NOVI, Mich.–For 41 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.”

Eight MMPA scholarships were awarded to students enrolled in the Dairy Production Program of the Institute of Agricultural Technology at MSU for the 2012- 2013 school year.

Those students are:

Brent Bebow is from Alma where he is active in his family’s dairy operation. Following graduation, he would like to take over the family’s dairy and cash crop farm. Taran Hooks, from Breckenridge, works on his family’s dairy operation. After graduation, he plans to return to his family’s farm.

Jorin Ouwinga is from McBain where he works for Daniel DeZeeuw helping manage the farm’s 128 cows. He would like to move back to McBain and start his own dairy after graduation.

Malissa Reed is involved with her family’s 340 cow dairy farm in Owosso. After graduation, she plans to return home to her family’s dairy farm where she would like to start a registered herd focusing on genetics.

Andy Slocum is from Hastings where he is active as the sixth generation on his family’s 180-cow dairy operation. Following graduation, Andy plans to return to his family farm and hopes to expand the farm operation.

Matthew Stanton is from Elkton and works for Te Voortwis Dairy LLC. Following graduation from the Ag Tech program, Matt plans on returning to the Te Voortwis Dairy as a fulltime employee.

Kelvin Webster is in the first year of the dairy program at MSU. He is from Laingsburg where he is involved on his family’s dairy operation in Elsie, Michigan. Kelvin plans to return to his grandfather’s farm after graduation.

Brittney Zondlak is employed by MMPA member Tim Baker in Byron Center where they milk 75 cows. She hopes to transfer into the Agribusiness Management program following graduation from the Ag Tech Dairy program and return to Baker’s farm.

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

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 Oct. 4 and must be returned by Oct. 19.

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 education programs and advertising in our own geographic area and in other areas that benefit our producers,” says Ken Nobis, Michigan Milk Producers Association president and dairy farmer from St. Johns, Mich. “If the referendum fails, the Michigan dairy industry loses control of how and where that entire 15-cents is invested. This is one very big reason why my fellow dairy farmers should take the time to vote „yes‟ and return those ballots.”

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.

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

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

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

NOVI, Mich.–According to a recently released Michigan State University  study on the economic impact of Michigan’s dairy sector, dairy contributes a staggering $14.683 billion to the state’s economy each year.

President of the Michigan Milk Producers Association, Ken Nobis, wasn’t surprised by the new statistics, “Dairy has always been a substantial part of Michigan’s economy, currently generating almost 40,000 direct and indirect jobs. It is truly a bright spot in our state’s economy showcasing the innovation, commitment and tenacity of our state’s dairy farmers, processors, wholesalers and retailers.”

Taking a closer look at the study, the total includes $2.339 billion from dairy farming, $7.97 billion from processing and $4.374 billion from wholesaling and retailing. These numbers are historically high, caused by a rising number of cows and milk production in the state. Coupled with fluctuating prices, dairy farm cash recipients swelled nearly 50 percent from 2006 to 2010, with 8.3 billion pounds of milk produced in 2010 compared to 7.1 billion pounds in 2006.

Estimates summarize total economic impact including direct, indirect (impact on industry inputs) and induced impact on the general economy and are based predominately on 2010 data-the latest available. Processing data is obtained from the 2007 Economic census which experts suspect understates the current level of dairy processing.

Bill Knudson, MSU Product Center product marketing economist, expanded on the role dairy plays in the state economy saying, “Nationally, Michigan ranks eighth in milk production, and the number of dairy cows and the amount of milk produced in the state continues to increase. Clearly, the dairy sector is an important component of Michigan’s food and agriculture system.”

MMPA is a member-owned and operated cooperative serving over 2,100 dairy farmers throughout Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana.

NOVI, Mich.–Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) applauds the Senate Agriculture Committee for approving a farm bill draft this week that includes key improvements to dairy programs.

“We commend Committee Chairwoman Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Ranking Member Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), for their bipartisan leadership and dedication in moving this legislation forward,” says Ken Nobis, MMPA President. “The dairy title contains much needed improvements to current dairy programs that will better protect dairy farmers and benefit consumers.”

The dairy title is modeled after the Foundation for the Future policy dairy reforms first proposed by National Milk Producers Federation nearly two years ago and supported by MMPA and many other state and national farm organizations.

“We look forward to the next step in the legislative process and urge the full Senate to preserve the important components of the dairy title,” says Nobis.

The dairy title includes a margin insurance program that protects farmers from dire economic conditions caused by either low milk prices or high feed costs. The margin insurance program replaces existing dairy programs including the Milk Income Loss Contract program and the Dairy Price Support Program. Farmers who choose to sign up for the margin insurance program will then be enrolled in the Market Stabilization program through which they will be asked to manage their milk supply when worst-case conditions appear.

MMPA is a member-owned and operated cooperative serving over 2,100 dairy farmers throughout Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana.

MMPA 96th Annual Meeting

NOVI, Mich.–The 96th Annual Delegate Meeting of the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) was held on March 22 at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Mich. Business conducted by the delegates included the re-election of Mark Halbert, of Battle Creek, to an at-large position on the board of directors and adoption of the 2012 MMPA resolutions.

