NOVI, Mich.— Kip and Rochelle Siegler of Imlay City, Michigan, were selected as the state winning 2021 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 cooperators, the Sieglers will represent MMPA at various industry and association activities. Nolan Wieber of Pompeii, Michigan, was 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 Sieglers farm around 1,900 acres and operate a 200-cow dairy with Kip’s family. They are members of the MMPA Mid-Thumb Local in District 8. The couple also runs a successful YouTube channel, Kip Siegler Dairy Farming, with over 25,000 subscribers and 3 million total views. The Sieglers were featured on the cover of the latest issue of the Milk Messenger, MMPA’s member magazine (read online here).

“We view farming as a lifestyle not just a job and to be honored for excelling at something you love to do is the ultimate achievement,” Kip Siegler said.

Kip and Rochelle were one of several finalists invited to the annual OYDC Conference, an outdoor meeting hosted by 2020 OYDC Brent and Emily Simon at their farm in Westphalia, Michigan on August 10. The OYDC Conference provides participants with information about milk marketing activities, cooperatives, and other current events within the dairy industry. The program has been held annually for over 70 years.

2021 OYDC Finalists

  • Jason and Audrey Bischoff, Tawas City, Michigan
  • Adam and Charlie Freis, Wallace, Michigan
  • Zach Pixley, Nashville, Michigan
  • Daren Rubingh, Ellsworth, Michigan
  • Ryan and Katie Schumacher, Munger, Michigan
  • Kip and Rochelle Siegler, Imlay City, Michigan
  • Nolan Wieber, Pompeii, Michigan

MMPA is a dairy farmer owned cooperative founded in 1916. MMPA serves dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, handling approximately 5 billion pounds of milk annually. MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 certified manufacturing plants in Michigan and a cheese plant in Indiana. Products made at MMPA’s plants include cheese, ultra-filtered milk, butter, milk powder, cream and condensed skim milk.

MADISON, Wisc. — Butter made in Michigan by farmer-owned Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) was today awarded top honors from the World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest.

A first-place award was granted to unsalted butter made at MMPA’s dairy plant in Ovid, Michigan. Butter made at MMPA’s dairy plant in Constantine, Michigan also took home a second-place award in salted butter.

“Our award-winning butter is one of MMPA’s signature products made from the high-quality milk from our farmer owners. We are proud of this recognition as it demonstrates the excellence of MMPA products and how our team works tireless to craft them,” Judy Lofgren, MMPA director of sales and supply chain said.

The World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest is the only North American judging contest which encompasses all dairy products. The contest features product classes including cheese, butter, fluid milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream, cultured milk and dried whey from throughout the United States.

A contest auction of all first-place entries took place during the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin today. As a result of this contest, the Wisconsin Dairy Products Association (WDPA) annually funds scholarships for students preparing for careers in the dairy industry.

MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 dairy ingredient plants in Michigan and a cheese plant in Indiana. In addition to butter, MMPA’s dairy ingredient plants manufacture nonfat dry milk, condensed skim milk, ultra-filtered milk, cream, buttermilk powder, and whole milk powder. MMPA sells its products to food manufacturers who make candy, ice cream, pudding, baked goods, cheese and yogurt.

MMPA is a dairy farmer owned cooperative founded in 1916. MMPA serves dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, handling approximately 5 billion pounds of milk annually.

MMPA appoints new chief financial officer

NOVI, Mich.—The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA), the 10th largest dairy cooperative in the U.S., recently named Tom Downey to serve as chief financial officer (CFO).

As CFO, Downey will direct strategic planning and oversee all financial activities of MMPA. Downey is a results-oriented professional with a proven track record of operational and financial acumen.

“As MMPA continues our journey toward innovation and advancing our position within the industry, Tom’s forward-thinking vision and experience will be a great complement to our leadership team,” MMPA President and CEO Joe Diglio said.

