LANSING, MICH. – For the fourth year in a row, the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) has made a donation of fresh milk to the state’s food bank network.

MMPA is donating 150 gallons of milk a day for 2018. That amounts to 54,750 gallons of milk to Michigan area food banks this year. The donation is occurring primarily during the summer months when the need is the greatest The Food Bank Council of Michigan will ensure Michigan’s seven food banks serving all 83 counties in Michigan will receive this wholesome product.

MMPA is a farmer-owned cooperative, meaning the milk is a donation directly from the farmers. For four consecutive years, MMPA has worked with local farmers for their generous donation while increasing the milk donation.

“The Food Bank Council couldn’t be happier to receive this donation of milk year after year,” said Dr. Phillip Knight, FBCM Executive Director. “One in seven people in Michigan struggle with hunger, and we’re constantly working toward solutions. MMPA’s donation puts us one step closer in solving hunger and food insecurity in Michigan.”

The milk will be coming from some of the 1,100 farmers of MMPA. Michigan Dairy, operated by Kroger, is donating the processing and packaging of the milk, saving the food banks over $25,000.

“As a cooperative, MMPA is committed to serving local communities at its core. One way the dairy farmer owners of MMPA can support our neighbors in need is by providing food banks with nutrient-rich milk,” said Ken Nobis, dairy farmer and president of MMPA. “Therefore, we are proud to make a donation of milk to food banks across the state of Michigan this summer. With this donation and through our partnership with the Food Bank Council of Michigan over the last few years, we have now donated a total of 2.6 million servings of milk, reaching communities in every corner of the state.”

This abundant contribution provides milk, one of the most requested items at local distribution centers, to Michigan residents, families and children in need of this wholesome product.

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About the Food Bank Council of Michigan

Founded in 1984, the Food Bank Council of Michigan was created to implement a unified strategy to address and alleviate hunger statewide. FBCM works with its regional food banks and over 3,000 hunger relief agencies, private companies, farmers, state and federal officials and other allies to make sure no Michigander goes without food. For more information about the Food Bank Council of Michigan, visit www.fbcmich.org or call 517.485.1202.

About Michigan Milk Producers Association

Founded in 1916, the MMPA is a dairy farmer owned cooperative and dairy processor. MMPA serves approximately 1,700 dairy farm families in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin..MMPA markets approximately five billion pounds of milk annually from its dairy farmer members. For more information about the Michigan Milk Producers Association, visit www.mimilk.com or call 284.474.6672.

About The Kroger Co. of Michigan:

The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) is one of the world’s largest grocery retailers and the nation’s largest operator of traditional grocery stores.  Recognized by Forbes as the most generous company in America, Kroger supports hunger relief, breast cancer awareness, the military and their families, and more than 30,000 schools and grassroots organizations. Kroger contributes food and funds equal to 276 million meals a year through more than 100 Feeding America food bank partners.   Opened in 1967, Kroger Michigan Dairy has been serving Michigan for over 50 years.  Kroger Michigan Dairy currently receives over 40 million pounds of milk each month from MMPA.  For more information about Kroger Michigan Dairy please visit www.kroger.com.

Gilde AM
MMPA President Ken Nobis (left), Member Representative Deb Gingrich (second from left) and Northwest Area Supervisor Sarah Michalek (right) presented Aaryn and Nathan Gilde (center) of Lake City, Michigan, with the highest quality milk production award.

NOVI, Mich.—Gilde Farms LLC of Lake City, Michigan were named Michigan Milk Producers Association’s (MMPA) Top Quality Award Winners at MMPA’s annual meeting in Lansing on March 15, 2018. The Gildes were featured in the May issue of MMPA’s member publication, the Michigan Milk Messenger.

The Gilde family run a 220-cow dairy that obtained the highest quality records in 2017 among the nearly 1,100 farms belonging to MMPA. To qualify, a producer must meet MMPA’s quality premium requirements for an entire year.

“In order to meet MMPA quality premium levels each and every month of the year, everyone on the farm must be on board.  This level of commitment shows the pride the owners, managers and employees of Gilde Farms LLC have in the business and industry,” says Deb Gingrich, MMPA member representative.

Since 1990, MMPA has recognized the farm that produces the highest quality milk for the year. The Gilde Family makes cow comfort and closely monitoring animal health a priority to continue to produce high quality milk. They utilize technology such as video cameras in the barns and milk metering systems to better manage their resources and time to benefit the cows. They have always taken extreme personal pride in producing high quality milk.

