MMPA members gather for Cover Crop Field Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NOVI, Mich. – In October, Michigan dairy farmers will have the chance to decide where the state’s dairy promotional dollars will be spent during the next five years. A majority “yes” vote on the Dairy Promotion Referendum ballot, mailed to every state dairy producer, will continue the educational and promotion efforts of the United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM). Ballots will be mailed September 26 and must be returned by October 14.

Under national law, 15-cents per hundredweight are deducted from dairy producers’ milk checks for advertising and educational programs. The law permits 10 of the 15 cents to remain in Michigan to fund local programs. The upcoming referendum will decide whether or not that 10 cents will stay in Michigan or go to the national level.

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

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

Over the years, UDIM has established numerous partnerships with health agencies, state agencies and leaders in the field of education. The relationships promote programs such as school breakfast and fighting childhood obesity by including dairy as part of a healthy diet along with getting 60 minutes of physical activity every day. UDIM continues to lead school health and wellness initiatives, playing a part in the development of school food standards that recognize the value of dairy in good nutrition.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Packard was one of several finalists invited to the annual OYDC Conference held Aug. 9-10. The state OYDC Conference, held at MMPA headquarters in Novi, provides participants with information about milk marketing activities, cooperatives, milk testing procedures and other current events within the dairy industry. The program has been held annually for over 70 years.

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

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

2022 OYDC Finalists

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

 

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

Michigan dairy farmer Ashley Kennedy, a member of the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA), testified on behalf of MMPA and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) at the Senate Agriculture Committee’s first hearing dedicated to the upcoming Farm Bill, the twice-a-decade reauthorization of all USDA programs.

“I couldn’t have come back to the family farm if it were not for many of these programs,” said Kennedy, whose family milks 240 cows in east-central Michigan, at the field hearing held Friday at Michigan State University in East Lansing. “Being a part of the conversation is essential to see a future that reflects opportunity and success.”

Addressing Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who presided over the hearing, Kennedy discussed her perspective as a third-generation farmer on the successes and shortcomings of current dairy policies and programs Congress must address in the next reauthorization. Kennedy thanked the committee, and Chairwoman Stabenow in particular, for overhauling the dairy safety net during the last farm bill and providing producers with access to crop insurance-like risk management tools, which puts dairy farmers on par with producers of other commodities.

Kennedy praised the Dairy Margin Coverage program as “essential to our farm and family’s financial success last year” and called attention to recent improvements that accounted for modest production increases and better reflect dairy farmer feed costs.

Still, the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic for the dairy sector in Michigan and nationwide need to be incorporated into the next reauthorization of federal farm programs, she said in her written testimony. The effects of federal programs on milk pricing deserve special attention, she said. “The combined effects of the change made to the Class I mover in the last farm bill, and the government’s heavy cheese purchases, cost dairy farmers over $750 million in Class I skim revenue during the last six months of 2020.”

The dairy industry, under NMPF leadership, is seeking consensus on a range of improvements to the Federal Milk Marketing Order system, including but not limited to the Class I mover, that can be taken to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for consideration in a national order hearing.

Beyond economic policy, Kennedy also advocated for additional investments in conservation programs to help dairy farmers build on their ongoing sustainability work; urged a doubling of funding for key trade promotion programs; and spoke to the importance of farm bill nutrition programs as “the bedrock of linking the food we produce as farmers to households across the country.”

Kennedy closed by offering a personal take on the need for significant mental health policy in the farm bill. “Stress in rural America is not talked about enough, which is unfortunate, because it’s a problem we can only solve by working together.” Kennedy thanked the committee for reauthorizing the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network in the last farm bill but urged that even more robust resources be provided.

The Senate Agriculture Committee is expected to hold an additional field hearing in Arkansas, the home state of Ranking Republican John Boozman, in the coming weeks.

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

LANSING, Mich.—Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) delegates gathered in Lansing, Michigan on March 24 to conduct official business during MMPA’s 106th Annual Delegate Meeting. Over 200 attendees, including members and employees, heard from MMPA leadership and industry partners on how MMPA is taking charge of change, this year’s meeting theme.

