Dairy Cooperative to Assume Ownership of Deutsch Käse Haus on Nov. 1

Novi, MICH.—The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) today announced the purchase of the Guggisberg Deutsch Käse Haus in Middlebury, Indiana. The cheese plant acquisition diversifies MMPA’s dairy product portfolio which currently includes award-winning butter, powder and other fluid milk products.

“We are eager to continue to grow our footprint in the Great Lakes region and utilize the expertise at Deutsch Käse Haus to gain greater diversity of our product portfolio,” MMPA General Manager Joe Diglio said. “MMPA members have a proven track record of producing high quality milk and to be able to align with an award winning cheese plant located in close proximity to our Constantine plant provides great synergies in our milk marketing strategy.”

The Deutsch Käse Haus—translated from German as German Cheese House—was founded in 1979 to serve the needs of local Amish dairy farmers. Today, the plant processes around 400,000 pounds of milk per day and employs 55 people. MMPA plans to retain the current employee team following the ownership transition. The plant is currently owned by Guggisberg Cheese Company of Millersburg, Ohio.

“The Deutsch Käse Haus has established a valued and trusted legacy in Indiana. I am confident MMPA’s progressive leadership will carry on this legacy as we move forward, bringing mutual benefit to both Guggisberg Cheese Company and MMPA,” Richard Guggisberg, owner of Guggisberg Cheese Company. “MMPA has a strong membership base in northern Indiana which will allow Deutsch Käse Haus to continue providing high quality products under new ownership.”

The Deutsch Käse Haus produces award-winning cheese, internationally recognized at the World Dairy Expo, U.S. Cheese Makers Competition and World Cheese Makers Competition. The plant mainly produces Colby cheese, a softer, milder flavored cheddar cheese, in addition to Colby-jack, Monterey-jack, Cheddar, pepper-jack cheese and other flavors.

Following the acquisition, MMPA intends to continue manufacturing the current types of cheeses made at the plant. The investment positions MMPA to further explore expansion opportunities at the Middlebury plant location in the future.

Michigan Milk Producers Association, established in 1916, is a member-owned and controlled milk-marketing cooperative serving approximately 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio. MMPA owns milk processing plants in Ovid and Constantine, Michigan, and the cooperative handles over 5 billion pounds of milk annually.


NOVI, Mich.—Darrin and Barbara Siemen of Harbor Beach, Michigan, were selected as the state winning 2016 Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators (OYDC).

As the state winning cooperators, Darrin and Barbara will represent MMPA at various industry and association activities. David and Gretchen Tolan of Ossineke, 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.

Darrin and Barbara own Prime Land Farm, a dairy farm five miles west of Lake Huron in Michigan’s Thumb region. The farm operates 1,500 acres and milks 320 cows using an automated milking system, commonly known as robotic milkers. The couple is a member of MMPA’s Huron Local in District 8.

“Prime Land Farm is a progressive and diverse centennial family farm which strives to be profitable for the next generation, sustainable in all stewardship practices, and serve its community and agriculture at large,” the Siemens described.

The couple met while attending Michigan State University where Darrin obtained a degree in food industry management and agribusiness. Barbara graduated with a degree in English and later received a teaching certificate from Saginaw Valley State University. The Seimens are involved with MMPA at the local level, with Darrin serving as a local delegate and Barbara as a dairy communicator. They both also hold leadership positions on the Huron County Farm Bureau. Barbara runs a blog, The Chick Wire, a network of women that shares values, cultivates understanding and inspires without judgement.

The Siemens were one of 10 cooperators invited to the annual OYDC Conference held Aug. 18-19. The couple was selected to participate in the program earlier this year by fellow dairy farmers in their local and the MMPA State Nominating Committee.

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 66 years. This year’s program featured the Top Ten OYDCs selected by the State Nominating Committee from a pool of applicants nominated by their local. All Top 10 MMPA OYDCs will be officially recognized at MMPA’s 101st Annual Meeting to be held March 23, 2017 in Lansing, Michigan.

