MMPA 99th Annual Meeting

NOVI, Mich.– The 99th Annual Delegate Meeting of the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) was held on March 19 at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Mich. Business conducted by the delegates included the reelection of mark Halbert, of Battle Creek, Mich., to an at-large position on the board of directors and adoption of the 2015 MMPA resolutions.

MMPA President Ken Nobis emphasized the cooperative’s commitment to processing the growing member milk supply, saying, “Our members have invested nearly $100 million in the last five years in dairy processing that has brought increased capacity to our plants, added value to our members’ milk and created jobs for the community. However, we are not finished with expansion as we move forward into 2015 because we see continued production growth by our members and growing global markets.”

General Manager Joe Diglio discussed changes taking place in the industry and cooperative. He stressed the importance of working together with other cooperatives and MMPA customers to manage the region’s large milk production growth and declining milk prices. “Prices have and will continue to retract from all time highs that we just experienced and we must prepare for that. I believe cooperatives can and will work through the challenges that we face today to develop a more unified approach in handling market conditions as they evolve,” Diglio said.

Diglio commented on the steps taken over the last year to address the growth in milk production, citing the installation of the reverse osmosis (RO) system at the MMPA Constantine Plant in partnership with Foremost Farms USA and the recently completed butter churn at the Ovid plant. “The RO system is a great example of how resources can come together and be successful when working collaboratively for the benefit of member-owners,” Diglio said.

Also in attendance at the meeting, National Milk Producers Federation Vice President of Economic Policy and Market Research Peter Vitaliano relayed the 2015 price outlook.

“Looking at the futures market, as well as projections for milk production, exports and domestic consumption, 2015 isn’t going to be anywhere close to the record milk prices of 2014. But it’s also not going to be anywhere near as disastrous as 2009. Right now, it looks like dairy producer margins will be somewhat better than they averaged during 2011-2013. The outlook will definitely improve when the major dairy-importing countries around the world return to their normal levels of buying dairy products on the world market, which most analysts expect to happen later this year,” he said.

MMPA Treasurer Mark Halbert presented the financial status of the cooperative, reporting a net savings in fiscal year 2014 of $6 million. Halbert also illustrated the strength of MMPA in the marketplace and the amount of dollars returned to members over the past year in the form of premium payments.

Nobis recognized 58 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.

The 2014 District Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators (OYDC) were also honored at the meeting, including Brian and Carrie Preston, of Quincy, who were officially recognized as MMPA’s 2014 OYDC.

Dean Letter, Member Services Department director, and Frank Brazeau, member representative, presented Jacob and Elaine Jahfetson and family of Baraga, Mich. with the highest quality milk production award. The Jahfetsons achieved the best quality records in 2014 and 2013 among MMPA’s over 1,200 farms.

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.

NOVI, Mich.–Four of the seven producers recently announced as National Dairy Quality Award Program platinum winners belong to the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA). In total, 20 MMPA members are among only 41 producers across the country receiving recognition through this program. Of those 20 members, four are platinum winners, eight are gold winners and eight are silver winners.

“Our member owners have always focused on producing a high-quality product for the domestic and global food chain,” says Joe Diglio, MMPA general manager. “Earning nearly half of the 2015 National Dairy Quality Awards speaks volumes about our member’s dedication and commitment to excellence. Just as our members take immense pride in the milk they produce every day, we are proud to work for some of the highest quality dairy farmers in the country.”

Producers from 14 cooperatives received awards with MMPA being the best represented. Other top award winning co-ops included Swiss Valley Farms and Dairy Farmers of America, each with four awards and Upstate Niagara Co-op, Inc. with three.

The MMPA members receiving awards are:

  • Platinum Winners: Jeremy Beebe, Whittemore, Mich.; Duane and Janet Mohloek, Falmouth, Mich.; Brent, Nancy, Tyler and Ben Wilson, Carson City, Mich.; and Mike, Lorene, Andrew and Bobbi Zagata, Sebewaing, Mich.
  • Gold Winners: Randy and Cindy Dragt, Howard City, Mich.; Bradley and Deborah Kartes, West Branch, Mich.; Bruce Lewis, Jonesville, Mich.; Andrew, Michele and Steven Nienhuis, Zeeland, Mich.; Glen, Andy and Casey Sparks, Fremont, Mich.; David and Karen Vander Zanden, Casnovia, Mich.; Ken, Anna, Duane and Laurie VanPolen, Marion, Mich.; and Rob West and the Michigan State University Dairy, East Lansing, Mich.
  • Silver Winners: Larry, Brad, Mark and Monica Crandall, Battle Creek, Mich.; Mark Diemer, McBain, Mich.; Harold and Ruth Ann Dodde, Falmouth, Mich.; Bill and Jason Hardy, Stanton, Mich.; Ken Haubenstricker, Birch Run, Mich.; Tjerk and Ramona Okkema, Blanchard, Mich.; Leroy, Jeff, Andrew and Vicky Paulen, Howard City, Mich.; and Robert and Mark Rau, West Branch, Mich.