MMPA board chairman Doug Chapin reflected on the prior year, showcasing how the MMPA board of directors guided the cooperative in line with taking charge of change. “An area where your association has taken charge of change is in the purchase of Superior Dairy on December 31, 2021,” he said. “It was the culmination of years of working together and every time we met it was to discuss how we could win by working together.”

Joe Diglio, MMPA president and CEO, expanded on the acquisition of Superior Dairy in Canton, Ohio, describing how taking charge of change begins with aligning in a vision. “It isn’t just one person’s strategy that makes us successful, it’s a team of people that believe in the direction and help accomplish our desired outcome,” he said. “We are excited about our opportunities in front of us and look forward to taking charge of change together.”

MMPA Treasurer Eric Frahm presented the financial status of the cooperative and reported on a strong balance sheet with annual net savings in fiscal year 2021 of $4.3 million. MMPA recently paid out $1.1 million in cash patronage refunds to its dairy farmer members, representing twenty-five percent of the net savings with the remaining non-cash balance allocated to certificates of equity to be revolved back to members in future years.

Business conducted by the delegates included the adoption of the 2021 MMPA resolutions and election of MMPA member Bruce Benthem of McBain, Mich. to his first at-large term on the board of directors and the reelection of Aaron Gasper of Lowell, Mich. to the board of directors. Both Benthem and Gasper will serve three-year terms on the board of directors.

In the board reorganizational meeting held at the conclusion of the delegate meeting, the following officers were reelected: 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 including Kip and Rochelle Siegler of Imlay City, Mich. as the 2021 Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators (OYDC), Nolan Wieber, of Fowler, Mich. as the OYDC Runner-up and all the 2021 OYDC finalists. Koppenol Dairy Farms were also recognized as MMPA’s Top Quality Award Winner. They achieved the best quality records in 2021 among all MMPA farms. Along with a plaque from MMPA, the Koppenols received a $250 gift certificate for the MMPA Farm Supply Store from Ecolab.

Chapin recognized 16 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 recognized members with over 50 years of MMPA membership with the MMPA Milestone Award. Five individuals were recognized with this award and were presented with a plaque at the meeting.

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

NOVI, Mich.— Twenty-one Michigan Milk Producer Association (MMPA) members were today awarded National Dairy Quality Awards, making up nearly half of the total award winners. These MMPA members were among 47 nationally recognized farms in the annual award program and were selected from a pool of 86 applicants nationwide.

The National Dairy Quality Award program recognizes farms who have produced high-quality milk consistently in three tiers: platinum, gold and silver. This year, MMPA members earned one platinum award, eight gold awards and twelve silver awards. The awards presentation took place today during the National Mastitis Council Annual Meeting in San Diego, California.

Platinum Award winning Crandall Dairy Farms LLC in Battle Creek, Michigan. From left to right: Mark Crandall, Kelley Wagner, Thomas Wagner, Stacey Koyl, Brad Crandall.

MMPA’s large representation in the National Dairy Quality Awards is a testament to MMPA’s dedicated field staff and the hard work of the cooperative’s farms.

“This year’s National Dairy Quality Awards results underscores our members’ commitment to producing the highest quality milk possible,” Dean Letter, MMPA director of member services said. “The impressive showing of members in the award program is because of our member’s dedication to quality and their tenacity in overcoming the daily challenges of dairy farming. Congratulations to our twenty-one members recognized!”

MMPA offers a portfolio of member services to help members produce the highest quality milk possible. MMPA’s team of field representatives provide an on-farm partnership that helps each member achieve milk quality and herd health goals. MMPA also offers a quality premium incentive for its members producing higher quality milk. In fiscal year 2021, total producer incentive premiums including quality totaled $23.6 million.

The National Dairy Quality Award program evaluates farm applicants 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.

 

Platinum Award

  • Brad, Mark and Larry Crandall, Battle Creek, Michigan

Gold Awards

  • Don Beattie, Holton, Michigan
  • Jeff, Earl and Mason Horning; Katelyn Packard, Manchester, Michigan
  • Burke and Lisa Larsen, Scottville, Michigan
  • Michigan State University, Lansing, Michigan
  • Tjerk and Ramona Okkema, Blanchard, Michigan
  • Mark and Jolinda Ramer, Hale, Michigan
  • David Schultz, Sandusky, Michigan
  • Kris and Carla Wardin, St. Johns, Michigan