2016 Top 10 Outstanding Young Cooperators (in alphabetical order):

  • Brady and Kellie Brown – District 8, Mid-Sanilac Local
  • Amanda Carey – District 5, Alma Local
  • Adam and Charlie Freis—District 4, U.P. West Central Local
  • Gary and Renee Hufnagel – District 6, Mid-Michigan Local
  • Samantha Mamarow-District 1, Saline-Ann Arbor Local
  • Daniel and Sarah Minnis – District 1, Ingham County Local
  • Nathan and Amy Pyle—District 3, West Michigan Local
  • Darrin and Barbara Siemen—District 8, Huron Local
  • Casey and Laura Sparks—District 3, Muskegon Local
  • David and Gretchen Tolan—District 4, Hillman Local

Michigan Milk Producers Association, established in 1916, is a member-owned and controlled milk-marketing cooperative serving approximately 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio.

Ovid, MICH.—The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) today open the doors of its largest dairy processing plant in Ovid, Michigan for an open house. The event highlighted the value of the plant to MMPA for over half of the cooperative’s existence and continued celebrations of MMPA’s 100 year anniversary.

The dairy manufacturing plant—purchased by MMPA in 1957—operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, taking in approximately 5 million pounds of milk each day.

“Our plant in Ovid is a key component of reaching MMPA’s strategic goals. The quality products produced here from our members’ milk are nationally recognized and positively impact the local economy,” Ken Nobis, MMPA president said. “Today’s open house provides an opportunity for us to showcase the successes at our plant while celebrating our cooperative that is now a century-old.”

MMPA has invested over $96 million in the Ovid facility over the last ten years. The recent investments include a $62-million expansion, which has the capacity to process 60 percent more milk than before the expansion. According to a study completed by the MSU Product Center, the Ovid expansion project could have an economic impact of over $183 million to the state of Michigan. More recent additions include an expanded wastewater treatment system, new whole milk powder packaging system and a new butter churn.

Products made at the Ovid facility include condensed milk, dry milk powder, whole milk powder, buttermilk powder, liquid cream, condensed milk, skim milk, salted and unsalted butter. These products are used by MMPA customers in various end products such as salad dressing, ice cream, yogurt, infant formula, pudding, cheese, baked goods, frozen dinners, candy bars and other confections.

MMPA began recognizing its anniversary at its 100th Annual State Delegate Meeting in March, where it was announced MMPA would donate 100 gallons of milk per day for an entire year to the Food Bank Council of Michigan. MMPA released a history book and video series detailing 100 years of MMPA history and the evolution of the cooperative at the annual meeting. In May, MMPA hosted a Centennial Anniversary Celebration at Michigan State University on the same day and in the same building the cooperative was founded exactly 100 years prior. At the event, MMPA announced a $100,000 donation to be used toward animal agriculture research programs at the university.

Michigan Milk Producers Association, established in 1916, is a member-owned and controlled milk-marketing cooperative serving over 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio.

Three farmer-owned dairy cooperatives announced today that they have committed to exploring joint ownership and operation of a major cheese processing plant in the state of Michigan. The three cooperatives are Foremost Farms USA, Baraboo, Wisconsin; Dairy Farmers of America, Kansas City, Missouri, and Michigan Milk Producers Association, Novi, Michigan. All three have farmermembers located in the state.

This decision is driven by the growing milk supply in Michigan, the lack of available processing capacity within the region, market accessibility and transportation benefits.

“Michigan dairy producers own some of the most progressive and efficient dairy operations in the world, and they have positioned themselves to be a long-term supplier to domestic and global markets,” explained Michael Doyle, president & CEO, Foremost Farms USA. “Collectively, our respective organizations are extremely pleased we can come together to positively address this growing market.”