MMPA offers a portfolio of member services to help members produce the highest quality milk possible. Christy Dinsmoore, MMPA Northeast Area supervisor and mastitis management specialist, explains, “From nationally recognized Milker Training Schools to on-farm equipment evaluation and individual mastitis management programs, MMPA works closely with members to achieve high quality milk.”

MMPA also offers a quality premium incentive for its members producing higher quality milk. This past year MMPA paid $15.3 million in quality premiums to its dairy farmer members. The National Dairy Quality Award Winners were selected from over 150 applicants. The winning operations stood out for having produced high-quality milk consistently. Applications were evaluated for measures of quality, systems of monitoring udder health, milking routine, protocols for detection and treatment of clinical and subclinical cases of mastitis and strategies for overall herd health and welfare. MMPA winners were nominated by their member representatives.

MMPA is the milk marketing partner for nearly 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.

NOVI, Mich.– Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) was recently awarded top honors at the World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest, being named first and third in the unsalted butter category and second in the open butter class.

Just the fourth year MMPA has competed in the nationwide contest, the co-op’s success is a testament to its dairy farmer members’ high quality milk supply and plant employees’ commitment to product quality.

“The combination of exceptional quality of milk produced by our member-owners along with a dedication to excellence from our plant employees’ has once again been recognized at the World Dairy Expo. For the fourth straight year, MMPA received awards on the butter produced from our manufacturing facilities, solidifying the superior quality and consistency of our products to best serve our customers,” MMPA General Manager Joe Diglio comments.

MMPA’s Ovid Plant produced the first place entry in this year’s unsalted butter competition as well as the second place entry in the open butter class. The MMPA Constantine Plant placed third in the unsalted butter category. In addition to butter, MMPA’s plants manufacture nonfat dry milk (NFDM), condensed skim milk, cream and whole milk powder.

This year’s contest received hundreds of entries in 71 product classes including cheese, butter, fluid milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream, sour cream, sherbet, cultured milk, sour cream dips, whipping cream, dried whey and creative/innovative products from throughout the United States. In its 12th year, the contest continues to grow.

On Sept. 30, the contest’s auction will be held at World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis., at which time all category first place winners will be auctioned off. A portion of the proceeds from the Sept. 30 contest auction will be used to fund the Dr. Robert Bradley Scholarship Fund. This scholarship will be awarded annually to a deserving student pursuing a career in the dairy industry.

The MMPA Constantine and Ovid manufacturing plants are owned and operated by Michigan Milk Producers Association, a milk marketing cooperative serving approximately 2,000 dairy farmers throughout Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. Headquartered in Novi, Mich. MMPA employs about 200 people. In 2013, MMPA marketed over 4.3 billion pounds of milk.

NOVI, Mich.–Brian and Carrie Preston of Quincy, Mich., were selected as the state winning 2014 Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators (OYDC). They represented MMPA’s District 1 and the Hillsdale-Litchfield Local at the annual OYDC Conference held August 14-15. The Prestons were selected to participate in the program earlier this year by fellow dairy farmers in their district.

Brian and Carrie farm with Brian’s father, uncles and cousin. They manage a herd of 700 cows and farm 920 acres. Brian has served as chair and vice-chair of MMPA District 1 and has been a MMPA delegate for five years. He’s a member of the Michigan Dairy Market Program Committee, a church deacon and is active in Farm Bureau. Carrie is FFA advisor for the Branch Area Career Center, serves as co-coordinator for Branch County Project RED and sits on the Michigan Draft Horse Breeders Association Scholarship Committee.

As the state winning cooperators, Brian and Carrie will represent MMPA at various industry and association activities. Ken and Kristen Sparks or Cassopolis, Mich., 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 state OYDC Conference, held at MMPA headquarters in Novi, Mich., 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 64 years.

“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. All the MMPA District OYDCs will be officially recognized at MMPA’s 2015 Annual Meeting to be held next March in Lansing.