Most recently, Downey worked for Alvarez & Marsal as a senior director where he advised client across multiple industries to help improve bottom line results. Downey previously held positions with Lighthouse Investment Partners and Ernst & Young. Downey has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in accounting from Michigan State University. He lives in the Metro Detroit area with his wife and twin daughters.

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, 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.

NOVI, Mich.—Fifteen Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) dairy farms were recently awarded National Dairy Quality Awards by the National Mastitis Council (NMC). Recognized during the virtual NMC 60th Annual Meeting last week, these MMPA members were among 46 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 Wilson Centennial Farm in Carson City, Michigan. MMPA farms also won six gold awards and seven silver awards, plus one honorable mention.

The team at Wilson Centennial Farm. Photo courtesy of Carla Wardin and Hoard’s Dairyman.

“MMPA dairy farms continue to excel in milk quality and we are proud of their efforts toward continuous improvement. This year’s representation in the National Dairy Quality Awards, along with MMPA’s overall membership reaching record average quality test results is yet another testament to maintaining excellence,” Ben Chapin, manager of field 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 continued to improve through the year, with record low somatic cell counts (SCC), a key milk quality indicator. MMPA offers its own quality award program and this year presented awards to 368 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

  • Wilson Centennial Farm LLC (Brent, Nancy, Tyler and Ben Wilson), Carson City, Michigan

Gold

  • Beattie Farms (Don Beattie), Holton, Michigan
  • Crandall Dairy Farms LLC (Brad, Mark and Larry Crandall), Battle Creek, Michigan
  • Evergreen Dairy Farm LLC (Kris and Carla Wardin), Saint Johns, Michigan
  • Raterink Dairy Farm (Dennis, Brenda and Mike Raterink), Zeeland, Michigan
  • Larsen Farms (Burke and Lisa Larsen), Scottville, Michigan
  • Van Polen Farms (Ken, Duane, Laurie, Mike and Beth VanPolen), Marion, Michigan

Silver

  • Bon Dale Farm (Dale A. Brinks), McBain, Michigan
  • Bosscher Dairy (Michael Bosscher), McBain, Michigan
  • De Grins Oer Dairy (Tjerk and Ramona Okkema), Blanchard, Michigan
  • Clemens Dairy Farm Inc. (Eric and Shelly Clemens), West Branch, Michigan
  • Lambarth Farms LLC (David and Kat Mageean), Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Koppenol Dairy Farms, Inc. (Alan and Deborah Koppenol, and Ken Raterink), Coopersville, Michigan
  • Rubingh’s Dairyland LLC (Marvin Rubingh), Ellsworth, Michigan

Honorable Mention

  • Tacoma Dairy Inc (David and Rick Tacoma), Falmouth, Michigan

 

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, 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.

NOVI, Mich.— Brent and Emily Simon of Westphalia, Michigan, were selected as the state winning 2020 Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators (OYDC) by a panel of judges represented by leaders in the Great Lakes dairy industry.

As the state winning cooperators, Simons will represent MMPA at various industry and association activities. Drew and Beth Rupprecht of Vassar, Michigan, were selected as the runner-up young cooperators. Selection of the OYDC is based on the applicant’s farming operations, farm-related and community activities and demonstrated leadership abilities.

The Simons operate a quality award winning farm with 930 cows and 2,300 acres. They are members of the MMPA Mid-Michigan Local in District 6.

“The mission of Simon Dairy Farm is to produce the highest quality product possible while maintaining our families, employees and livestock as the highest priority,” the Simons said.

Brent is a graduate of the dairy management program at Michigan State University, while Emily has a bachelor’s degree from Davenport University. The farm was selected as a platinum quality award winner from the National Mastitis Council in 2016, has twice hosted the Alta Genetics showcase tour and was a World Dairy Expo virtual farm tour presenter in 2011. Brent serves as an MMPA delegate for District 6.

