Milk Minute: Changing. Growing. Doing.

By Doug Chapin, MMPA Board Chairman

2022 was a year of record milk prices, with an average price of $25.60/cwt. It’s important to mention though that inflation was also at historic levels. Even with record prices, we saw the Dairy Margin Coverage program pay out two different months and we saw milk production fall under the previous year’s production. That trend has reversed. We are trending up in cow numbers and milk production. The production trend up is modest, about 1% ahead of 2022, however, with our consumers facing inflation shock at the grocery store, we are seeing some headwinds in domestic consumption.

I encourage everyone to stay optimistic. The production trends are still trailing normal growth, and culling numbers are strong. Exports set a record in 2022 and are expected to maintain strength in 2023. As producers, we have managed these volatile markets in the past, and Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) is definitely prepared to manage them going forward. We realize that record prices can’t last.

MMPA has completed its second year since the acquisition of Superior Dairy. The management team has worked hard to align MMPA operations with Superior Dairy operations, resulting in improved coordination and collaboration among staff. Today, the two entities are one. We have doubled the number of employees, added retail sales activities in multiple states, and achieved alignment through human resources, accounting, laboratories, field staff and other areas.

The acquisition has also allowed us to develop new relationships and partnerships with those businesses that deal directly with consumers. These conversations are essential to meet our goal of adding value to our milk and growing beyond ingredients and commodities. Another asset that came with the acquisition is Creative Edge, an innovation and research team. They’re continuously working on solutions for customers, improving plant operations and developing new products for the marketplace. While it’s hard to put an exact value on these efforts, I guarantee they’re providing more opportunities for increased value and efficiencies for MMPA.

In the past year, MMPA has also successfully participated in and led donations to local food banks. Utilizing the United States Department of Agriculture’s Dairy Donation Program, MMPA has donated over 275,000 gallons with the Food Bank Council of Michigan, and recently donated an additional 10,000 gallons to Palestine, Ohio in their efforts to overcome the devistating train derailment facing their community. The Ohio donation reminds us of how we started our donation program during the Flint water crisis.

I’d like to thank Joe Diglio, MMPA President and CEO for his commitment and leadership to our organization. Thank you to our management team and employees for all their efforts this past year. They work hard for members every day. Finally, I’d like to thank my fellow board members. As a board, we function with a level of professionalism, trust and integrity that is critical for our ability to continue changing, growing and doing. We don’t take our commitment lightly and we appreciate the opportunity to serve you, our members.

This article was originally published in the March/April 2023 issue of the Milk MessengerSubscribe »