Five ways to get involved with your co-op this year

The chore list is endless and the days just aren’t long enough anymore. There’s barely time for everything, let alone all these meetings right around the corner. Sound familiar? We know it can be hard in days like these, but as a cooperative, MMPA is reliant on an involved and engaged membership to sustain our success.

MMPA’s winter meeting season is the vehicle through which members can make an impact on the cooperative, as members gather to elect cooperative leadership, set policy resolutions and guide the direction of MMPA. The more members there are involved in the process, the stronger our cooperative can be.

How can you get involved and make your voice heard? Here are five ways to get active over the next couple months:

1.) Attend your Local Meeting

Every member chooses to affiliate with a Local Association, most often it is one in their geographic area. Each of these Locals holds an annual meeting to elect delegates and officers in December or January. Your Local Meeting is a crucial event where you can start your involvement in MMPA. It also provides an oppotunity to hear an update of industry and association activities. Check your mailbox for your Local Meeting invitation or look in the December issue of the Messenger to find out the time and place of your Local Meeting.

2.) Vote for your elected local & district representatives

Eligible members can have a direct influence on their cooperative by voting at their local meetings. Voters can help recommend policy resolutions and select fellow members to represent their area at district and the state annual meeting. If your farm is a sole proprietorship, you get one vote. Each farm in a partnership, LLC or corporation is allotted up to four voters. Check the voter list at your Local Meeting to make sure you are eligible.

3.) Consider running for an elected position

There are a wide variety of elected positions available to members that impact the cooperative on multiple levels. From helping set resolutions to managing Local Associations, it takes a large team of engaged members to enact democratic member control. Check the voter list at your Local Meeting to make sure you are eligible.

4.) Ask about nomination for the OYDC program

If you are a member or affiliated with a member farm (family or employee) and are under the age of 40, the Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperator (OYDC) program is a great springboard for involvement in the cooperative. The program focuses on leadership development and has been the starting point for many current and past MMPA board members and leaders. OYDCs are nominated by their Local, with the top finalists invited to attend the OYDC conference every August. Applicants do not need to be voting members or “on the contract.” Talk to your Local officers or call 248-474-6672, ext. 303 if you are interested.

5.) Attend an information meeting

Want a more complete overview of what’s going on with your cooperative? The information meetings provide a dialogue space for MMPA management with members and are held in various locations in the region. Information meetings this year will happen between Dec. 4-14 in Sandusky, Marshall, Big Rapids, St. Johns, Grand Rapids, Midland and Gaylord. Members in the Northern Indiana/Southern Michigan region will be served through a presentation at the Constantine Local Meeting.