Brent and Emily were one of several finalists invited to the annual OYDC Conference held Aug. 11. They were selected to participate in the program earlier this year by fellow dairy farmers in their local area.

The OYDC Conference 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 70 years. This year’s program was an outdoor, modified meeting in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Though the conference is typically two days long and held at the MMPA headquarters, the meeting was adjusted to be in compliance with state regulations related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. The meeting also included a tour of Weber Family Dairy, owned by 2019 OYDC James Weber.

2020 Outstanding Young Cooperators Finalists (in alphabetical order):

  • Steven and Grace Adamic, North Branch, MI
  • Josie Diehl, Lupton, MI
  • Jesse and Chelsea Ramer, Elkhart, IN
  • Drew and Beth Rupprecht, Vassar, MI
  • Kip and Rochelle Siegler, Imlay City, MI
  • Brent and Emily Simon, Westphalia, MI

MMPA is a dairy farmer owned cooperative founded in 1916. MMPA serves approximately 1,300 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, handling approximately 5 billion pounds of milk annually. MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 certified manufacturing plants in Michigan and a cheese plant in Indiana. Products made at MMPA’s plants include cheese, ultra-filtered milk, butter, milk powder, cream and condensed skim milk.

LANSING, Mich.—As the coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to spread, the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) remains steadfast in its mission to market members’ milk to the greatest advantage possible while taking actions to protect the health and safety of our communities. Deemed a critical infrastructure business, MMPA continues to support the local and national dairy supply chain to ensure consumers have a safe, reliable supply of milk and dairy products.

In addition to continued business with customers, MMPA is responding to increased need at food banks in the Great Lakes region with dairy product donations. In Indiana, MMPA is donating cheese from Heritage Ridge Creamery to Second Helpings, an organization focused on providing meals to individuals and families in need, with particular emphasis now amidst the COVID-19 issue.  Additional cheese is also being donated to the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, an organization that provides food assistance in a six-county area in Northern Indiana.

Further, MMPA, along with Kroger’s Michigan Dairy plant, will donate over 2,020 pounds of milk per day to the Food Bank Council of Michigan throughout 2020. The first load of milk was delivered this week and the total donation of around 85,000 gallons of milk will ultimately reach all 83 counties of Michigan. MMPA has donated over 333,000 gallons of milk since 2015 including this year’s donation announced at MMPA’s 104th Annual State Delegate Meeting on March 12.

MMPA’s modified members- and employees-only annual meeting was held at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Michigan. Considering the continued spread of the coronavirus disease, MMPA limited the meeting to a reduced number of attendees. The meeting took place with a shortened agenda to conduct official business in accordance with MMPA bylaws. As the COVID-19 situation has processed, MMPA has been evaluating scheduled meetings, with many being canceled or postponed.

Unified by the theme, “Cultivating Connections. Driving Innovation.,” MMPA leaders at the modified meeting asserted the significance of building partnerships for the betterment of MMPA dairy farmer members and the dairy community.

In the MMPA board chairman report, Kris Wardin reflected on the prior year while asserting how the MMPA board of directors is guiding the cooperative in line with the meeting’s theme. “By cultivating connections – with our elected officials, other co-ops, customers and ultimately our end-user consumers – we can continue to build an even stronger co-op that will last another 100+ years,” he said. “But we have to be proactive! We must drive innovation with new products and look for partnerships that fit our core values.”

Joe Diglio, MMPA president and CEO, described how establishing relationships and building a strong team builds momentum for the future. “The more you learn and adapt to the challenges ahead, the more success you will have,” he said. “And to learn and adapt means you must trust each other on how to navigate the challenges.”

MMPA Treasurer Eric Frahm presented the financial status of the cooperative and reported annual revenue of $850 million.

Business conducted by the delegates included the adoption of the 2020 MMPA resolutions and election of MMPA members Kris Wardin and Bruce Lewis to the board of directors in three-year, at-large positions.

