MMPA hosts Annual Meeting webinar

MMPA recently hosted the cooperative’s 105th Annual State Delegate Meeting on March 25. Featuring a hybrid approach, MMPA produced a webinar for that was accessed virtually by attendees, including MMPA delegates at eight small gatherings in their districts. The meeting format was modified in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on conducting the essential delegate business of the association.

MMPA Board Vice Chairman Tony Jandernoa called the meeting to order and led a brief moment of silence for friends and family members lost to COVID-19 over the last year.

MMPA Board Chairman Doug Chapin provided perspective of the association’s activities over the past year, insight on what may lie ahead and the sustainability landscape. “I believe our relationships will get us to shared solutions,” Chapin said. “But most of all, the relationships with our members will matter the most.”

The meeting also included an address from MMPA President & CEO Joe Diglio, who discussed MMPA’s strategic relationships across the supply chain through uncertainty.

“Reaching out to others that share common concerns and needed solutions becomes a source of hope. The power of collaboration became to influence outcome which ultimately shaped the directions we headed,” Diglio said. “We worked with customers, legislators, trade associations and employees on ideas on how best to work through the challenges in order to develop a strategy to move forward.”

A special guest speaker, Jim Mulhern, President & CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, provided market and policy insight from a national perspective. Pointing to the effect of government support and dairy donation programs, Mulhern estimated U.S. Department of Agriculture direct payments to farmers for lost milk incomed totaled up to $2.46 per hundredweight last year while dairy product purchases added another $2.70 per hundredweight on the average all milk price in 2020.

“This is what saved our industry. Make no mistake about this,” Mulhern said. “Your senator, Debbie Stabenow, who is now the chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, was key last year. Your organization’s support in helping our organization work with Senator Stabenow and her staff was instrumental in getting this level of support. It wouldn’t have happened without that level of engagement.”

MMPA Treasurer Eric Frahm noted the value of MMPA plant operations in allowing the cooperative to adapt through rapidly changing markets. “Over the last year, due to the disruption in the milk market created by the pandemic, our cooperative had to manage significant customer demand volatility between our fluid milk business and our manufacturing ingredients,” he said. “As a result, we processed over 100 million more pounds of milk at MMPA’s facilities.”

Frahm also reported on the financial results of the cooperative over fiscal year 2020, including $5.3 million in net savings and $21.5 million paid in producer incentive premiums. “These financial results should help all of us conclude our cooperative continues to be financially strong and successful,” he said.

The meeting included a special recognition of 35- and 50-year MMPA members, Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators and the Top Quality Award Winner Gross Farms Registered Holsteins.

Delegate business including the election of Carlton Evans of Litchfield, Michigan, as director-at-large, approval of policy resolutions and bylaw amendments.

35-Year Members

  • Neil A. Weidmayer, Saline-Ann Arbor Local, District 1
  • Lori L. Laing, Kalamazoo Local, District 2
  • Paul Ponik, Hillman Local, District 4
  • Steven M. Thelen, Mid-Michigan Local, District 6
  • Edward A. Adamic, Deford/Clifford-Mayville Local, District 7
  • Scott Stough, Clare-Mt. Pleasant Local, District 7

50-Year Members

  • Frederic L. Halbert, Barry-Eaton Local, District 2
  • Bernard Baker, Kalamazoo Local, District 2
  • Donald L. Bever, Kalamazoo Local, District 2
  • Gordon H. Behrenwald, Alma Local, District 5
  • Kenneth P. Nobis, Mid-Michigan Local, District 6

This article was originally published in the March/April 2021 issue of the Milk MessengerSubscribe »