Greg Wickham, chief financial officer, Dairy Farmers of America, said, “Strategically, Michigan is well situated geographically to serve not only major U.S. markets, but also global markets. In addition to the quality milk supply in the region, it has a solid transportation infrastructure, one well served by major highways and various ports.”

“We are excited to potentially leverage the strengths and assets of our three cooperatives in order to accommodate the growing milk production in Michigan,” said Joe Diglio, general manager, Michigan Milk Producers Association. “Working collaboratively helps enhance our ability to better serve dairy producers in this region and align the marketing strengths of our organizations together.”

The plant is expected to process 6 million pounds of milk a day and make 220 million pounds of American-style cheese annually.

About Foremost Farms USA:
Foremost Farms USA, headquartered in Baraboo, Wis., is a farmerowned milk processing and marketing cooperative with about 1,500 members and annual sales of $1.5 billion. The nation’s eighth-largest cooperative and number 25 in annual sales among the Top 100 U.S. dairy processors, Foremost Farms focuses on the creation of tailored and innovative milk solutions that meet the needs of customers around the world.

About Dairy Farmers of America:
Dairy Farmers of America is a national dairy marketing cooperative that serves and is owned by nearly 14,000 members on nearly 8,000 farms in 48 states. DFA also is one of the country’s most diversified manufacturers of dairy products, food components and ingredients and is a leader in formulating and packaging shelf-stable dairy products.

About Michigan Milk Producers Association:
Michigan Milk Producers Association is a member owned and operated dairy cooperative serving approximately 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. MMPA owns milk processing plants in Ovid and Constantine Mich., and the cooperative handles over 5 billion pounds of milk annually.

Leaders gather at Michigan State University exactly 100 years following the cooperative’s founding, announce $100,000 donation

EAST LANSING, Mich.—The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) today recognized its 100th Anniversary at the Justin Morrill Hall of Agriculture at Michigan State University (MSU). The cooperative was founded in that same building 100 years prior on May 23, 1916. At the event, MMPA announced the contribution of $100,000 toward animal agriculture research programs at MSU.

“With great pride MMPA marks this occasion and we celebrate the day when the innovative dairy leaders of 1916 began our cooperative,” said Ken Nobis, MMPA president and dairy farmer. “Today, we acknowledge our humble beginnings and the vast challenges and opportunities that have shaped our organization to this day. Tomorrow, we will continue to work on behalf of our dairy farmer memberowners and support the agriculture and dairy industry.”

In recognition of MMPA’s 100th anniversary, Nobis announced MMPA’s planned donation of $100,000 to MSU. The contribution is designed to work in conjunction with the efforts of the Michigan Alliance for Animal Agriculture. The funding will support research for the advancement of the animal agriculture industry, in priority areas such as bovine tuberculosis, sustainability and workforce development.

“One hundred years after its first meeting on this campus, MMPA continues strong in its unwavering support of MSU and its research. We are grateful to this organization and for the partnership we’ve formed over this past century,” said George Smith, associate director and interim dean of MSU AgBioResearch. “MMPA leadership has been instrumental in advocating for additional funding for animal agriculture research and its potential economic return for the State of Michigan. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with MMPA and enhancing the Michigan dairy industry over the next 100 years.”

The anniversary celebration called attention to MMPA’s strong relationship with MSU from its founding date to present-day partnerships and initiatives.

“On behalf of the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), we wish MMPA congratulations on celebrating its centennial,” said Doug Buhler, MSU CANR interim associate dean. “It is through partnerships between industry and education that we can ensure a well-versed workforce and stable and safe food supply for Michigan’s residents.”

Among other MMPA leaders and agriculture industry partners, Senator Joe Hune, Chairperson of the Michigan Senate Agriculture Committee, was in attendance to congratulate the cooperative on its anniversary and present the association with a legislative proclamation acknowledging MMPA’s role within the state.