President Ken Nobis and General Manager Clay Galarneau discussed changes taking place in the industry and cooperative. Galarenau stated that 2011 was a tremendous year for MMPA and the dairy industry and was a year of unparalleled dairy demand.

“MMPA is committed to helping our members succeed in the life they have chosen in the dairy industry,” said Galarneau.

MMPA Treasurer Mark Halbert presented the financial status of the cooperative, reporting a net savings in fiscal year 2011 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 31 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 2011 District Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators (OYDC) were also honored at the meeting, including Jeremy and Jody Sharrard, of Peck who were officially recognized as MMPA’s 2011 OYDC.

John Kronemeyer, District 12 Director, presented Ryan and Charina Dellar of Harrisville, Mich., with the highest quality milk production award. The Dellars achieved the best quality records in 2011 of over 1,300 farms belonging to MMPA. To qualify for this prestigious award, a producer must meet MMPA’s quality premium requirements for an entire year.

Guest speaker Jerry Dryer, editor of the Dairy and Food Market Analyst told the delegates, “there is an endless number of opportunities to drive the market for U.S. dairy products overseas.”

Michigan Milk Producers Association is a member owned and controlled milkmarketing cooperative serving over 2,100 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio.

NOVI, Mich.–Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) applauds the Michigan dairy and livestock producers who have worked aggressively for several years to reverse the TB designation assigned to the state nearly two decades ago. The commitment of Michigan’s farmers to protect livestock from this disease has led to 57 counties designated as Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) Free.

“The TB-Free designation is welcome and long anticipated news to Michigan’s dairy industry,” MMPA President Ken Nobis said. “The State of Michigan and the agriculture industry have spent a tremendous amount of time and resources working toward the TB Free designation. We appreciate the efforts of all farmers and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) to bring this designation to fruition.”

In an interim rule published in the Federal Register on September 14, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that 57 counties in the Lower Peninsula have been designated as Bovine TB Free. In addition, USDA approved the removal of Presque Isle County from the Bovine TB Modified Accredited Zone (MAZ).

“We understand the ultimate goal is have all Michigan counties designated as TB Free,” says Nobis. “By designating the 57 counties as TB Free, along with the already designated TB Free Upper Peninsula, it allows for the more effective use of limited resources to help eradicate Bovine TB from the state completely.”

Bovine TB is a contagious bacterial disease of cattle that can affect other mammals, including humans. In 1994, a unique strain of bovine TB was identified
in Michigan’s free-ranging deer. USDA has worked with Michigan’s farmers, veterinarians, Michigan State University Extension agents, Michigan’s Departments of Natural Resources and Community Health, and MDARD on statewide disease surveillance testing, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tagging of 1.2 million Michigan beef and dairy animals representing $9.17 billion in net worth.

“MMPA and its members is committed to providing the highest level of animal care, including the protection from contagious disease,” Nobis says. “We are proud of the efforts our members have taken to combat this problem.”

MMPA is a member-owned and operated cooperative serving over 2,100 dairy farmers throughout Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana.

OVID, Mich.–Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) recently took home top honors from the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) annual meeting, being named the 2010
Plant of the Year by Dairy Foods magazine. The award caps off an exciting year for the plant which recently completed a two-year, $62 million renovation project.

The investment made by the dairy farmer owners of MMPA increased daily processing capacities to nearly 5 million pounds and expanded the production capabilities at the Ovid facility. The expansion included a $27 million tower dryer, $7 million in mechanical vapor recompression (MVR) equipment and $28 million in receiving, processing, utility and warehousing improvements and additions.

Being named plant of the year was an unexpected, yet welcome award for the cooperative, which ranks 59th on the magazine’s Dairy 100 list of the nation’s processors. MMPA General Manager Clay Galarneau traveled to IDFA’s annual meeting to accept the award.

“It is a real honor to be recognized by this group of processors,” Galarneau says. “Our members have made a significant investment in our processing facilities and we are proud of the improvements made at Ovid. We believe this investment will benefit our dairy farmer owners for many years.”

The changes made at the plant were spurred by increasing milk production in Michigan and the Great Lakes region. Faced with additional volumes of milk, MMPA members had to choose between investing in their own facility or sending the milk to neighboring states.

“Our members saw the need for the plant expansion and backed it with a 10 cent per hundredweight equity retain,” says MMPA President Ken Nobis. “Our members see a strong future in Michigan’s dairy industry and our facilities need to be able to keep pace with our members’ production and customer needs.”

Products made at the Ovid facility include cream, condensed milk, butter and powdered milk that are sold as dairy ingredients to a wide variety of food manufacturers.

“You don’t see the MMPA label in the store, but when you eat pudding, yogurt, cookies, ice cream and many other foods, chances are you are enjoying ingredients made at the MMPA manufacturing facility,” Galarneau comments.

The MMPA Ovid manufacturing plant is owned and operated by Michigan Milk Producers Association, a milk marketing cooperative owned by approximately 2,100 dairy farmer members throughout Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. Headquartered in Novi, Mich. MMPA employs about 200 people. MMPA has another manufacturing facility in Constantine. In 2010, MMPA marketed over 3.9 billion pounds of milk.