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

EAST LANSING, Mich.–The 2014 Michigan Dairy Expo got off to an exciting start last week when the Supreme Champion Dairy Heifer, exhibited by Anna Moser of Dansville, Mich., topped the Michigan Livestock Expo Sale-abration with a record-setting bid of $27,000. The buyer of the dairy lot of the livestock sale was a strong contingency of dairy industry supporters who pooled their money to purchase the winning lot.

In total, $49,500 was bid on four dairy lots: Supreme Champion Dairy Cow exhibited by Parker Hardy of Tipton, Mich; the Supreme Champion Dairy Heifer, Supreme Dairy Showman Hayleigh Geurink, Allendale, Mich. and the Grand Champion Cheese exhibited by the Old Europe Cheese of Benton Harbor. The three dairy youth exhibitors each receive a $1,000. The remaining proceeds from the sale of the dairy lots goes into the statewide dairy youth fund of the Michigan Youth Livestock Scholarship Fund and is used to support scholarships and educational grants for youth in the dairy industry.

The buyers of the Supreme Champion Dairy Heifer were: American Farm Products, Calder Dairy, Caledonia Farmers Elevator, Class Construction, CoBank, Dairy Farmers of America, Farm Bureau Family of Companies Employees, Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith, P.C., Hardy’s Holsteins, MilkSource, Michigan Milk Producers Association, NorthStar Cooperative, Inc., Roberts Dairy Service, The Kroger Co. of Michigan, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, VanBeek Nutrition, Vita Plus and Zeeland Farm Services, Inc.

The buyer of the Supreme Champion Dairy Cow exhibited by Parker Hardy was Michigan Milk Producers Association for $9,000.

The buyer of the Champion Dairy Showman exhibited Hayleigh Geurink was GreenStone Farm Credit Services for $5,500.

The buyer of the Grand Champion Cheese was Meijer for $8,000.

“The Michigan dairy industry is a vibrant and growing industry and we need to encourage these kids interested in our industry to stay involved, to stay excited about our industry and to stay here in Michigan,” says Ken Nobis, president of Michigan Milk Producers Association.

The Michigan Dairy Expo is a week-long education event featuring the State Dairy Days Youth Show, educational contests and state breed association dairy shows. This year over 300 dairy youth from around the state will participate in one or more of the events.

The Michigan Livestock Expo Sale is held each year following the Michigan Livestock Expo. The Michigan Livestock Expo is a statewide multi-species livestock event featuring over 700 youth exhibitors of beef, sheep, swine and goats that is designed to enhance the livestock industry, educate youth and showcase Michigan’s agriculture industry.

BARABOO, WIS. and NOVI, MICH. – Foremost Farms USA, Baraboo, Wis., and Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA), Novi, Mich., announced today that the two cooperatives have formed a strategic alliance for the purpose of balancing and adding value to their members’ milk supplies in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.

Collectively the two cooperatives are initially investing nearly $10 million in the region’s dairy industry, a necessary investment to keep pace with the growing dairy production in this area. The strategic alliance will allow greater opportunities for both cooperatives to leverage their respective milk supplies, reduce operating costs and maximize returns for their farmer-members.

Foremost Farms has purchased and is installing reverse osmosis technology at MMPA’s Constantine, Mich., milk processing plant located in south-central Michigan. The technology, Foremost Farms’ first physical processing asset in Michigan, will concentrate three loads of milk into one by removing water and concentrating the milk solids in order to reduce the cost of long-haul milk transportation by two-thirds. The installation work will begin the week of July 28 and the first phase is expected to be complete by the end of this year.

Dave Fuhrmann, president of Foremost Farms, says, “For the past year, Foremost Farms has been transporting surplus milk from this region back to our own cheese plants in Wisconsin. This has resulted in a tremendous cost burden for our members. This investment allows us to reduce those cost burdens, improve transportation efficiencies, provide market stability for our members’ growing milk supply and utilize the milk solids to make cheese.”

“Michigan’s milk supply is growing at a rate of 3 to 4 percent per year, so investing in reverse osmosis equipment at our Constantine plant helps us keep pace with the growing milk production in our region. This new venture will also improve efficiencies in transportation and give us more flexibility in the market,” Joe Diglio, MMPA’s general manager, said.

“This strategic alliance is a great example of the true spirit of a cooperative — working together for the betterment of all. We are hopeful that this venture will serve as a framework for future opportunities to join forces to strengthen the dairy industry and ultimately better serve our farmermembers. It’s a win-win for the Michigan dairy industry,” Diglio added.