“Congratulations to MMPA on celebrating 100 years of their organization,” Hune said. “MMPA has been a vital asset to the dairy market in our state and I wish them another successful 100 years of protecting and promoting the welfare of our dairy farmers and agriculture industry.”

MMPA began recognizing its anniversary at its 100th Annual State Delegate Meeting in March, where it was announced MMPA would donate 100 gallons of milk per day for an entire year to the Food Bank Council of Michigan. MMPA released a history book and video detailing 100 years of MMPA history and the evolution of the cooperative at the annual meeting. Continuing the celebration, an open house at MMPA’s milk processing plant in Ovid is slated for this summer.

Michigan Milk Producers Association, established in 1916, is a member-owned and controlled milk marketing cooperative serving approximately 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio.

NOVI, Mich.— Former dairy industry leader and Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) President Elwood Kirkpatrick, of Kinde, Michigan passed away on May 16 at the age of 79. Kirkpatrick served the dairy industry for over 28 years in various leadership positions, including 26 years as president of Michigan Milk Producers Association. Throughout his presidency, Kirkpatrick served the cooperative and dairy industry on both state and national levels through his involvement in a number of agriculture and dairy related organizations.

Kirkpatrick was elected to serve on the MMPA board of directors in 1979 where his aptitude in finance quickly earned him the respect of fellow board members who elected him as president of MMPA in 1981. He continued to serve as MMPA president until his retirement from the board in March 2007.

“The dairy industry lost a great leader. Elwood Kirkpatrick made a tremendous impact on the dairy industry on both the state and national level,” MMPA President Ken Nobis said. “He played an important role in shaping today’s dairy industry, and his vision will live on.”

In Michigan, Kirkpatrick served as chair of the Michigan Dairy Industry Committee, was a member of the United Dairy Industry of Michigan board of directors and had served on the Michigan Agriculture Commission.

On the national level, Kirkpatrick served on the executive committee of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) for 23 years, including serving as NMPF vice president from 1983-2003.

An example of his leadership character emerged in the late 1980s when he helped lead the charge to unify the promotion and marketing efforts of the U.S. dairy industry, bringing together the activities of the United Dairy Industry Association and the National Dairy Board through the formation of Dairy Management Incorporated, creating greater efficiencies in the national dairy promotion program.

Kirkpatrick accomplished many notable successes for the dairy industry, but one of his most influential roles was serving as the first chairman of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. From its inception, Kirkpatrick worked tirelessly to establish and grow the U.S. dairy export sector. At the time of its start, dairy exports represented less than 3 percent of annual U.S. milk production. Today, exports of U.S. dairy products exceed over 15 percent of U.S. milk production.

Kirkpatrick served as Chair of the U.S. Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Animals & Animal Products (ATAC) and was a member of the U.S. Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee for Trade (APAC).

As an accomplished dairy farmer, Kirkpatrick had been recognized with Michigan State University’s “Dairy Farmer of the Year” award in 1986 and the “Distinguished Service to Agriculture” award in 1987.

Upon Kirkpatrick’s retirement in 2007, the MMPA board of directors established the Elwood Kirkpatrick Dairy Science Research Fund at Michigan State University. The endowment fund pays tribute to Kirkpatrick’s dedication to advancing the research needs of the dairy industry. Kirkpatrick was instrumental in the establishment of the Revitalization of Animal Agriculture Initiative signed into Michigan law in 1993.

Kirkpatrick was born in Dwight Township on January 30, 1937 to the late Ross A. and Eula (Arnott) Kirkpatrick and was a lifetime dairy farmer.

He is survived by his wife, Michelle Kirkpatrick of Dwight Township; daughters: Lisa (Craig) Iden of Kinde and Rebecca Waling of Texas; sons: Dean (Maureen) Kirkpatrick, Ron (Andrea) Kirkpatrick, both from Kinde and Brad (Amy) Kirkpatrick of Traverse City; granddaughters: Corey, Casey, Brooke, and Natalie; grandsons: Randy, Dallas, Sean, Eric, Derek, Nathan, Colin and Ryan; and a special cousin, Beverly (Arnott) McFarland from Bay City. He was preceded in death by his cousin, Leslie Arnott.

