plants in Michigan.

NOVI, Mich. – In October, Michigan dairy farmers will have the chance 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). Ballots will be mailed September 26 and must be returned by October 14.

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.

“If we pass the referendum, the Michigan dairy industry can keep the funds necessary to continue to support the much-needed nutrition education and advertising programs in our own geographic area that benefit our producers,” says Doug Chapin, Michigan Milk Producers Association Board Chairman and dairy farmer from Remus, Michigan. “If the referendum fails, the Michigan dairy industry loses control of how and where that entire 15-cents is invested which is the primary reason I encourage my fellow dairy farmers to take the time to vote ‘yes’ and return the ballots.”

“It is important to remember that a ‘no’ vote does not reduce the amount of money a farmer will contribute to dairy promotion, only who will get to help direct a portion of that money,” says Jerry Neyer, DFA member. “A ‘yes’ vote means Michigan dairy farmers will continue to direct a dime of that 15- cents toward in-state programs and promotion.”

Over the years, UDIM has established numerous partnerships with health agencies, state agencies and leaders in the field of education. 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.

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.

About Michigan Milk Producers Association
The Michigan Milk Producers Association–established in 1916–is a member-owned and operated milk marketing cooperative and dairy processor serving dairy farmers throughout Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana. In addition to a cheese plant in Indiana and a dairy product plant in Ohio, 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.

About Dairy Farmers of America (DFA)
Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) is a national, farmer-owned dairy cooperative focusing on quality, innovation and the future of family dairies. While supporting and serving more than 11,500 family farm-owners, DFA manufactures nearly every form, function and flavor of nutritional dairy products, including fluid milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, dairy ingredients and more that connect our Cooperative’s family farms to family tables with regional brands such as Alta Dena® Dairy, Meadow Gold® Dairy, Friendly®’s, Borden® Cheese, Plugrá® Premium Butter and Kemps® to name a few. On a global scale, we work with some of the world’s leading food companies to develop ingredients that deliver the greatest source of nutrition to consumers around the world, while staying committed to social responsibility and ethical farming. For more information, please visit dfamilk.com.

NOVI, Mich.— Katelyn Packard of Manchester, Michigan, was selected as the state winning 2022 Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperator (OYDC) by a panel of judges represented by leaders in the Great Lakes dairy industry. As the state winning cooperator, Packard will represent MMPA at various industry and association activities.

Drew and Beth Rupprecht of Vassar, Michigan, were selected as the runners-up cooperators. Selection of the OYDC is based on the applicant’s farming operations, farm-related and community activities and demonstrated leadership abilities.

Packard farms 950 acres and operates a 450-cow dairy with her family. She is a member of the MMPA Saline-Ann Arbor Local in District 1 and also serves as an MMPA Dairy Communicator, working to promote dairy in her local community. Packard and her family regularly invite neighbors to tour their farm and run a successful farm store where they sell products from their farm.

“We strive for happy, healthy, well-fed animals and have found when this happens, everything else falls into place,” Packard said. “Our farm’s mission is to provide healthy and safe food while caring for our animals, the environment, and our community.”

Packard was one of several finalists invited to the annual OYDC Conference held Aug. 9-10. 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 for over 70 years.

“The OYDC program is a fundamental tool in encouraging young dairy cooperators to network and learn more about their cooperative to help identify future leaders and recognize their efforts,” Doug Chapin, MMPA board chairman, said. Chapin and his wife, Cheri, were the MMPA OYDC runners-up in 1990.

All MMPA OYDC finalists will be officially recognized at MMPA’s 107th Annual Meeting to be held March 2023.

2022 OYDC Finalists

  • Trevor and Holly Bollinger, Vestaburg, Michigan
  • Jordan and Erin Booms, Lake City, Michigan
  • Jason Elenbaum, Mayville, Michigan
  • Jeffrey Marvin, Clayton, Michigan
  • Katelyn Packard, Manchester, Michigan
  • Andrew and Beth Rupprecht, Vassar, Michigan

 

About Michigan Milk Producers Association
The Michigan Milk Producers Association–established in 1916–is a member-owned and operated milk marketing cooperative and dairy processor serving dairy farmers throughout Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana. In addition to a cheese plant in Indiana and a dairy product plant in Ohio, 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.