About Foremost Farms

Foremost Farms USA, headquartered in Baraboo, Wis., is a farmer-owned milk processing and marketing cooperative with annual sales of $1.8 billion. Foremost Farms is a manufacturer and marketer of cheese, specialty whey ingredients, butter and bulk fluid milk to customers around the world. Its 1,800 member-owners live in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota. They market early 6 billion pounds of milk annually.

About MMPA

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., the cooperative handles over 4 billion pounds of milk annually.

MMPA Hosts 77th 4-H MMPA Milk Marketing Tour

NOVI, Mich.–Members and adult leaders of 4-H clubs and FFA chapters from several Michigan counties gathered at Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) headquarters in Novi, June 25-26 for the 77th Annual 4-H/MMPA Milk Marketing Tour.

This year’s attendees included: Jacob Arens of Portland, Lance Frahm of Frankenmuth, Lauren Heberling of Carsonville, Rachel Hicks of St. Johns, Matt Horning of Carsonville, Josh Lanning of Whittemore, Josh Markel of Westphalia, Jackson Martin of Westphalia, Madeline Meyer of Ionia, Grace Norden of Napoleon, Ohio, Sasha Platte of Portland, Cassidy Polzin of Saline and Olivia Richmond of Lowell.

The two-day conference, co-sponsored by MMPA and Michigan State University Extension, is the longest running 4-H tour in existence with over 4,000 students having participated. The focus of the tour is to educate students about milk marketing principles as well as the duties and operations of a dairy cooperative.

A wide range of dairy-related topics was presented by MMPA’s president, general manager and other MMPA staff members during the tour. The students learned how milk is processed through a dairy plant and afterward visited Michigan Dairy in Livonia where they could see firsthand what happens to milk after it leaves the farm. For many of the students, this was their first formal exposure to cooperatives and their vital role in milk marketing. Courtney Heisler of Springport and Libby Venema of Deford chaired the event, both participants from last year’s tour.

MMPA is a member owned and operated dairy cooperative serving approximately 2,000 dairy farm families throughout Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana.

MMPA Hires New General Manager

NOVI, Mich.–The Michigan Milk Producers Association board of directors has named Joe Diglio as the cooperative’s new general manager. Joe has been serving as acting general manager since May.

Joe has 23 years of experience with MMPA, serving most recently as the Director of Finance and Controller. Prior to his current position he served in a variety of capacities in the Accounting Department. In addition, Joe holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Wayne State University and is completing a Master’s Degree in Management at Walsh College.

“We believe Joe’s extensive knowledge of the co-op’s operations and management will provide a solid foundation as he takes over the leadership of the MMPA team,” says Ken Nobis, dairy farmer and MMPA president. “We are excited about the opportunities we see on the horizon for MMPA and we have the utmost confidence in Joe and the rest of the MMPA staff.”

As MMPA general manager, Joe will lead the 200-plus employee team providing milk marketing services to dairy farmers in the Great Lakes region, including the milk processing facilities in Ovid and Constantine. During the last fiscal year, MMPA marketed over 4 billion pounds of milk for its member-owners.

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

MMPA 98th Annual Meeting

LANSING, Mich.–The 98th Annual Delegate Meeting of the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) was held on March 20 at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Mich. Business conducted by the delegates included the re-election of Rodney Daniels, of Whittemore, to an at-large position on the board of directors, changes to the cooperative’s bylaws and adoption of the 2014 MMPA resolutions.

President Ken Nobis and General Manager Clay Galarneau discussed changes taking place in the industry and cooperative. Both leaders discussed MMPA’s processing expansion studies to accommodate member milk production growth and indicated the cooperative would likely be announcing a final decision in the coming months. They also highlighted MMPA’s strong 2013 earnings and the record 535 milk quality awards distributed to members.

“Our pay prices have been, and continue to remain, competitive in the industry. We are maintaining and growing the assets in the cooperative necessary to ensure members’ investment in the ownership of MMPA continues to provide value for their milk marketing needs,” Galarneau said.

In a special presentation, MMPA recognized Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow for her persistent, dedicated work on the 2014 Farm Bill. Nobis presented the senator with a “Champion of Dairy” award banner and wall hanging while the crowd thanked her with a standing ovation.

Sen. Stabenow commented, “We worked for over four years to pass the farm bill and our work is not over. In the coming months, we will continue to ensure the rules are written in a way that’s fair and feasible for Michigan farmers. I know how hard you work on your farms, and I’m proud to work hard for you in Washington.”