Memorials may be offered to Heartland Hospice or to the Bad Axe Free Methodist Church.

2016 YC Planning Committee, from left: 2014 Runners Up Ken and Kristen Sparks, 2015 OYDC Shawn and Beth VanDrie, 2014 OYDC Carrie and Brian Preston, and 2015 OYDC Runners-Up Darren and Regina Coffey.

With fluctuating milk prices, an increasingly visible world on social media and tough decisions regarding farm succession, the next generation of dairy farmers must navigate through an evolving world.

The 2016 Young Cooperator (YC) Conference on April 15 in Mt. Pleasant tackled some of these issues at the annual meeting of MMPA’s younger members.  The morning session was led by MMPA President Ken Nobis, MMPA General Manager Joe Diglio and United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM) CEO Sharon Toth. The leaders provided updates on the cooperative, the dairy industry and UDIM initiatives to promote dairy.

In the afternoon, Michigan State University Extension Educator Roger Betz rounded out the presentations with an overview of farm succession planning before the YCs headed out on a tour of member farm, Vanderploeg Holsteins.

Also in the afternoon, UDIM Director of Industry Relations Jolene Griffin led a presentation and panel on social media and communication with two MMPA members. As consumer demands continue to shape requirements of on-farm practices, social media may be an avenue to amplify consumer concerns, but also an opportunity for dairy farmers to share their own story. Griffin addressed the 60 YCs in attendance with an interactive presentation geared toward dairy promotion through social media.

“How can you connect with consumers?” Griffin asked. “Tell them about the great things you’re doing on your farm and your own personal dairy story. Every conversation matters.”

Griffin introduced MMPA members Katelyn Horning and Ashley Kennedy who are active in agriculture promotion through social media and blogging. Horning runs a Facebook page for her family’s farm, Horning Farms, and Kennedy runs a personal blog, Messy Kennedy, with integration on multiple social media channels.

Kennedy promotes agriculture in her blog by focusing on topics consumers relate to. “I aim for an audience. My goal is to reach millennial moms by blogging about more than just agriculture. There’s more to me than just the farm,” she explained.  “One third of my posts are about the farm and I hit tough topics like antibiotics and hormones. The other stuff is about things I enjoy, and I use it to draw in that target audience.”

Horning’s page highlights the daily activities on the farm. “Social media is an outlet to promote a positive image of agriculture. It can create a larger group that’s on your side,” she relayed.

Yet Horning said she has faced negative responses on social media, advising the YCs to use those opportunities to positively address their concerns: “You may not change that person’s mind, but you need to stay positive for other people who may read your conversation online. Stay professional and positive.”

Griffin rounded out the session noting the importance of positive interactions online and relating on a personal level with consumers. Though she recognized social media is not for everyone, it is important to know the right messages to convey because conversations about agriculture and dairy can start anywhere.

“Every conversation matters. Avoid acronyms, put your terms into words that make sense to consumers. Storytelling is key,” Griffin said. “Share stories with people and connect on those levels, finding a shared value resonates with consumers.”


The YC Conference is a component of the MMPA Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperator (OYDC) program, established in 1950.

Purpose of the OYDC Program:

  • Strengthen leadership abilities in young farmers
  • Broaden young farmer’s knowledge of milk marketing and MMPA
  • Recognize the abilities and stewardship of young dairy farmers

On August 18-19, MMPA will host a two-day conference for the Top 10 OYDCs in Novi to select the 2016 OYDC representative and runners-up. The Top 10 OYDCs will be selected in the coming weeks. For more information, contact Jessica Welch at jwelch@nullmimilk.com or 248-474-6672.

