Meet District 1 Director Brian Preston

Delegates recently elected Brian Preston to serve a three-year term on the MMPA board of directors. He joins the 12 other dairy farmers on the MMPA board of directors, helping guide the direction of the cooperative and setting strategic goals. Prior to being elected to the MMPA board of directors, he sat on the MMPA advisory committee and resolutions committee, along with serving as the Hillsdale/Litchfield local president and District 1 vice president. In 2014, Preston and his wife, Carrie, were named the MMPA Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators and they served as the chair couple of the National Milk Producers Federation Young Cooperator Council. Together with his family, Preston operates Preston Dairy LLC, a 1,000-cow dairy in Quincy, Michigan. He has a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University in agriscience with an emphasis in agriculture business management. He and Carrie have three children.

How has MMPA impacted your farm?
MMPA has given us a reliable and consistent market. We’ve never had to worry about where our milk was going. MMPA has also given our farm a sense of community with neighbors and fellow dairy farmers.

What do you value most about MMPA?
I value the co-op structure and being able to be a member-owner. Being a part of a cooperative allows us to join together and own the marketing and processing assets. Together, with other dairy farmers, we have bargaining power in the marketplace to help control how our milk is marketed.

Why did you want to join the board of directors?
I wanted to be more involved in the co-op. I wanted to better understand the direction that the co-op was moving in, while also helping influence that direction. I’d like to see our co-op own more processing assets while moving closer to the consumer and having more direct product on shelves for consumers to purchase. Commodities are always going to be a part of our business, and I think they should be part of our business, but I’d like to see us increasingly move up the supply chain to the customer.

What are your goals and vision while serving on the board of directors?
The primary purpose of the board is to hire and evaluate the CEO, so my first goal is to make sure we have the right management in place and to have a plan for our management for the future. Beyond that, to a certain degree, you have to let the management and employees do
their job. It’s not my goal to be a micromanager or to have to know every detail, but I want to make sure we have the right people working for us at the co-op – and I think we do. The greatest strength of our co-op is the people who work for us.

What would you tell members looking to become more active within the cooperative?
I would encourage them to attend their local meetings, to reach out and talk to their board representatives and attend the Annual Meeting, even if they aren’t a delegate, attend as a member. I’d also encourage them to talk to our management. Go and do and show up!

This article was originally published in the July/August 2022 issue of the Milk MessengerSubscribe »