Read more about the Gilde family in the Michigan Milk Messenger »

MMPA—established in 1916—is a member owned and operated dairy cooperative serving approximately 1,700 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Leprino Foods to donate 4,300 pounds of Michigan-made cheese to food banks in conjunction with award

LANSING, Mich.—Underscoring the value of industry collaboration, the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) today honored customer Leprino Foods Company with a Valued Partner award. The award was presented at the dairy farmer-owned cooperative’s annual meeting, which carried a theme of “Focus on Cooperation.”

During the award presentation, Leprino Foods announced a donation of 4,300 pounds of mozzarella string cheese to the Food Bank Council of Michigan. The donation is an effort to support the one out of every seven Michigan residents struggling with hunger.

MMPA and Leprino Foods began an agreement over 30 years ago that has enabled the success of two Leprino cheese plants in the state of Michigan. The plants in Allendale and Remus process a combined 3.5 million pounds of milk per day and support over 400 jobs.

“Through vision, MMPA and Leprino have remained steadfast ‘Partners in Progress’ through the years,” said President Ken Nobis, who presented the award with General Manager Joe Diglio on behalf of the cooperative.

The initial partnership, innovative for its time, brought Colorado-based Leprino Foods to Michigan in the late 1980s. Leprino is now the largest manufacturer of mozzarella cheese and supplies many of the world’s leading pizza companies.

Per capita consumption of mozzarella cheese has more than doubled in America in the past 30 years. Thanks to the growing dominance of pizza, Americans now eat almost 12 pounds of cheese per year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Leprino Food’s donated mozzarella cheese—produced locally in Remus, Michigan—will reach food banks in all 83 counties of Michigan after being distributed by the Food Bank Council of Michigan.

“Our business success is based on one key ingredient – milk. Michigan’s healthy milk shed and its dedicated dairy farmers make it an excellent location for us to produce the highest quality cheese and dairy ingredients for our customers and consumers throughout the world,” Leprino Foods Company President Mike Durkin said. “Our relationship with MMPA, and its dairy farmer members, has spanned three decades and we look forward to our continued partnership. We are honored to be acknowledged with this Valued Partner Award.”

“We are grateful for our mutually-beneficial relationship with Leprino Foods. Together, our quality milk and Leprino’s innovative technology creates value for the industry and MMPA dairy farmers. Our work with Leprino showcases the lasting power of collaboration,” Diglio added.

The announcements were made at MMPA’s 102nd Annual Meeting in Lansing, Michigan. Approximately 400 dairy farmer members and guests gathered at the meeting today to discuss the current dairy industry, recognize members, adopt policy resolutions and elect board members.

 

About Michigan Milk Producers Association:

The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) is a dairy farmer owned cooperative founded in 1916. MMPA serves approximately 1,700 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 butter, non-fat dry milk, whole milk powder, cream and condensed skim milk.

 

About Leprino Foods Company: 

Leprino Foods Company, headquartered in Denver, Colo., is a global leader in the production of premium-quality cheese and dairy ingredients. Leprino Foods is the largest producer of mozzarella cheese in the world and a leading manufacturer of lactose, whey protein and sweet whey. For more information, please visit www.leprinofoods.com.

 

MMPA President Ken Nobis (left) and General Manager Joe Diglio (right) presented the Valued Partner award to Leprino Food Company. Accepting the award from Leprino Foods were (center, L-R) Associate Director of Raw Dairy Ingredient Sales Melissa Bischoff, Vice President of Supply Chain Mark Benson, CEO Mike Durkin and Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs Mike Reidy.
The platinum award winning MMPA farm includes the team of (R to L): Jenn Buchner, Jeremy Werth, Paul Werth, Larry and Paulette Werth, Evan Beyer (behind Larry Paulette), Austin Malaney, Josh Jones, CJ Malaney and Ethan Buchinger. Photo credit: Corey Gieger, Hoard’s Dairyman.

Seventeen Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) member farms were today awarded National Dairy Quality Awards, making up over a third of the total winners. The MMPA members made up over one third of the  46 nationally recognized farms in the annual award program. One platinum award, seven gold awards and nine silver awards were earned by MMPA members.

MMPA’s large representation in the National Dairy Quality Awards underscores the hard work of the cooperative’s farms while competing against other well-performing farmers across the country. National Dairy Quality Award winners are recognized at the annual National Mastitis Council meeting held this week in Tuscon, Arizona.

“Congratulations to our member farms being recognized through the National Dairy Quality Awards program.  Attaining consistent milk quality at this level results from proactively doing the ‘right’ things for animal health and comfort day in and day out,” says Dean Letter, Director of Member Services.  “High milk quality and animal care results from a proactive commitment to do the right thing every time, every day.”

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. In 2017, MMPA paid out $17.7 million to members in quality premiums.

The winners were selected from a pool of applicants nationwide. 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.

 

Platinum Award

  • Larry and Paulette Werth, Jeremy Werth and Paul Werth, Alpena, Michigan

Gold Awards

  • Don Beattie, Holton, Michigan
  • Brad, Mark and Larry Crandall, Battle Creek, Michigan
  • Gordon Dick, McBain, Michigan
  • Brad and Debbie Kartes, West Branch, Michigan
  • Brent Simon, Westphalia, Michigan
  • Ken, Duane, Anna and Laurie VanPolen, Marion, Michigan
  • Douglas Warner, Charlevoix, Michigan

Silver Awards

  • Karl Bontrager, Wolcottville, Indiana
  • Michael Bosscher, McBain, Michigan
  • Norm and Mark Buning, Falmouth, Michigan
  • Harley and Marietta Lambright, LeRoy, Michigan
  • William Pirman, Skandia, Michigan
  • Jerry and Sharron Powers, Pentwater, Michigan
  • Mark and Bob Rau, West Branch, Michigan
  • Allen and Aaron Slater, Holton, Michigan
  • Ken and Carol Tebos, Falmouth, Michigan

Michigan Milk Producers Association, established in 1916, is a member-owned and controlled milk-marketing cooperative serving approximately 1,700 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio.

 

MSU scholarship students were honored at the MMPA Leaders’ Conference on Nov. 21. Back row, from left: Gerrit Baker, Casey Tebos, Adam Wiles and Nolan Wieber. Front row, from left: Hope McAlvey, Morgan Luoma, Cameron Cook and Jacob Arens.

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

For the 2017-2018 academic year, MMPA awarded nine scholarships, totaling over $21,000. The scholarship recipients were honored and introduced to MMPA members at the annual Leaders’ Conference on Nov. 20 in East Lansing, Michigan.

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.

“Encouraging young people to pursue careers in agriculture, specifically the dairy industry, is important to MMPA. We feel it is vital to invest every year to ensure a bright future for the dairy industry,” says Ken Nobis, MMPA president and dairy farmer from St. Johns, Michigan. “These scholarships help  students find careers within the dairy sector and inspire them to strengthen this industry.”

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 two­year, 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.

In addition to the MSU Scholarships, MMPA also awards one scholarship to a member or a child of a member who is a student at Purdue University College of Agriculture.

Scholarship applications for the 2018-2019 academic year are due Sept. 1. for the MSU scholarships. Purdue scholarship applications were due Jan. 1 for freshmen students and are due Feb. 1 for current students. 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.

 

MSU Second-Year Scholarships

  • Cameron Cook, Pewamo, Michigan
  • Morgan Luoma, East Leroy, Michigan
  • Casey Tebos, Falmouth, Michigan

MSU Second-Year Employee Scholarship

  • Hope McAlvey, Carson City, Michigan 

MSU First-Year Scholarships

  • Jacob Arens, Westphalia, Michigan
  • Gerrit Baker, Bryon Center, Michigan
  • Adam Wiles, Middleton, Michigan

MSU First Year Employee Scholarship

  • Nolan Wieber, Fowler, Michigan

Purdue University Scholarship

  • Jason Perkins, LaGrange, Indiana

The Michigan Milk Producers Association–established in 1916–is a member-owned and operated milk marketing cooperative and dairy processor serving approximately 1,700 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.

Randy Mooney (left), chairman of the National Milk Producers Federation, presented the Grand Champion Cheese award, the chairman’s trophy, to MMPA General Manager Joe Diglio (center) and President Ken Nobis (right) during the closing luncheon of the federation’s annual meeting in Anaheim, California on Nov. 1.

ANAHEIM, CA—Pepper-jack cheese produced under the Heritage Ridge Creamery brand at Michigan Milk Producers Association’s Middlebury, Indiana cheese plant was recently named Grand Champion Cheese. The award was presented by the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) last week at the federation’s annual meeting in California.

The annual contest includes cheese made by dairy cooperatives belonging to NMPF. A record 194 entries totaling 3,070 pounds of cheese products were submitted in the 2017 contest. Heritage Ridge pepper-jack placed first in the hot or spicy cheese category and then went on to win the overall best cheese prize. This is the first year MMPA has entered a product in the cheese contest.

“We are honored our product was recognized nationally, a testament to high quality milk from our farms and the craftsmanship of our cheesemakers,” said Jim Feeney, senior director of sales for the MMPA. “We strive to exceed our customers’ expectations everyday with the quality products in our portfolio.”

The Heritage Ridge Creamery brand markets cheese produced at the Middlebury, Indiana plant and sold in the on-site retail store. The cheese plant produces Colby cheese, a softer, milder flavored cheddar cheese, in addition to cheddar, pepper-jack, Amish Creamery cheese and other flavors.

Pepper-jack

Heritage Ridge Creamery is a brand of Middlebury Cheese Company, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the MMPA. The farmer-owned cooperative acquired the facility in 2016 and is currently reviewing options to increase capacity and expand product offerings.

The Michigan Milk Producers Association—established in 1916—is a member-owned and operated milk marketing cooperative and dairy processor serving approximately 1,700 dairy farmers throughout Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana. In addition to the 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.

MADISON, Wis. — 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 and third place awards were granted to unsalted butter made at MMPA’s dairy plant in Constantine, Michigan. MMPA has competed in the nationwide contest for seven years.

“Our recipe for excellence starts with our farmers’ high-quality milk along with the dedication of our plant team to produce award-winning butter,” MMPA General Manager Joe Diglio stated. “We are proud of these accomplishments, recognized once again at the World Dairy Expo.”

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 this evening. 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.

In addition to a cheese plant in Indiana, MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 dairy ingredient plants in Michigan. 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 Michigan Milk Producers Association—established in 1916—is a member-owned and operated milk marketing cooperative and dairy processor serving approximately 1,700 dairy farmers throughout Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana.

NOVI, Mich.— Michigan dairy farmers have until Oct. 13 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).

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. Ballots were mailed Sept. 26 and must be returned by Oct. 13.

“If we pass the referendum, the Michigan dairy industry can keep the funds necessary to continue to support education programs and advertising in areas that benefit our producers,” says Ken Nobis, Michigan Milk Producers Association president and dairy farmer from St. Johns, Michigan. “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.”

UDIM works strategically to promote the Michigan dairy industry through partnerships, education and advertising. Their goal is to connect with consumers to share dairy nutrition information and connect them with Michigan’s dairy farm families. 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. Learn more »

“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.

The Michigan Milk Producers Association—established in 1916—is a member-owned and operated milk marketing cooperative and dairy processor serving approximately 1,700 dairy farmers throughout Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana.

2017 OYDC: Nate & Jenny Elzinga, Zeeland, Michigan

NOVI, Mich.—Nate and Jenny Elzinga of Zeeland, Michigan, were selected as the state winning 2017 Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators (OYDC) by a panel of judges represented by leaders in the Michigan dairy industry.

As the state winning cooperators, Nate and Jenny will represent MMPA at various industry and association activities. Jarris and Rebekah Rubingh of Ellsworth, Michigan, were selected as the runner-up cooperators. Selection of the OYDC is based on the applicant’s farming operations, farm-related and community activities and demonstrated leadership abilities.

“The OYDC program identifies outstanding young leaders in our organization and provides an opportunity for them to gain a greater understanding of milk marketing activities and MMPA,” says Ken Nobis, MMPA president.

Nathan and Jennifer Elzinga own Daybreak Dairy LLC with Nathan’s father, Daniel Elzinga, and brother, Paul Elzinga. The farm operates 350 acres and milks 235 cows. The couple is a member of MMPA’s West Michigan Local in District 3.

Nathan completed the Dairy Tech Program at Michigan State University while Jennifer graduated from Baker College after finishing the Veterinary Tech Program. Nathan served on the MSU dairy judging team advising committee and is currently serving as a member on Ottawa County Farm Bureau. They plan to continue improving their animal performance and health through genetics. They are working hard to lower cost of production and make their farm more efficient.

“Our farm’s mission is to provide for the families involved and employees by bringing our modern dairy to the next level through animal comfort, nutrition, genetics and by following the best cropping and manure practices,” stated the Elzingas.

The Elzingas were one of 10 cooperators invited to the annual OYDC Conference held Aug. 17-18. The couple was selected to participate in the program earlier this year by fellow dairy farmers in their 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 the past 67 years. This year’s program featured the Top Ten OYDCs selected from a pool of applicants nominated by their local.

All Top 10 MMPA OYDCs will be officially recognized at MMPA’s 102nd Annual Meeting to be held March 15, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan.

2017 Top 10 Outstanding Young Cooperators (in alphabetical order):

  • Brandon & Molly Anderson, Carson City, Michigan
  • Garrett Bartholomew, Scotts, Michigan
  • Jason Elenbaum, Mayville, Michigan
  • Nate & Jenny Elzinga, Zeeland, Michigan
  • Mike & Laura Finkbeiner Manchester, Michigan
  • Adam & Charlie Freis, Wallace, Michigan
  • Rachel Hinkley, Ceresco, Michigan
  • Scott & Melinda Parr, Brown City, Michigan
  • Jesse & Chelsea Ramer, Goshen, Indiana
  • Jarris & Rebekah Rubingh Ellsworth, Michigan

The Michigan Milk Producers Association—established in 1916—is a member-owned and operated milk marketing cooperative and dairy processor serving approximately 1,700 dairy farmers throughout Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana.

More about the OYDC Program

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: Miriam Cook from Clinton County, Grace Sayles from Shiawassee County, Drew Neyer from Isabella County, Dylan Keller from Hillsdale County and Elyse Zimmerlee from Eaton 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 20 and awarded a sponsored trip to the National 4-H Dairy Conference in Madison, Wisconsin on October 1-4.

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, 16 youth from 11 counties came together to learn about milk marketing and cooperatives. MMPA has welcomed 4-H and FFA members to the cooperative’s headquarters for the past 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 over 4,000 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.

“I learned a lot about the sale of milk from the 4-H Dairy Tour. Getting to see the Kroger plant was a neat experience and I realized how much work goes into that final gallon you can pick up at the grocery store,” said Kyle Godley, a tour participant from Shiawassee County.

This year’s attendees at the MMPA 4-H tour included: Drew Neyer, Catie Theisen, Grace Sayles, Jonathan Sayles, Eric Beebe, Adam Wiles, Jessica Parrish, Jordan Parrish, Miriam Cook, Abigail VanDyk, Kyle Godley, Chrissy Polzin, Dylan Keller, Will Sharrard, Carolyn Delong and Elyse Zimmerlee.

The annual MMPA 4-H Milk Marketing Tour includes a visit to the Michigan Dairy in Livonia, Michigan. Tour participants and chaperones gathered outside the plant on June 27. (Top, L-R) Julia Chamberlain, Bethany Meyer, Mary Sayles, Jacob Armstrong, Miriah Dershem, Barb Keller, Greg Godley, Mary Ellen Wiles, John Broesamle, Leslie Parrish, Sarah VanDyk and Jeremy Beebe. (First row, L-R) Catie Theisen, Drew Neyer, Elyse Zimmerlee, Eric Beebe, Carolyn Delong, Mariam Cook, Jordan Parrish, Jessica Parrish, Chrissy Polzin, Abby VanDyk, Adam Wiles, Will Sharrard, Kyle Godley, Dylan Keller, Grace Sayles and Johnathan Sayles.

 About the Michigan Milk Producers Association

The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) is a dairy farmer owned cooperative founded in 1916. MMPA serves approximately 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, handling approximately 5 billion pounds of milk annually. MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 certified dairy ingredient plants in Michigan and a cheese plant in Indiana.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congress must revise the dairy safety net program established in the 2014 Farm Bill to provide farmers with effective risk management protection that will increase participation in the program, according to Ken Nobis, president of the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) and first vice-chair of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), who spoke at a 2018 Farm Bill hearing today.

Nobis testified before the Senate Agriculture Committee that while he believes the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) remains the right program for the dairy industry, “the changes Congress made to the MPP when writing the last Farm Bill rendered it ineffective when dairy farmers needed it the most.”

Nobis is a dairy farmer from St. Johns, Mich., and leader of MMPA, a milk marketing cooperative serving over 1,700 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. He testified on behalf of his cooperative and the National Milk Producers Federation. His full testimony can be found here.