Also in attendance at the meeting, National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern relayed the organization’s gratitude for MMPA members’ support of the 2014 Farm Bill. “Thank you for calling your legislators and being involved in the process as we worked to formulate a better safety net for American dairy farmers. With your help, we’ve secured risk insurance options to more effectively protect hardworking dairymen and women,” he said.

MMPA Treasurer Mark Halbert presented the financial status of the cooperative, reporting a net savings in fiscal year 2013 of $6.5 million. Halbert also illustrated the strength of MMPA in the marketplace and the amount of dollars returned to members in the past year in the form of premium payments.

Nobis recognized 64 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.

Guest speaker Steve Peterson, General Mills director of sourcing sustainability, told the delegates, “Sustainability is all about spreading the word about the good stewardship stories already happening on MMPA farms. We’ve enjoyed working with such committed, quality producers shipping to the Reed City Yoplait Plant to lay the groundwork for a future of effective, reasonable dairy processing sustainability efforts.”

In recognition of MMPA members’ participation in the General Mills sustainability pilot program, Peterson presented a $7,000 check to the Michigan Dairy Memorial and Scholarship Foundation.

The 2013 District Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators (OYDC) were also honored at the meeting including Mike and Jordan Noll, of Croswell, who were officially recognized as MMPA’s 2013 OYDC.

Dean Letter, Member Services Department director, and Frank Brazeau, member representative, presented Jacob and Elaine Jahfetson and family of Baraga, Mich. with the highest quality milk production award. The Jahfetsons achieved the best quality records in 2013 among MMPA’s over 1,200 farms.

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.

NOVI, Mich.–For 42 years, Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) has sponsored scholarships for MMPA members, their children and employees enrolled in the Agricultural Technology Dairy Management program at Michigan State University (MSU). The scholarships are based on academics, involvement in the dairy industry and letters of recommendation. MMPA invests over $20,000 in scholarship programs each year helping young people pursuing a career in the dairy industry.

“We make substantial investments in scholarship and leadership programs because we believe these young people are the future of the dairy industry,” says Ken Nobis, dairy farmer from St. Johns and MMPA president. “The dairy industry has a bright future in this state. We want to encourage young people to explore careers in this industry.”

Nine MMPA scholarships were awarded to students enrolled in the Dairy Management program of the Institute of Agricultural Technology at MSU for the 2013-2014 school year.

Those students are:

Macy Cole works on her family’s dairy farm in Bancroft. She hopes to one day take over her family’s dairy and crop business or become a dairy nutritionist.

Emily Laeder hails from Harbor Beach and grew up on her family’s dairy farm. She hopes to manage or serve as a herdsman for a large dairy operation after graduation.

Allison Pung grew up in Westphalia on her family’s dairy farm. After completing the two-year program, she plans to pursue a four-year degree in agribusiness management.

Caleb Brown of Jonesville plans to pursue a four-year degree in agribusiness management and eventually work for his father’s company, First-Midwest Ag, after completing his two-year degree. He currently is employed by MMPA member Steve Denning.

Sawyer Johnson is from Lakeview and is employed by MMPA member Jeff Nielsen. His future aspirations include becoming a herdsman and making a positive impact on the Michigan dairy industry.

Andy Slocum is from Hastings where he is active as the sixth generation on his family’s dairy operation. Following graduation, Andy plans to return to his family farm and serve as the operation’s herdsman.

Kelvin Webster is from Elsie where he’s involved on his family’s 3,200-cow dairy operation and owns 40 head of his own. He plans to return to his grandfather’s farm after graduation.

Matthew Stanton is from Elkton and works for MMPA member Te Voortwis Dairy LLC. Following graduation, Matt plans on returning to the Te Voortwis Dairy as a fulltime employee with hopes of one day owning or operating his own dairy farm.

Jorin Ouwinga is from McBain where he works for MMPA member Daniel DeZeeuw helping manage the farm’s 120 cows. Jorin would like to move back to McBain, work full time for Dan DeZeeuw Dairy and start his own dairy after graduation.

MMPA is a member owned and controlled dairy cooperative serving over 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana.

MMPA 97th Annual Meeting

LANSING, Mich.–The 97th Annual Delegate Meeting of the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) was held on March 21 at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Mich. Business conducted by the delegates included the re-election of Ken Nobis, of St. Johns, to an at-large position on the board of directors and adoption of the 2013 MMPA resolutions.

President Ken Nobis and General Manager Clay Galarneau discussed changes taking place in the industry and cooperative. Clay explained that 2012 was characterized by significant milk production gains in Michigan and the rest of the upper Midwest. MMPA showed strong earnings throughout the year and distributed a record 530 milk quality awards to members.