Silver Awards

  • Charles Bode, Marion, Michigan
  • Michael Bosscher, McBain, Michigan
  • Ron Brinks, McBain, Michigan
  • Dale, Bonnie and Kurt Brinks, McBain, Michigan
  • Sam, Doug and Cheri Chapin, Remus, Michigan
  • Paul and Betty DeMann, Martin, Michigan
  • Steve, Phil, Kevin and Joel Gross, Weidman, Michigan
  • Norm, Kim and Derrick Hammond, Dowling, Michigan
  • Bill and Jason Hardy, Stanton, Michigan
  • Alan and Deborah Koppenol; Ken Raterink, Coopersville, Michigan
  • Allen and Aaron Slater, Holton, Michigan
  • Dave 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 and a dairy product plant in Ohio, MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 dairy ingredient plants in Michigan, producing butter, nonfat dry milk powder, condensed skim milk, cream and whole milk powder.

NOVI, Mich.—The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA), based in Novi, Michigan, today announced it will acquire Superior Dairy in Canton, Ohio, a subsidiary of LEL Operating Company.

Under the terms of the acquisition, all of LEL Operating Company’s subsidiaries, Superior Dairy, Inc., Creative Edge Design Group, Ltd., and LEL Logistics, Inc., will become wholly owned subsidiaries of MMPA effective December 31, 2021. Ultimately, the new organization will launch a multi-state dairy manufacturing and innovation campus with four facilities in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, employ a team of over 625 individuals, and service dairy farmers across the Great Lakes region.

Building on the strong partnership developed between the two organizations over the years, the acquisition will bring greater innovation, product diversity and efficiencies to the marketplace. With Superior Dairy under its umbrella, MMPA will be able to provide a greater focus on go-to market strategies more quickly than operating individually to meet the needs of customers and consumers while continuing to support farmers, employees and other stakeholders.

MMPA President & CEO Joe Diglio (left) with LEL Operating Company / Superior Dairy President & CEO Greg Soehnlen (right).

“MMPA’s relationship with Superior Dairy has accelerated over the last six years and we have mutually benefitted from our partnership. Bringing Superior Dairy into the MMPA family will enable us to better tap into their wealth of product development experience to bring value added processing capacity for our dairy farmer members,” said Joe Diglio, president and CEO of MMPA.

“Our partnership with MMPA and their members’ exceptional quality milk has been an integral part of our growth. By taking advantage of our combined manufacturing assets, we will continue our trajectory and the opportunities that this collaboration enables,” said Greg Soehnlen, President and CEO of Superior Dairy, Inc. and LEL Operating Company.

“The acquisition of Superior Dairy demonstrates how MMPA dairy farmer member-owners are committed to investing in innovation and technology for their future. This move ensures there is a reliable outlet for our farmers’ milk while securing their future within the dairy community,” said Doug Chapin, board chairman of MMPA and dairy farmer.

Both organizations have had long and proud histories of supplying quality milk and milk products to consumers and are strategically aligned on their vision for the future. MMPA is a 106-year-old dairy cooperative, while Superior Dairy was founded in 1922 and will soon celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary. To generate long-term success of both organizations, the agreement provides for the repurposing and reutilization of each organization’s resources and current manufacturing facilities to better serve MMPA and Superior Dairy’s needs more collaboratively.

The Superior Dairy facility is located in Canton, Ohio. Superior Dairy, along with Creative Edge Design Group, Ltd., and LEL Logistics, Inc. will become wholly owned subsidiaries of MMPA effective December 31, 2021.

About the Michigan Milk Producers Association

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.

About LEL Operating Company / Superior Dairy

LEL Operating Company is the parent holding company of the following three subsidiaries: Superior Dairy, Inc., Creative Edge Design Group, Ltd.  and LEL Logistics, Inc. Founded in 1922, Superior Dairy is best known for providing high quality fluid milk products, cottage cheese, sour cream, ice cream and chip dip. Since Superior Dairy private labels for many of our customers, millions of consumers enjoy our consistent and flavorful products, without necessarily knowing the Superior name. Creative Edge Design Group is the strategic think tank, research and development arm of LEL Operating Company.

Superior Dairy, which will be acquired by MMPA, is best known for producing high quality products, including fluid milk, at the Canton, Ohio facility.

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.