In calendar year 2015, dairy farmers paid more than $70 million into the MPP and received payments totaling just $730,000. In 2016, those figures were $20 million and $13 million. Nobis said farmers found that the program was not helpful during two years that were particularly detrimental to the dairy industry. As a result, many of them have become disenchanted with the program, and participation has dwindled.

“I guarantee, if Congress alters the MPP so that it more accurately reflects the actual costs of production for businesses like mine, participation in the program will increase,” he told Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

In making his case for improving the MPP, Nobis detailed a list of proposed changes NMPF and its members had developed to improve it. The MPP is designed to help farmers insure against either low milk prices or high feed costs, Nobis said, but the determination of the feed price used in the margin calculation is problematic. During the farm bill process, NMPF’s original proposed feed formula, though considered accurate, was cut by 10 percent to address other budget concerns. Based on the government profit made on the program, concerns about budget that led to the 10-percent cut were misplaced, explained Nobis.

Nobis said it is also important to expand dairy farmers’ access to additional risk management tools like the Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle (LGM) program and similar programs that could be offered by USDA.

“Making the [MPP] program more attractive for dairy farmers is vital to ensuring participation in the program, and the safety of America’s dairy industry,” Nobis said.

Nobis also expressed appreciation that the Agriculture Committee’s leadership worked with the Senate Appropriations Committee to include important changes to the MPP in the agriculture appropriations bill for fiscal year 2018.

Nobis’s testimony touched on several other policy challenges affecting U.S. dairy farmers, including immigration and labor shortages, and the vitality of U.S. dairy trade as NAFTA renegotiations begin. He commended Congress and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue for actions taken earlier this year to reintroduce 1% flavored milk back into schools. He also thanked Roberts, Stabenow and several other Congress members for backing legislation that would support farmers’ roles as stewards of environmental sustainability.

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About NMPF

The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance the wellbeing of dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. The members of NMPF’s cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S. milk supply, making NMPF the voice of dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. Visit www.nmpf.org for more information.

About the Michigan Milk Producers Association

The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) is a dairy farmer owned cooperative founded in 1916. MMPA serves approximately 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, handling approximately 5 billion pounds of milk annually. MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 certified dairy ingredient plants in Michigan and a cheese plant in Indiana.

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LANSING, Mich. – More Michigan children will enjoy nourishing milk this summer thanks to 876,000 servings donated in June to the Food Bank Council of Michigan (FBCM).

The donation honored the 50th anniversary of Kroger and Michigan Dairy’s partnership with the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA). On behalf of the state’s food banks, FBCM received a donation of 150 gallons of milk per day for 2017. This amounts to 54,750 gallons of milk to Michigan’s area food banks.

MMPA is a farmer-owned cooperative, meaning the milk is a donation directly from the farmers. For three consecutive years, MMPA has worked with local farmers for their generous donation while annually increasing the donated amount of milk.

“One in seven people in Michigan struggle with hunger, and we’re constantly working toward solutions,” said Dr. Phillip Knight, FBCM executive director. “MMPA’s donation puts us one step closer to solving hunger and food insecurity in Michigan.”

The milk was donated on behalf of MMPA’s over 1,100 farms. Most of the milk will be processed by Prairie Farms in Battle Creek, but Michigan Dairy will also be processing the milk donated in their honor.

“The dairy farmers of MMPA are conscious of the need in Michigan communities to provide nutrient-rich foods — like dairy products — to those struggling with hunger,” said Ken Nobis, dairy farmer and MMPA president. “Milk remains one of the most requested food bank items. Therefore, we are proud to make a contribution to the Food Bank Council of Michigan to bring 876,000 servings of milk to food insecure families across the state this summer.”

This abundant contribution brings June’s National Dairy Month to a close and allows Michigan food banks to provide milk – the most requested summer item – to its customers, including the many families with children in need of milk.


About the Michigan Milk Producers Association

Michigan Milk Producers Association, established in 1916, is a member owned and operated dairy cooperative serving approximately 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio. Each year, MMPA’s dairy farm families produce over half a billion gallons of milk for families in Michigan, the U.S. and the world.

About the Food Bank Council of Michigan

Founded in 1984, the Food Bank Council of Michigan was created to implement a unified strategy to address and alleviate hunger statewide. FBCM works with its regional food banks and over 3,000 hunger relief agencies, private companies, farmers, state and federal officials and other allies to make sure no Michigander goes without food. For more information about the Food Bank Council of Michigan.