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

The annual meeting proceedings also involved recognition of several MMPA members:

  • James Weber, of Vassar, Michigan as the 2019 Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperator
  • Leroy Zimmerman, of Carson City, Michigan, as the Top Quality Award Winner
  • Members who achieved membership milestones of 35 or 50 years with MMPA:
    • 50-Year Member: Dale E. Weidmayer
    • 35-Year Members: Robert W. Coulombe, Daniel & Dorothy Ritter, Randy G. Dragt, Brent & Nancy Wilson, David Adkinson, Raymond Bucholz, Jane M. Wood, Mark S. Rau, Robert A. Rau, James R. Richmond and Keith M. Richmond

The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) is a dairy farmer owned cooperative founded in 1916. MMPA serves approximately 1,300 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, handling approximately 5 billion pounds of milk annually. MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 certified manufacturing plants in Michigan and a cheese plant in Indiana.

Seventeen Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) dairy farmer members were recently awarded National Dairy Quality Awards by the National Mastitis Council (NMC), making up nearly 45 percent of the total winners. Honored at the NMC annual meeting in Orlando, Florida last week, these MMPA members were among 38 nationally recognized farms in the annual award program.

Two MMPA farms earned the highest honor, which was granted to only six dairy farms in the U.S. The platinum award winners were Kris and Carla Wardin of Evergreen Dairy in St. Johns, Michigan and Brent, Nancy, Tyler, Ben Wilson of Wilson Centennial Farm in Carson City, Michigan. MMPA farms won seven gold awards, eight silver awards in addition to four honorable mentions.

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.

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

“MMPA dairy farms have a reputation for producing high quality milk and this year’s representation in the National Dairy Quality Awards is yet another a testament to maintaining excellence,” Ben Chapin, manager of field services said.

The winners were selected from a pool of 82 applicants nationwide. The winning operations stood out for consistently producing high-quality milk. 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.

The National Mastitis Council, along with quality partners Boehringer Ingelheim, GEA, Ecolab, IBA Inc., Conewango, milc Group and Hoard’s Dairyman sponsored the awards. The National Mastitis Council (NMC) is a not-for-profit professional organization devoted to reducing mastitis and enhancing milk quality. The NMC promotes research and provides information to the dairy industry on udder health, milking management, milk quality and milk safety.

 

Platinum Awards

  • Wilson Centennial Farm of Carson City, Michigan
  • Evergreen Dairy of St. Johns of Michigan

 

Gold Awards

  • Crandall Dairy Farms LLC of Battle Creek, Michigan
  • De Grins Oer Dairy of Blanchard, Michigan
  • Van Polen Farms of Marion, Michigan
  • Rubingh’s Dairyland LLC of Ellsworth, Michigan
  • Wirth Farms of Evart, Michigan
  • Gross Farm Inc of Weidman, Michigan
  • Raterink Dairy Farm of Zeeland, Michigan

 

Silver Awards

  • Dick Haven Farms LLC – Jersey Operation of McBain, Michigan
  • Schultz Dairy LLC of Sandusky, Michigan
  • Bosscher Dairy of McBain, Michigan
  • Spring Lake Farm of Stanton, Michigan
  • Benthem Brothers Inc of McBain, Michigan
  • Nienhuis Family Dairy of Zeeland, Michigan
  • Bontrager Farm of Wolcottville, Indiana
  • Leroy Zimmerman of Carson City, Michigan

 

Honorable Mention

  • Higgins Farm of Grant, Michigan
  • Ephraim Martin of Sheridan, Michigan
  • Dodde Dale Farms LLC of Falmouth, Michigan
  • Gilde Farms of Lake City, Michigan

 

The Michigan Milk Producers Association–established in 1916–is a member-owned and operated milk marketing cooperative and dairy processor serving approximately 1,300 dairy farmers throughout Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana. In addition to a cheese plant in Indiana, MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 dairy ingredient plants in Michigan, producing butter, nonfat dry milk powder, condensed skim milk, cream and whole milk powder.