Learn More About the YC Program



NOVI, Mich.—Fifty-three MMPA members were recognized with 35 or 50 year member awards at the MMPA 100th Annual State Delegate Meeting, March 24, 2016. MMPA has traditionally recognized 35- year members and this year added the new MMPA Milestone award to honor those holding membership for 50 years or more.

MMPA President Ken Nobis congratulated and praised the 35-year members for their dedication to the cooperative: “We commend you for your dedication and loyalty to MMPA and the dairy industry over the last 35 years.”

After the 35-year members were recognized, Nobis recognized the inaugural group of MMPA Milestone award winners who joined MMPA in the year 1966 or earlier. In 2017 and in the years to come, MMPA will continue to honor those who reach the 50 year membership mark.

“Across the 1,200 member farms, there are a select few who have remained loyal to our cooperative for half of MMPA’s existence or more,” Nobis explained before presenting the awards. “Twenty-six members have achieved 50 or more years of membership including one member who signed his contract 62 years ago in 1954.”

A video presentation showcased the vast changes the Michigan dairy industry has undergone the past several years and since these members began dairy farming.

The presentation highlighted information from 1981 and 1966, when these members joined MMPA. In 1981, there were 6,225 MMPA members in who marketed a total of 3.36 billion pounds of milk, while in 1966 membership totaled 8,539 and marketed 2.97 billion pounds of milk. Today, MMPA has approximately 1,200 members and marketed over 4.63 billion pounds of milk in the 2015 fiscal year.

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

MMPA 35-Year Members

  • Dale Baker, Jonesville
  • Bruce Benthem, McBain
  • Douglas Benthem, McBain
  • Irving Christensen, Posen
  • Thomas Fox, Mt. Pleasant
  • Stephen Innes, Marlette
  • Dennis Kamphouse, Marion
  • Mildred Keinath, Millington
  • Edward Joe Lawler, Snover
  • Ernest O’Connor, Mendon
  • James Ogden, Union City
  • Richard Papes, Free Soil
  • Victor Puschel, Allegan
  • Melvin Puschel, Hopkins
  • Lawrance & Emeline Riske, Hanover
  • Arthur Riske, Hanover
  • Bruce Riske, Hanover
  • Steven Roth, Lowell
  • Dennis Schoeder, Harbor Beach
  • Tracy Sohn, North Branch
  • Jeffry Thelen, St. Johns
  • Dian Volmering, Harbor Beach
  • Allen Weber, Pinconning
  • William Weber, Pinconning
  • Daniel Weil, Goodrich
  • Charles White, Fowlerville
  • Richard Zacharias, China
  • Kenneth Zuiderveen, Falmouth

MMPA 50+ Year Members

  • Robert C Anderson, Paris
  • Robert E Breuninger, Dexter
  • David P Brown, Cheboygan
  • Donald Budzinski, Cheboygan
  • David Evans, Litchfield
  • Fred Freight, Tecumseh
  • Velmar Green, Elsie
  • Corliss T Gulembo III, Fountain
  • Leon Hamming, McBain
  • Rodger Hisler, Charlotte
  • Earl Horning, Manchester
  • Robert Kartes, West Branch
  • John Kiessling, Marshall
  • Leonard W Koutz, Edmore
  • John Kronemeyer, Pickford
  • A Verne Juengel, Grand Blanc
  • Harry E Martin, Marion
  • Dale A McCarty, Carsonville
  • Richard Noake, Lapeer
  • Carl Minnis, Webberville
  • Edward Reimann, Cheboygan
  • William D Stough, Clare
  • Alfred C Stuever, Lynn
  • Edward Stakenas, Free Soil
  • Gerald Surbrook, Rives Junction

MMPA Leaders Elected

NOVI, Mich.—Delegates attending the 100th annual meeting of the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) on March 24 reelected Ken Nobis, of St. Johns, to an at-large, three-year term on the board of directors. Delegates also elected Gertie van den Goor of Marlette, Michigan to her first three-year term in an at-large position.

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 elected at the district level were: Doug Chapin of Remus, District 5 and Scott Lamb of Jeddo, District 8.

Delegates also elected representatives to the MMPA Advisory Committee. Members of this committee serve as a liaison between the membership and the board of directors and management.

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

District 1: Bruce Lewis, Jonesville; Jeff Horning, Manchester
District 2: Michael Oesch, Middlebury, IN; Mark Crandall, Battle Creek
District 3: Tim Butler, Sand Lake; Bill Gruppen, Zeeland
District 4: Marvin Rubingh, Ellsworth; Jeremy Werth, Herron
District 5: Mike Rasmussen, Edmore; Lyle Vanderwal, Lake City
District 6: David Reed, Owosso; Jamie Meyer, Ionia
District 7: Mark Iciek, Gladwin; John Bennett, Prescott
District 8: Darwin Sneller, Sebewaing; Bill Blumerich, Berlin

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

NOVI, Mich.—Jacob and Elaine Jahfetson and family of Baraga, Mich. were named Michigan Milk Producers Association’s (MMPA) Top Quality Award Winners for the third consecutive year at MMPA’s annual meeting in Lansing on March 24, 2016.

The Jahfetsons run a 24-cow dairy that obtained the highest quality records in 2013, 2014 and 2015 among the nearly 1,200 farms belonging to MMPA. To qualify, a producer must meet MMPA’s quality premium requirements for an entire year.

“The member who receives the Top Quality Award is an inspiration to all MMPA members. If one member can do it, it shows what is possible for others to achieve,” MMPA Director of Member Services Dean Letter said. “The Jahfetsons are an excellent example of quality producers and continual improvement. The family pays incredibly close attention to every detail, they know exactly what their cows are doing and address any problems immediately.”

Since 1990, MMPA has recognized the farm that produces the highest quality milk for the year. The Jahfestons’ have received MMPA quality awards for the past 15 years and are a testament to the power of a long-term commitment to milk quality. Their persistent attention to cow cleanliness, cow comfort and a detailed, correct, consistent milking procedure helped them achieve the prestigious award.

Read more about the Jahfetsons in the April issue of the Michigan Milk Messenger.

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

MMPA Hosts 100th Annual State Delegate Meeting

Novi, MICH.—The 100th Annual State Delegate Meeting of the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) was held on March 24 at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Michigan. The meeting included an appearance by Gov. Rick Snyder and the announcement of a sizable milk donation to the Food Bank Council of Michigan.

“Michigan’s food and agriculture industry is one of our state’s largest, contributing $101.2 billion annually to our state’s economy,” Snyder said. “The dairy industry plays a critical role in this success, and I thank all of Michigan’s dedicated dairy farmers and leaders for their contributions to making Michigan grow stronger.”

Ken Nobis, MMPA president, announced the donation of 100 gallons of milk per day for an entire year to the Food Bank Council of Michigan. The donation is in recognition of MMPA’s 100th anniversary and a continuation of several other milk donations MMPA has made over the past year.

Representatives from JPMorgan, Consumers Energy and CoBank congratulated MMPA on the anniversary, presenting commemorative plaques and awards to MMPA. Mike Schweickert of JPMorgan noted MMPA was the Chase bank’s ninth customer and has been the cooperative’s banking partner since 1933. Consumers Energy and CoBank also pledged monetary support of MMPA’s milk donation to assist with processing and packaging costs.

Nobis also addressed the approximately 500 attendees with his speech outlining the qualities necessary to become a long-lasting business, saying, “We have been in existence for 100 years but it doesn’t really feel like we have, and maybe that’s because we keep evolving. As markets change, we adapt. In 1916 our markets were close by and by comparison quite simple. Today we still deal locally but we are also cognizant of the global market place, and when appropriate we market globally. We are adapting to the changing playing field and developing markets and membership across the state line.”