“The investment MMPA members have made to expand the Ovid and Constantine processing plants has accommodated the growth of their milk production and provided flexibility to move into new dairy categories that offer expanded opportunities for improving product margins,” Galarneau said.

MMPA Treasurer Mark Halbert presented the financial status of the cooperative, reporting a net savings in fiscal year 2012 of $6.3 million. Halbert also illustrated the strength of MMPA in the marketplace and the amount of dollars returned to members in the past year in the form of premium payments.

President Nobis recognized 12 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.

The 2012 District Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators (OYDC) were also honored at the meeting including Kris and Carla Wardin, of St. Johns, who were officially recognized as MMPA’s 2012 OYDC.

Eric Frahm, District 10 director, presented Charles and Julie Nelkie and Abigal O’Farrell, of West Branch, Mich., with the highest quality milk production award. The Nelkies and O’Farrells achieved the best quality records in 2012 among MMPA’s over 1,300 farms.

Guest speaker David Riemersma, president of Butterball Farms Inc., told the delegates, “Exceptional flavor and superior texture are expected by the customer and delivered consistently in each and every pat of Butterball butter. The Constantine and Ovid plants help us deliver on those expectations each week – day after day – year after year.”

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.

NOVI, Mich.–Four of the six producers recently announced as National Dairy Quality Award Program platinum winners belong to the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA). In total, 19 MMPA members are among only 51 producers across the country receiving recognition through this program. Of those 19 members, four are platinum winners, 10 are gold winners and 5 are silver winners.

“Our members take pride in producing high-quality, wholesome milk,” says Clay Galarneau, MMPA general manager. “Such a strong showing with 19 national quality awards clearly demonstrates that MMPA members are dedicated to excellence and produce some of the highest quality milk in the country. We couldn’t be more proud of our member’s tireless commitment to quality.”

Producers from 15 cooperatives received awards with MMPA being the best represented. Other top award winning co-ops included Dairy Farmers of America with nine awards and Upstate Niagra Co-op, Inc. and Land O’Lakes, Inc. with four.

The MMPA members receiving awards are:

Platinum Winners: Don Beattie, Holton, Mich.; Ryan and Charina Dellar, Harrisville, Mich.; Bradley, Robert and Deborah Kartes, West Branch, Mich.; and Michigan State University Dairy, East Lansing, Mich.

Gold Winners: Charles and Julie Nelkie, and Abigail O’Farrell, West Branch, Mich.; Tim Berry and Dale Armbrustmacher, Fowler, Mich.; Jeremy Beebe, Whittemore, Mich.; Crandall Dairy Farm, Battle Creek, Mich.; Gordon Dick, McBain, Mich.; Randy and Cindy Dragt, Howard City, Mich.; Timothy and Janice Mater, Deckerville, Mich.; Duane and Janet Molhoek, Falmouth, Mich.; Edward, Clara, Carl and William Stakenas, Free Soil, Mich.; and Brent, Nancy and Tyler Wilson, Carson City, Mich.

Silver Winners: Michael Bosscher, McBain, Mich.; Mark Diemer, McBain, Mich; Ron, Beth and Kevin Litwiller, Perrinton, Mich.; Mark and Robert Rau, West Branch, Mich.; and David and Karen VanderZanden, Casnovia, Mich.

MMPA offers a portfolio of member services to help members produce the highest quality milk possible. Christy Dinsmoore, MMPA mastitis management specialist, explains, “From nationally recognized Milker Training Schools to on-farm equipment evaluation and individual mastitis management programs, MMPA works closely with members to achieve high quality milk.”

“We are fortunate to have so many members striving for top quality milk production,” says MMPA Mastitis Management Supervisor Tom Herremans. “We offer a lot of services and training, but ultimately it is up to the producer to implement the programs and do the right things every day at every milking.”

MMPA also offers a quality premium incentive for its members producing higher quality milk. This past year MMPA paid $14.8 million in quality premiums to its dairy farmer members. The National Dairy Quality Award Winners were selected from nearly 200 applicants. The winning operations stood out for having produced high-quality milk consistently. Applications were evaluated for measures of quality, systems of monitoring udder health, milking routine, protocols for detection and treatment of clinical and subclinical cases of mastitis and strategies for overall herd health and welfare. MMPA winners were nominated by their Member Representatives.

MMPA is the milk marketing partner for over 2,000 dairy farmer members in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.