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

For the 2019-2020 academic year, MMPA awarded 9 scholarships, totaling over $20,000. The scholarship recipients were honored and introduced to MMPA members at the annual Leaders’ Conference on Nov. 22 in East Lansing, Michigan.

“The legacy of our cooperative is made stronger by supporting the education of future dairy industry leaders. These scholarships encourage the next generation to develop new skills and pursue careers in the dairy industry,” said Joe Diglio, MMPA President & CEO.

The scholarship fund aims to assist young students pursuing a career in the dairy industry. Scholarships are awarded based on academics, involvement in the dairy industry and letters of recommendation.

The MSU scholarships available are for students enrolled in the Dairy Management Program. According to the MSU Institute of Agricultural Technology, the program delivers innovative, educational programs that develop career-ready graduates through intensive, practical learning and skill enhancement. Students in the dairy management program, advised by Dr. Joe Domecq, undergo a two year, hands-on training program for careers in the dairy industry. A key component of the program is the completion of an internship at a dairy farm different than the student’s home farm.

Scholarship applications for the 2020-2021 academic year are due Sept. 1, 2020. 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.

Scholarship Recipients

  • Wyatt Lamb of Jeddo, Michigan
  • Calvin Minnis of Dansville, Michigan
  • Shania Drake of Pigeon, Michigan
  • Adam Jones of Mason, Michigan
  • Olivia Walker of Lapeer, Michigan
  • Kassidy Thelen of Westphalia, Michigan
  • Jack Baker of Byron Center, Michigan
  • Ian Black of Eagle, Michigan
  • Mikayla Bowen of Hudson, Michigan
MSU scholarship students were honored at the MMPA Leaders’ Conference on Nov. 22 (L-R): Jack Baker, Ian Black, Mikalya Bowen, Calvin Minnis, Shania Drake, Olivia Walker and Wyatt Lamb.

MADISON, Wisc. — Butter made in southwest Michigan by farmer-owned Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) was today awarded top honors from the World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest. First, second and third place awards were granted to unsalted butter made at MMPA’s dairy plant in Constantine, Michigan.

In the cheese division, MMPA’s Colby-jack cheese—made by subsidiary Middlebury Cheese Company in northern Indiana—won third place in the Colby or Monterrey jack cheese category. MMPA has competed in the North American contest for nine years.

“Excellence starts with our member-owners’ high-quality milk and the dedication of our plant teams to produce award-winning products,” MMPA President and CEO Joe Diglio said. “We are proud of these accomplishments that continue to be recognized at World Dairy Expo.”

“The commitment of our team shines in the quality of our products,” MMPA Constantine Plant Manager Dave Davis said. “We are proud of our product made right here in the Great Lakes region.”

The World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest is the only North American judging contest which encompasses all dairy products. The contest received over one thousand entries in 75 product classes including cheese, butter, fluid milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream, cultured milk and dried whey from throughout the United States.

A contest auction of all first-place entries will take place during the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin today. As a result of this contest, the Wisconsin Dairy Products Association (WDPA) annually funds two scholarships for students preparing for careers in the dairy industry. WDPA also funds a culinary arts scholarship and donates to the National Collegiate Judging Contest which trains college students the art of evaluating dairy products.

MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 dairy ingredient plants in Michigan and a cheese plant in Indiana. In addition to butter, MMPA’s dairy ingredient plants manufacture nonfat dry milk, condensed skim milk, cream and whole milk powder. MMPA sells its products to food manufacturers who make infant formulas, candy, ice cream, pudding, baked goods, cheese and yogurt. The Colby-jack cheese and 2 pound rolls of butter are sold at the Heritage Ridge Creamery store in Middlebury, Indiana and online at www.heritageridgecreamery.com.

MMPA is a dairy farmer owned cooperative founded in 1916. MMPA serves approximately 1,600 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, handling approximately 5 billion pounds of milk annually. MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 certified manufacturing plants in Michigan and a cheese plant in Indiana. Products made at MMPA’s plants include cheese, ultra-filtered milk, butter, milk powder, cream and condensed skim milk.

NOVI, Mich.— The Board of Directors for the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) recently presented delegates with proposed revisions to the organization’s bylaws to further support MMPA’s mission and vision. Delegates overwhelmingly adopted the proposed changes, updating MMPA’s governance structure and leadership titles.

Following the delegate meeting, the MMPA Board of Directors met and reaffirmed the appointment of Joe Diglio as President and CEO, Kris Wardin as Board Chairman, Doug Chapin as Board Vice Chairman, and Eric Frahm as Treasurer.

Diglio, now serving the position of President and CEO, was appointed general manager of MMPA in 2014. He has over 28 years of experience with MMPA, serving in various accounting and finance functions and as director of finance, controller and assistant treasurer throughout his tenure. Diglio holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Wayne State University and master’s degree in management and strategic leadership from Walsh College.

Board Chairman Wardin is a dairy farmer member of MMPA from St. Johns, Michigan. He was elected president in March 2019 and was first elected to an at-large position on the board of directors in 2017. He and his wife, Carla, were named the 2012 MMPA Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators and served on the National Milk Producers Federation’s Young Cooperators Council as the Chaircouple.

Board Vice Chairman Doug Chapin is a dairy farmer member of MMPA from Remus, Michigan. Chapin was originally elected to the MMPA board of directors in 2016 and farms in partnership with his wife, Cheri, and son, Samuel. Chapin was named MSU Dairy Farmer of the Year in 1994.

Treasurer Eric Frahm is a dairy farmer member of MMPA from Frankenmuth, Michigan and was originally elected to the MMPA Board of Directors in 2006. Frahm has served as Treasurer since 2015.

MMPA member-owners are represented by over 150 delegates who meet on an annual basis to set policy resolutions and elect at-large members of the board of directors. The delegates gathered for a special delegate meeting in August to vote on changes to the MMPA bylaws.

MMPA is a dairy farmer owned cooperative founded in 1916. MMPA serves approximately 1,600 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, handling approximately 5 billion pounds of milk annually. MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 certified manufacturing plants in Michigan and a cheese plant in Indiana. Products made at MMPA’s plants include cheese, ultra-filtered milk, butter, milk powder, cream and condensed skim milk.

NOVI, Mich.—James Weber of Vassar, Michigan, was selected as the state winning 2019 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, Weber will represent MMPA at various industry and association activities. Brad and Nicole Wren of Prescott, 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.

Weber reopened his family’s farm, Weber Family Dairy, in 2015 where he currently milks 120 cows and farms 800 acres. He is a member of MMPA’s Frankenmuth Local in District 7.

“I’m most excited to be the OYDC because it gives us a chance to represent MMPA. I’m looking forward to the industry contacts and the fellowship I’ll have with other members throughout the next year,” he said.

Weber received a dairy management certificate from MSU and is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University with a bachelor’s degree in dairy science. He is active within MMPA, serving on MMPA’s state resolutions committee, district nominating committee and as a delegate. Within his community, Weber serves on Tuscola County Farm Bureau’s board of directors and Tuscola County Soil Conservation District’s board of directors. He also received the Outstanding Young Farmer award from Frankenmuth Jaycees, an organization for young professionals.

Weber was one of several finalists invited to the annual OYDC Conference held Aug. 13-14. He was selected to participate in the program earlier this year by fellow dairy farmers in his local.

The state OYDC Conference, held at MMPA headquarters in Novi, provides participants with information about milk marketing activities, cooperatives, milk testing procedures and other current events within the dairy industry. The program has been held annually for almost 70 years. This year’s program featured the OYDCs finalists selected from a pool of applicants nominated by their local. OYDCs often go on to hold leadership positions within their community and cooperative.

“The OYDC program is a powerful tool for MMPA to encourage, educate and recognize our young dairy farmers while helping identify the future leaders of our cooperative.” Kris Wardin, MMPA board chairman, said. Wardin and his wife, Carla, were the MMPA OYDC in 2012.

All MMPA OYDC finalists will be officially recognized at MMPA’s 104th Annual Meeting to be held March 2020 in Lansing, Michigan.

2019 Outstanding Young Cooperators Finalists (in alphabetical order):

  • Andrew and Rebecca Bahrman, Skandia, Michigan
  • Eric and Brittany Carson, Hesperia, Michigan
  • Darren and Regina Coffey, Allegan, Michigan
  • Brian and Jill DeMann, Martin, Michigan
  • Jason Elenbaum, Mayville, Michigan
  • Jeremy Karsten, Posen, Michigan
  • Marie Marion, Saline, Michigan
  • James Weber, Vassar, Michigan
  • Ross Daniel Williams, Homer, Michigan
  • Brad and Nicole Wren, Prescott, Michigan

MMPA is a dairy farmer owned cooperative founded in 1916. MMPA serves approximately 1,600 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, handling approximately 5 billion pounds of milk annually. MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 certified manufacturing plants in Michigan and a cheese plant in Indiana. Products made at MMPA’s plants include cheese, ultra-filtered milk, butter, milk powder, cream and condensed skim milk.

The top five interviewees were announced during the State 4-H Dairy Banquet on July 18. From left, Hope Shilling, Madison Halfman, Adalee Thelen, Kassidy Thelen and Joshua Tripp.

NOVI, Mich.—Five Michigan youth will travel to Wisconsin this fall for the National 4-H Dairy Conference, thanks to a sponsorship from the Michigan Milk Producers Association. The top five selected are: Adalee Thelen, Clinton County; Kassidy Thelen, Clinton County; Madison Halfman, Clinton County; Hope Shilling, Branch County and Joshua Tripp, Ottawa County. The alternates are Ian Black, Clinton County and Corbin Redman, Gratiot County.

The students were selected as Michigan delegates after attending the MMPA 4-H Milk Marketing Tour held annual in Novi, Michigan, at the MMPA headquarters. The participants with the highest scores on a dairy industry and cooperative quiz administered at the end of the tour were invited to interview in East Lansing during the Michigan Dairy Expo. The top five interviewees were announced during the State 4-H Dairy Banquet on July 18 and awarded a sponsored trip to the National 4-H Dairy Conference in Madison, Wisconsin on September 29 to October 2.

The National 4-H Dairy Conference, held in conjunction with World Dairy Expo, brings future dairy leaders together build upon their knowledge of the dairy industry. The five students sponsored by MMPA will join approximately 200 delegates from the U.S. and Canada.

During the MMPA 4-H Milk Marketing Tour on June 27-28, 21 youth from nine counties came together to learn about milk marketing and cooperatives. MMPA has welcomed 4-H and FFA members to the cooperative’s headquarters for over 80 years to be immersed in the operations of the dairy cooperative and educated about milk marketing principles.

Co-sponsored by MMPA and Michigan State University Extension, the Milk Marketing Tour is the longest running 4-H tour in existence with thousands of participant alumni. Throughout the tour, participants learned about the role of milk marketing cooperatives through interactive activities involving the MMPA staff members. Additionally, students visited Kroger’s Michigan Dairy plant in Livonia to see how milk is processed and packaged once it leaves the farm.

MMPA is a dairy farmer owned cooperative founded in 1916. MMPA serves approximately 1,600 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, handling approximately 5 billion pounds of milk annually. MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 certified manufacturing plants in Michigan and a cheese plant in Indiana. Products made at MMPA’s plants include cheese, ultra filtered milk, butter, milk powder, cream and condensed skim milk.