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.

The 2017 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award winners were announced by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy at a ceremony on June 28, including an honorable mention in Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships presented to four Michigan organizations. Pictured, left to right: Joe Mounger, Food Bank of Eastern Michigan; Kyle Powell, The Kroger Company; Sheila Burkhardt, Michigan Milk Producers Association; Jeff Dwyer, MSU Extension; Ken Nobis, Michigan Milk Producers Association; William Kerr, Food Bank of Eastern Michigan; Cathy Blankenship, Food Bank of Eastern Michigan; and Matt Nuckels, Emcee, Eastview Farms.

ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA), Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, The Kroger Co. of Michigan and Michigan State University (MSU) Extension were together honored by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy for their efforts supporting food insecure families with milk donations in the wake of the Flint Water Crisis in 2016.

For coming together to bring over 36,000 gallons of milk to a community in crisis, the organizations received an honorable mention for Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships by the Innovation Center during its sixth annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards in a June 28 Chicago ceremony.

The community partners, armed with information on milk’s nutrient-dense profile, are helping aide residents of Flint, Michigan during an ongoing crisis in which they are susceptible to lead poisoning from contaminated water. A healthy diet that includes nutrient-rich foods can help protect children and families from the harmful effects of lead poisoning and have a positive effect on overall health.

“Milk has always been high on the list of requested items to support food insecure families, but often is in short supply,” said William Kerr, President of the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. “The nutrient rich milk donated by the Michigan Milk Producers Association provided immediate health benefits to the residents of Flint during a time of crisis.”

In addition to community sustainability, the Innovation Center’s award program recognizes dairy farms, businesses and partnerships whose practices improve the well-being of people, animals and the planet. Award winners represent the U.S. dairy community’s voluntary efforts toward continuous improvement in sustainability.

“This year’s winners demonstrated impressive leadership and creativity in the application of technology and other practices that protect our land, air and water. And they’re proactive about building strong relationships with their communities and employees,” said Barbara O’Brien, president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. “Based on this year’s nominations, it’s clear that all sizes of dairy farms and companies use sustainable practices because it’s good for the environment, good for their community and good for business.”

Judges evaluated nominations based on their economic, environmental and community impact. The independent judging panel — including experts working with and throughout the dairy community — also considered learning, innovation, scalability and replicability.

“These award-winning practices can serve as models for other farmers, too,” said Jason Bateman, dairy farmer, 2016 award winner and one of this year’s judges. “Winners made breakthroughs, and they improved everyday practices. It’s inspiring to see people collaborate with partners outside of dairy and build on ideas from other industries.”

From farm to table, transparency and ingenuity drive dairy forward, as demonstrated in the newly released 2016 Sustainability Report, which describes the Innovation Center’s strategic plan focused on social responsibility. The plan was developed by dairy community leaders in recognition of the changing consumer and customer marketplace where health, environmental and ethical practices are of increasing interest.


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 of Eastern Michigan:

Serving local families in need since 1981, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan has grown to provide over 25 million pounds of food each year through more than 415 partner agencies in 22 counties. Partner agencies consist of local soup kitchens, homeless shelters and food pantries who strive to feed more than 300,000 people who struggle with hunger throughout eastern Michigan.

About The Kroger Co. of Michigan:

Incorporated in Michigan in 1909 and headquartered in Novi, The Kroger Co. of Michigan includes 19,000 associates, 126 Kroger stores, 75 fuel centers, 104 pharmacies and the Michigan Dairy. The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) is one of the world’s largest grocery retailers and the nation’s largest operator of traditional grocery stores, with fiscal 2016 sales of $115.3 billion. Kroger employs more than 443,000 associates who serve customers in almost 3,000 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 35 states and the District of Columbia under two dozen local banner names, all of which share the same belief in building strong local ties and brand loyalty with our customers. 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. A leader in supplier diversity, Kroger is a proud member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber’s Million Dollar Club.

About Michigan State University Extension:

Michigan State University (MSU) Extension helps people improve their lives by bringing the vast knowledge resources of MSU directly to individuals, communities and businesses.  For more than 100 years, MSU Extension has helped grow Michigan’s economy by equipping Michigan residents with the information that they need to do their jobs better, raise healthy and safe families, build their communities and empower our children to dream of a successful future.

 

MIDDLEBURY, Ind.—Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) launched Heritage Ridge Creamery as its Indiana cheese plant’s new brand today, during a community Customer Appreciation Day event.

The new brand reflects both the heritage of the plant in its Amish community and the robust history of MMPA as a farmer-owned cooperative.

“With our acquisition of the Indiana cheese plant last fall, we were enthused by the opportunity to diversify our product portfolio and develop a brand owned by our dairy farmer members,” Joe Diglio, MMPA general manager, said. “Our new Heritage Ridge Creamery brand demonstrates our commitment in expanding our presence within the dairy industry while embracing the legacy of the community.”

Today customers visited the Heritage Ridge Creamery store, enjoying free ice cream made with a steam powered engine, activities for children and store specials during the Customer Appreciation Event.

The Heritage Ridge Creamery brand will market cheese produced at the Middlebury plant and sold in the on-site retail store. An online store is currently in development and expected to go live later this year at heritageridgecreamery.com. The facility produces Colby cheese, a softer, milder flavored cheddar cheese, in addition to Colby-Jack, Cheddar, Pepper-Jack cheese and other flavors.

The acquisition last year positions MMPA to further explore expansion opportunities at the Middlebury plant location in the future, starting with the launch of this new brand and internal improvements in plant operations. The facility currently processes approximately 400,000 pounds of milk per day into longhorn and deli horn cheeses, and is operated by MMPA’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Middlebury Cheese Company, LLC.

NOVI, Mich.— Carl Rasch of Morrice, Michigan, was recently selected as this year’s recipient of the Michigan Dairy Industry Service Award at the 69th Annual Michigan Dairy Industry Conference (MDIC) held June 1 in Lansing, Michigan. As Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) Director of Milk Sales, Rasch was nominated by his coworkers for his dedication to the industry and strong leadership over the last four decades.

“Carl’s passion and commitment to the dairy industry is well known by all of us. I can’t think of a more deserving honoree of the Michigan Dairy Industry Service Award,” said Joe Diglio, general manager of MMPA and long-time colleague of Rasch. “His willingness to educate, train and mentor many of us in the industry has been instrumental and beneficial to the past, current and future leaders of dairy.”

Leading the milk sales team for the last 40 years, Rasch has seen the co-op go from local customer base to an international scale. By being “direct and bold,” according to past and present MMPA leaders, Rasch has been able to build relationships with customers in and outside of Michigan, capitalizing on opportunities to move milk to a variety of outlets.  While working on business development and strategic planning for MMPA, Rasch is responsible for negotiating contracts with processing plant customers and milk supplying members.

Rasch currently serves on the Michigan Dairy Memorial and Scholarship Foundation Board. In the past, he has also served on the board of directors for the United Dairy Industry of Michigan, as the secretary of the Great Lakes Southern Milk Marketing Agency, and has worked on taskforces with the National Milk Producers Federation concerning Federal Order reform. At the MMPA’s annual meeting in March, the cooperative recognized Rasch as an honoree of the Michigan Dairy Memorial and Scholarship Foundation with a $1,000 contribution to the scholarship foundation in his name.

Rasch graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science degree. His career began by working as a field auditor at USDA before being hired by MMPA in 1977.

“Having been born and raised on a dairy farm, I am fortunate to work on behalf of members who are family, neighbors and friends,” Rasch said. “It’s been a privilege to work for an organization like MMPA who is recognized as a leader in the industry.”

Rasch resides in Morrice, Michigan, with his wife, Roxanne. They have five children: Jessica, Anthony, Michael, Carol Ann, and Katie.

The Michigan Dairy Industry Conference focusses on discussing current issues, technology, economic outlook, techniques and legislation affecting dairy farmers, shippers, processors and consumers.

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

Carl Rasch with his wife, Roxanne, accepted the 2017 Michigan Dairy Industry Service award on June 1 during the annual Michigan Dairy industry Conference in Lansing, Michigan.

FRANKENMUTH, MI – Dairy farmers in Michigan and across the nation need federal lawmakers to revise the safety net created in the 2014 Farm Bill to provide them adequate risk management protection, according to a dairy farmer from eastern Michigan who testified in Frankenmuth on Saturday at a Senate hearing.

Darrin Siemen of Harbor Beach, Mich., told a Senate Agriculture Committee field hearing held at the Saginaw Valley Research Center that the Margin Protection Program (MPP), created in the 2014 Farm Bill, “has failed to deliver the protection farmers need and expect. While MPP remains the right model for the future of our industry, changes are needed if Congress wants to prevent dairy farmers like me from going out of business,” he said.

Siemen is a fourth‐generation family farmer and owner of Prime Land Farm in Harbor Beach, in Michigan’s Thumb region. He testified on behalf of his cooperative, Michigan Milk Producers Association, as well as the National Milk Producers Federation, of which MMPA is a member. His full testimony can be found here.

Siemen said that the MPP is designed to help farmers insure against either low milk prices or high feed costs, but the way the program calculates the relative value of feeds such as corn, soybean meal and hay was “significantly changed” as it was written into law. This change “fundamentally altered the safety net designed by NMPF and other dairy leaders around the country. Unfortunately, as a direct result of these changes, the MPP safety net has failed to deliver the protection farmers need and expect,” he said.

He explained that in the first two years of the program, 2015 and 2016, farmers have paid $90 million in fees and premiums to USDA while receiving only $14 million in insurance payouts, even though margins have been tight during much of that period. This has led to a drastic reduction in the number of farmers paying premiums to selecting higher levels of margin protection. Most are now only paying the minimum annual $100 administrative fee, for which they receive only a low level of insurance coverage.

“I am not asking for a program that guarantees a profit, nor do I want a program that will incentivize excess production,” Siemen said. “However, when Congress made changes to the program, rendering it ineffective, dairy farmers like me lost faith in the idea that MPP could serve as a viable risk management tool under its current formulation. If Congress makes changes to ensure that MPP more accurately reflects the actual costs of production for businesses like mine, participation in the program will increase.”

Siemen said that in addition to adjusting the feed cost formula and the data sources for the prices of feed and milk, Congress should reassess the MPP’s premium rate structure, and consider expanding access to the Livestock Gross Margin program, a separate risk management tool offered by USDA.

The combination of suggested changes to the MPP “will require this committee to make significant and necessary improvements to the program,” Siemen said, so that “it functions as intended and that producers participate in the program. A safety net is not a safety net if no one participates.”

Siemen pointed out that dairy farmers are also facing other policy challenges, including immigration and labor shortages, tax reform, child nutrition and environmental sustainability. He thanked Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow for arranging the hearing in Michigan, and for her engagement on behalf of the U.S. dairy sector in its recent struggle against Canada’s new pricing policy, which will have long-term negative consequences for Michigan farmers’ export opportunities.

He also recognized the efforts of Stabenow and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts for their recent efforts to bring more milk options and flexibility to the School Lunch and School Breakfast programs.

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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.

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.

NOVI, Mich.—Delegates attending the 101st annual meeting of the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) on March 23 elected Mark Iciek of Gladwin and Kris Wardin of St. Johns to at-large, three-year terms on the board of directors.

During the board’s reorganizational meeting, held after the delegate meeting, the following officers were elected: President: Ken Nobis, St. Johns; Vice President: Mark Halbert, Battle Creek; Treasurer: Eric Frahm, Frankenmuth.