MMPA General Manager Joe Diglio unveiled the cooperative’s core values—quality, integrity, progressive, community and leadership—to guide MMPA into the next century.

“As a grass roots organization where member-owners play an instrumental role in governance, trust and reputation become critical to our DNA. Continuing to operate in a manner that our founding members have established 100 years ago is important and relevant in maintaining relationships and strong leadership during a changing environment,” Diglio stated, explaining the role of “integrity” as a core value.

MMPA Treasurer Eric Frahm presented the financial status of the cooperative, reporting a net savings in fiscal year 2015 of $6 million.

Business conducted by the delegates included the adoption of the 2016 MMPA resolutions and reelection of Ken Nobis of St. Johns, Michigan to the board of directors in a three-year, at-large position. Delegates also elected Gertie van den Goor of Marlette, Michigan to her first three-year term in an at-large position. She is the second woman in MMPA history to hold a position on the board of directors.

Nobis recognized 28 individuals holding MMPA membership for 35 years. He honored these individuals for their commitment and hard work to the dairy industry and MMPA. Each 35-year member was presented with a plaque. MMPA also began recognizing members with over 50 years of MMPA membership with the MMPA Milestone Award. Twenty-six individuals were recognized with this award and were presented with a plaque at the meeting.

MMPA Board Member Hank Choate introduced the 2015 Top 10 Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators (OYDC) at the meeting, including Shawn and Beth VanDrie, of Lake City, who were officially recognized as MMPA’s 2015 OYDC.

Dean Letter, director of member services, and Frank Brazeau, member representative, presented Jacob and Elaine Jahfetson and family of Baraga, Michigan with the highest quality milk production award. The Jahfetsons achieved the best quality records in 2015, 2014 and 2013 among MMPA’s 1,200 farms. Along with a plaque from MMPA, the Jahfetsons received a $250 gift certificate for the MMPA Merchandise Program from Ecolab.

Michigan Milk Producers Association is a member owned and controlled milk-marketing cooperative serving over 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio.

Consumers Energy, CoBank to assist with processing costs

Lansing, MICH.—The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) will donate 100 gallons of milk per day for an entire year to the Food Bank Council of Michigan. The donation—totaling 36,500 gallons—was announced at the MMPA Annual State Delegate Meeting last week and is a component of MMPA’s recognition of its 100th anniversary.

“We know that these days hunger doesn’t stop and neither does MMPA’s concern for community. In recognition of MMPA’s 100th anniversary, MMPA will be donating 100 gallons of milk per day for an entire year to the Food Bank Council of Michigan,” Ken Nobis, dairy farmer and president of MMPA said. “We are tremendously grateful for all the work the Food Bank does every day to provide families in need with wholesome, nutritious meals and we want to do our part to help in their efforts.”

“The tremendous generosity of the Michigan Milk Producers Association will help nourish thousands of children across Michigan,” said Dr. Phillip Knight, executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan. “This is another significant step toward our goal to solve hunger.”

Representatives from Consumers Energy and CoBank joined MMPA at the meeting, congratulating the cooperative on its anniversary and announcing monetary donations to the Food Bank Council of Michigan to assist with processing and packaging of the milk.

“We would like to congratulate MMPA for achieving their 100th anniversary, and extend our compliments for the exemplary way they’ve chosen to celebrate their milestone,” said Christopher Laird, director of business customer experience at Consumers Energy. “Their program aligns with our promise of caring for the Michigan communities we serve. We are excited to support their efforts to deliver milk to families in need across the state.”

Over the past year, MMPA has made three separate donations to the Food Bank Council of Michigan and the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, combating the shortage of milk at food banks and assisting with hunger-relief efforts. Two donations of 12,000 gallons of milk were made to directly assist those impacted by the Flint water crisis.

Michigan Milk Producers Association, established in 1916, is a member-owned and controlled milk-marketing cooperative serving over 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio.