2020 Young Cooperator Tour
March 31 – April 1
Join fellow young cooperators to experience downtown life and the entire dairy processing chain in a jam-packed two-day exploration of the Grand Rapids area. From farms to plants to everything in between, explore West Michigan’s nooks and crannies to find more than tall buildings and downtown lights. Attendees will tour an MMPA customer’s cheese plant, chat about sustainability tactics on fellow members’ farms and discover the inner workings of Zeeland Farm Services.
Since 1950, MMPA has been identifying future leaders through the Young Cooperator and Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperator program. The purpose of the program is to strengthen leadership abilities in young farmers, broaden young farmers’ knowledge of milk marketing and MMPA and recognize the abilities and stewardship of our young dairy farmers.
The program involves the OYDC award program which selects an individual or couple to represent MMPA nationally each year and an annual conference for younger members, the Young Cooperator Conference.
Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators
Younger members (under 41 years of age) can increase their involvement with the cooperative through the Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperator (OYDC) program. Each year, MMPA selects a couple or individual to represent the cooperative in the dairy industry. The winning and runners-up OYDC are selected every August at the OYDC conference. The two-day long conference welcomes the OYDC finalists each nominated by MMPA local associations to the MMPA headquarters. The conference also offers the opportunity for members to gain a broader understanding of various dairy industry and association issues.
After selection OYDCs:
- Invited to attend National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) Annual Meeting, held in different locations across the county (Phoenix in 2018 and New Orleans in 2019)
- Invited to serve on the MMPA YC Conference planning committee
- Designated as honorary members of the MMPA Advisory Committee
- Opportunity to serve on the NMPF Young Cooperator Advisory Council and visit Washington, D.C.
Selection for each year’s OYDC starts during the winter local meeting season. If you are an MMPA member interested in participating in the 2020 OYDC program, please contact your local officer or call Jessica Welch at 248-474-6672, ext. 303 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
|2019||James Weber of Vassar, Michigan||Brad and Nicole Wren of Prescott, Michigan|
|2018||Paul and Nancy Pyle of Zeeland, Michigan||Jeremy and Deanna Beebe of Alger, Michigan|
|2017||Nate and Jenny Elzinga of Zeeland, Michigan||Jarris and Rebekah Rubingh of Ellsworth, Michigan|
|2016||Darrin and Barbara Siemen of Harbor Beach, Michigan||Dave and Gretchen Tolan of Ossineke, Michigan|
|2015||Shawn and Beth VanDrie of Lake City, Michigan||Darren and Regina Coffey of Allegan, Michigan|
|2014||Brian and Carrie Preston of Quincy, Michigan||Ken and Kristen Sparks of Cassopolis, Michigan|
|2013||Mike and Jordan Noll of Croswell, Michigan||Jeff and Chriss Carmichael of Hersey, Michigan|
|2012||Kris and Karla Wardin of St. Johns, Michigan||Josh and Lesley Lott of Mason, Michigan|
|2011||Jeremy and Jody Sharrard of Peck, Michigan||Chris and Michele Daniels of Whittemore, Michigan|
|2010||Burke and Lisa Larsen of Scottville, Michigan||Scott and Alissa Ferry of Litchfield, Michigan|
|2009||Jeremy and Summer Werth of Alpena, Michigan||Tom and Heather Wing of Bellevue, Michigan|
|2008||Brad and Tonia Ritter of Byron, Michigan||Scott and Kristie Lamb of Jeddo, Michigan|
|2007||Aaron and Andrea Gasper of Lowell, Michigan||Brad and Monica Crandall of Battle Creek, Michigan|
|2006||Tom and Diane Cook of Pewamo, Michigan||Doeke and Melissa Prins of Lakeview, Michigan|
Young Cooperator Tour
This conference has been held annually since 1995 and is planned by the winning and runner-up OYDC’s from the current and prior years. All young dairy farmers and employees are invited to attend. The 2019 YC Tour left from Lansing and visited stops including Middlebury Cheese Company, dinner on an Amish member farm, MMPA’s Constantine plant and a member farm in southwest Michigan.
The 2020 YC Tour will be based in Grand Rapids, Michigan and include stops at a customer’s cheese plant and West Michigan member farms.