Young Cooperators

Since 1950, MMPA has been identifying future leaders through the Young Cooperator and Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperator (OYDC) 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 includes the OYDC award program and programming for all younger members, called Young Cooperators. While OYDCs go through a selection and nomination process, ALL members and member employees aged 40 and under are automatically considered Young Cooperators.

Young Cooperator Education and Networking

MMPA hosts events and social gatherings for Young Cooperators, including an annual tour or conference.  The Young Cooperator tour is planned by the winning and runner-up OYDC’s from the current and prior years. The 2020 YC Tour, based in West Michigan, has been postponed to the Spring of 2021.

In September 2020, MMPA hosted the Young Cooperator Tee-off which featured a farm tour and golf outing in the Cadilliac, Michigan area.

MMPA keeps Young Cooperators up to date with regular email communication. To be added to the list, please contact jwelch@nullmimilk.com.

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Drew and Beth Rupprecht

2020 Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators

Brent and Emily Simon of Westphalia, Michigan, were selected as the state winning 2020 MMPA Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators (OYDC) by a panel of judges represented by leaders in the Great Lakes dairy industry. Drew and Beth Rupprecht of Vassar, Michigan, were selected as the runner-up young cooperators.

Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperator Program

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.
  • 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 2021 OYDC program, please contact your local officer or call Jessica Welch at 248-474-6672, ext. 303 or email jwelch@nullmimilk.com.

YearWinnersRunners-Up
2020Brent and Emily Simon of Westphalia, MichiganDrew and Beth Rupprecht of Vassar, Michigan
2019James Weber of Vassar, MichiganBrad and Nicole Wren of Prescott, Michigan
2018Paul and Nancy Pyle of Zeeland, MichiganJeremy and Deanna Beebe of Alger, Michigan
2017Nate and Jenny Elzinga of Zeeland, MichiganJarris and Rebekah Rubingh of Ellsworth, Michigan
2016 Darrin and Barbara Siemen of Harbor Beach, MichiganDave and Gretchen Tolan of Ossineke, Michigan
2015 Shawn and Beth VanDrie of Lake City, MichiganDarren and Regina Coffey of Allegan, Michigan
2014Brian and Carrie Preston of Quincy, MichiganKen and Kristen Sparks of Cassopolis, Michigan
2013Mike and Jordan Noll of Croswell, MichiganJeff and Chriss Carmichael of Hersey, Michigan
2012Kris and Carla Wardin of St. Johns, MichiganJosh and Lesley Lott of Mason, Michigan
2011Jeremy and Jody Sharrard of Peck, MichiganChris and Michele Daniels of Whittemore, Michigan
2010Burke and Lisa Larsen of Scottville, MichiganScott and Alissa Ferry of Litchfield, Michigan
2009Jeremy and Summer Werth of Alpena, MichiganTom and Heather Wing of Bellevue, Michigan
2008Brad and Tonia Ritter of Byron, MichiganScott and Kristie Lamb of Jeddo, Michigan
2007Aaron and Andrea Gasper of Lowell, MichiganBrad and Monica Crandall of Battle Creek, Michigan
2006Tom and Diane Cook of Pewamo, MichiganDoeke and Melissa Prins of Lakeview, Michigan

What is the OYDC Program?

The Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperator (OYDC) program strengthens leadership abilities and recognizes outstanding Young Cooperators. Each year, MMPA selects winning and runners-up OYDC to represent the co-op at local and national events.

Who can participate?

Anyone between the ages of 21 and 40 who is a member or affiliated with a member farm is eligible to participate in the program. Nominees do not have to be “on the contract” or a voting member to be considered.

How are OYDCs selected?

OYDCs are nominated by their Locals. From those nominated, the finalists are invited to the OYDC conference in August. During the conference, a panel of judges reviews each applicant while the finalists learn more about MMPA and milk marketing.

Can OYDCs be nominated more than once?

OYDCs can participate multiple times in the program as long as they still meet eligibility requirements and have not been chosen as the winning OYDC.