Board members reelected at the district level were: Timothy Hood in District 2, David Pyle in District 3 and Anthony Jandernoa in District 6.

Delegates at the district level also elected representatives to the MMPA Advisory Committee. Members of this committee—five in each of the eight districts—serve as a liaison between the membership and the board of directors and management.

Each leader on the Advisory Committee and Board of Directors is dairy farmer member-owner of the MMPA cooperative.

Advisory Committee members elected this year to a two-year term are:

District 1             Brad Hart of Clayton, Josh Lott of Mason and Art Riske of Hanover
District 2             Danny Ransler of Gobles, Dan Ritter of Potterville and Richard Thomas of Middlebury, Indiana
District 3             William Stakenas of Freesoil, Burke Larson of Scottville and Gary Nelson of Grant
District 4             David Folkersma of Rudyard, Russell Tolan of Ossineke and Ronald Lucas of Posen
District 5             Tom Jeppesen of Stanton, Bruce Benthem of McBain and Amy Martin of Leroy
District 6             Aaron Gasper of Lowell, Steve Thelen of Fowler and Brad Ritter of Byron
District 7             Scott Kleinhardt of Clare, Jason Elenbaum of Mayville and Philip Gross of Weldman
District 8             Michael Noll of Croswell, Michael Bender of Croswell and Nick Leipprandt of Pigeon

MMPA—established in 1916—is a member owned and operated dairy cooperative serving approximately 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.

More about the Annual Meeting

Koppenol Dairy Farm was honored by MMPA at the 101st Annual State Delegate Meeting on March 23 for producing the highest quality milk in the cooperative. From left: MMPA Member Representative Joe Packard, Alan and Deborah Koppenol, MMPA President Ken Nobis and MMPA Director of Member Services Dean Letter.

LANSING, Mich.—Koppenol Dairy Farm of Coopersville, Michigan were named Michigan Milk Producers Association’s (MMPA) Top Quality Award Winners at MMPA’s annual meeting in Lansing on March 23, 2017.

Alan and Deborah Koppenol run a 195-cow dairy that obtained the highest quality records in 2016 among the nearly 1,200 farms belonging to MMPA. To qualify, a producer must meet MMPA’s quality premium requirements for an entire year.

The Koppenols stress prevention first over treatment to ensure the health of their herd and maintain high quality milk. They have always taken extreme personal pride in producing high quality milk.

Since 1990, MMPA has recognized the farm that produces the highest quality milk for the year. “It takes commitment by everyone on the farm to meet MMPA’s quality premium levels every month of the year,” says Dean Letter, MMPA director of member services.

Koppenol Dairy Farm was featured in the April issue of the Michigan Milk MessengerRead more »

MMPA—established in 1916—is a member owned and operated dairy cooperative serving approximately 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.

MORE ABOUT THE ANNUAL MEETING

MMPA recognizes 35- and 50-year members

During the MMPA annual meeting on March 23, 35- and 50-year members shared stories and words of advice about their membership with the cooperative through the years.

LANSING, Mich.—Twenty-three MMPA members were recognized with 35 or 50 year member awards at the MMPA 101st Annual State Delegate Meeting, March 23, 2017. MMPA has traditionally recognized 35-year members and last year added the new MMPA Milestone award to honor those holding membership for 50 years.

MMPA President Ken Nobis congratulated and praised the 35-year members for their dedication to the cooperative: “We commend you for your dedication and loyalty to MMPA and the dairy industry over the years.”

After the 35-year members were recognized, Nobis recognized the group of MMPA Milestone award winners who joined MMPA in the year 1967.

A video presentation showcased the vast changes the Michigan dairy industry has undergone the past several years and since these members began dairy farming.

The presentation highlighted information from 1982 and 1967, when these members joined MMPA.  In 1982, there were 6,046 MMPA members in who marketed a total of 3.4 billion pounds of milk, while in 1967 membership totaled 7,973 and marketed 2.6 billion pounds of milk. Today, MMPA has approximately 1,200 members and marketed over 4.8 billion pounds of milk in the 2016 fiscal year.

MMPA—established in 1916—is a member owned and operated dairy cooperative serving approximately 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.

35-Year Members

  • Kenneth Vredenburg, Alma Local
  • Albern Olson, Alma Local
  • Nelson E. Frye, Constantine Local
  • Gary Zuiderveen, Evart Local
  • Louis & Karen Fifelski, Kalamazoo Local
  • Jeanne Drummond, Mid-Michigan Local
  • Raymond Zimmerman, Mid-Sanilac Local
  • Richard Kaufman, Mid-Thumb Local
  • William Gruppen, West Michigan Local
  • Robert Gruppen, West Michigan Local
  • Dennis Raterink, West Michigan Local

50-Year Members

  • Larry Crandall, Barry-Eaton Local
  • Robert Lee, Evart Local
  • William Stein, Evart Local
  • Larry L. Keinath, Frankenmuth Local
  • Ronald N. Keinath, Frankenmuth Local
  • Petzold Dairy Farms Inc., Frankenmuth Local
  • MSU Dairy Farm, Ingham County Local
  • Thomas Goodman, Mid-Michigan Local
  • David J. Lee, Mid-Sanilac Local
  • Harland Schultz, Mid-Sanilac Local
  • Leonard Schaub, Upstate Local
  • Darwin Huff, West Michigan Local

More about the Annual Meeting

LANSING, Mich.—The 101st Annual State Delegate Meeting of the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) was held on March 23 at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Michigan.

Ken Nobis, MMPA president, presented The Kroger Co. of Michigan with an inaugural Valued Partner Award and announced the donation of 150 gallons of milk per day for an entire year to the Food Bank Council of Michigan. The donation recognizes the 50th anniversary of Kroger’s Michigan Dairy plant in Livonia, Michigan and builds off last year’s donation in recognition of MMPA’s 100th anniversary.

Nobis also addressed the approximately 450 attendees with his speech covering the current issues facing the dairy industry following two “volatile” years.  “One thing is stable in our dairy world, and that is our co-op, Michigan Milk Producers Association.  Your co-op is financially strong.  Your board of directors is made up of 13 dedicated dairy farmers who are feeling the same anxiety that you feel and are always searching high and low for answers that will help us all,” he reassured members.

MMPA General Manager Joe Diglio demonstrated the co-op’s value proposition, offering reassurance to members about the vision and actions of MMPA.

“The dairy industry has always been subjected to volatility and unpredictability, however it is how we deal with them that will define us and how we move towards our vision. We have strong connections and brand loyalty that positions us well for the future,” Diglio explained. “We cannot rest on our previous successes alone, we must continue to share our message with others and provide our customers with a safe reliable food source that makes them successful as well.”

MMPA Treasurer Eric Frahm presented the financial status of the cooperative, reporting a net savings in fiscal year 2016 of approximately $6 million.

Business conducted by the delegates included the adoption of the 2017 MMPA resolutions and election of Mark Iciek of Gladwin and Kris Wardin of St. Johns to the board of directors in three-year, at-large positions.

Nobis recognized 11 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. Twelve individuals were recognized with this award and were presented with a plaque at the meeting.

MMPA Board Member Corby Werth introduced the 2016 Top 10 Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators (OYDC) at the meeting, including Darrin and Barbara Siemen, of Harbor Beach, Michigan, who were officially recognized as MMPA’s 2016 OYDC.

Dean Letter, director of member services, and Joe Packard, member representative, presented Koppenol Dairy Farm of Coopersville, Michigan with the highest quality milk production award. The Koppenols achieved the best quality records in 2016 among MMPA’s 1,200 farms. Along with a plaque from MMPA, the Koppenols received a $250 gift certificate for the MMPA Merchandise Program from Ecolab.

Michigan Milk Producers Association is a member owned and controlled milk-marketing cooperative serving over 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio.

More about the Annual Meeting

Regina Kopera, Site Leader of the Kroger Michigan Dairy and Rachel Hurst, Consumer Affairs Manager of The Kroger Co. of Michigan accepted the Valued Partner Award at the MMPA 101st Annual State Delegate Meeting on March 23 from Carl Rasch, Director of Milk Sales at MMPA and Ken Nobis, President of MMPA.

LANSING, Mich.—MMPA today honored The Kroger Co. of Michigan with the inaugural Valued Partner Award at MMPA’s 101st Annual State Delegate Meeting. In conjunction with the award, MMPA announced the donation of 150 gallons of milk per day for one year—a total of 54,750 gallons— to recognize the 50th anniversary of Kroger’s Michigan Dairy plant.

“MMPA is proud to honor The Kroger Co. of Michigan today with our inaugural ‘Valued Partner’ award,” Ken Nobis, president of MMPA. “It is not just the supplier-customer relationship between MMPA and Kroger that is key, it is our shared values on joint initiatives that makes us proud to work with Kroger. From youth development programs to dairy promotion to crisis response, Kroger has stood by our side for 50 years and counting.”

MMPA dairy farms have supplied the Kroger’s Michigan Dairy plant in Livonia, Michigan since it first opened in 1967 and the two organizations have sustained a partnership that extends into a variety of initiatives. Annually, Kroger welcomes a group of youth on MMPA’s 4-H Milk Marketing Tour to the Michigan Dairy plant to help the students learn more about the dairy supply chain.

MMPA and Kroger have also partnered in dairy promotion programs through the “Pure Michigan” campaign and in-store promotions featuring MMPA farms.

Last year, MMPA and The Kroger Co. of Michigan partnered on a milk donation initiative to support Flint, Michigan residents following the Flint Water Crisis. The Pediatric Public Health Initiative lists nutrition as one of the evidence-based interventions that will optimize the outcomes. Dairy is one of the foods encouraged for families to mitigate lead absorption and so MMPA and Kroger worked together to bring over 24,000 gallons of 2% milk to families in Flint in 2016.

“Throughout the Michigan Dairy’s 50-year history, we are grateful for our relationship with MMPA and its dairy farmer members to produce quality products for our Kroger stores. The Kroger Co. of Michigan is honored to be recognized for this award today and proud to support the 150 gallon per day for one year milk donation,” Regina Kopera, site leader of the Michigan Dairy, said.

At the 100th Annual State Delegate Meeting last year, MMPA announced a donation of 100 gallons of milk per day for one year to the Food Bank Council of Michigan. “The 100 gallon per day donation in recognition of MMPA’s 100th Anniversary was so successful and well received that our board of directors voted to repeat it this year and add 50 gallons per day donation in recognition of Michigan Dairy’s 50th Anniversary,” Nobis added.

The milk donation of 54,750 gallons announced today will be contributed to the Food Bank Council of Michigan and distributed to their regional food banks which serve all 83 Michigan counties.  Processing and packaging of over 18,000 gallons of the donation will be provided by the Michigan Dairy plant in Livonia.

Kroger is recognizing the Michigan Dairy’s 50th anniversary this year with an event this August and in-store promotions on its dairy products.

The announcements of the Valued Partner Award and the donation were made at MMPA’s 101st Annual Meeting in Lansing, Michigan. Approximately 400 members and guests gathered at the meeting today to discuss dairy exports, 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 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 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 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, with fiscal 2016 sales of $115.3 billion.  Kroger  employs more than 443,000 associates who serve customers in almost 3,000 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 35 states and the District of Columbia under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Harris Teeter, Jay C, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith’s.  The company also operates 784 convenience stores, 319 fine jewelry stores, 1,445 supermarket fuel centers and 38 food processing plants in the United States.   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. A leader in supplier diversity, Kroger is a proud member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber’s Million Dollar Club.

Incorporated in Michigan in 1909 and headquartered in Novi, The Kroger Co. of Michigan includes 19,000 associates, 126 Kroger stores, 75 fuel centers, 104 pharmacies and the Michigan Dairy.

 

More about the Annual Meeting

NOVI, Mich.—Michigan Milk Producers Association recently paid $1.6 million in cash patronage refunds to its dairy farmer member-owners. This cash allocation represents 100 percent of the farm supply earnings and 25 percent of the milk marketing earnings. All members who marketed milk through MMPA for fiscal year 2016 received a portion of the allocation.

MMPA members received other cash payments in April 2016 of $4 million through retirement of half of the cooperative’s 2007 equities. With the current payment of $1.6 million, cash payments in the last 10 months total over $5.6 million.

“The nearly $6 million in patronage refunds and equity retirements we’ve recently returned to our member-owners speak to the financial viability of MMPA,” Joe Diglio, MMPA general manager said. “The earnings generated by the cooperative demonstrates our commitment to returning value back to its dairy farmer member-owners.”

Cash patronage funds and equity allocations are based on the amount of milk each individual member farm marketed and on the supplies purchased through the cooperative during the year in which the earnings were achieved. Under the current board policy, the non-cash balance of the equity allocation will be revolved back to the members in future years.

Michigan Milk Producers Association is a member owned and operated dairy cooperative serving approximately 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.

19-simon
Three generations of the Simon Family are part of the National Dairy Quality Platinum Award winning team (L to R): Emily, holding Theodore; children Scarlet and Kaine; Brent, holding Annabell; Therese and Larry Simon, with Larry holding grandson Jude. Photo credit: Hoard’s Dairyman

NOVI, Mich.–Twelve MMPA members were awarded National Dairy Quality Awards, including 50 percent of all gold awards. These MMPA members were among 44 nationally recognized farms in the annual award program. One platinum award, nine gold awards and two silver awards were earned by MMPA members.

“Our member-owners do their best each day to produce the highest quality milk possible,” Joe Diglio, MMPA General Manager said. “The 12 farms presented with a National Dairy Quality Award demonstrates the superior quality of our members’ milk and each farm’s dedication and commitment to excellence. We are proud to see their accomplishments recognized on a national level.”

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. Over the last five years, quality premium payments rose 37 percent.

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

“The vast majority of dairy farmers produce high-quality milk. But, as with most endeavors, there’s ‘good’ and then there’s ‘great,’” wrote Corey Geiger, managing editor of Hoard’s Dairyman in an article about the award program. “It’s those ‘great’ herds that recently were recognized by the National Mastitis Council (NMC) through its National Dairy Quality Awards program.”

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.

The Platinum Quality Award winners were honored today during the National Mastitis Council annual meeting in St. Pete Beach, Florida.

The following MMPA members received awards.

Platinum Award

  • Larry, Therese, Brent and Emily Simon, Westphalia, Michigan

Gold Awards

  • Don Beattie, Holton, Michigan
  • Harold and Ruth Ann Dodd, Falmouth, Michigan
  • Randy and Cindy Dragt, Howard City, Michigan
  • Brad and Debbie Kartes, West Branch, Michigan
  • Ryan Litwiller, Middleton, Michigan
  • William and Kimberly Pirman, Skandia, Michigan
  • Robert and Mark Rau, West Branch, Michigan
  • Ken and Duane VanPolen, Marion, Michigan
  • Doug, Jake and Andrew Wirth, Evart, Michigan

Silver Awards

  • Michael Bosscher, McBain, Michigan
  • Rod, Lynn, Chris Daniels, Luke and Audrey Bischoff, Whittemore, Michigan

Michigan Milk Producers Association, established in 1916, is a member-owned and controlled milk-marketing cooperative serving approximately 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio.