Twelve MMPA members built their knowledge of their co-op’s management, thanks to the 2017 MMPA Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperator (OYDC) conference. The members, the 2017 class of Top 10 OYDCs, converged in Novi, Michigan for a two-day conference on August 17-18 held annually as part of MMPA’s leadership development initiatives.
The conference included a tour of the milk testing laboratory and presentations from MMPA’s president, Ken Nobis, and general manager, Joe Diglio. The OYDCs met and interacted with their cooperative’s employees while gaining a better understanding of the day-to-day operations of MMPA.
Hosting this year’s conference was the 2016 OYDC Darrin and Barbara Siemen. The Siemens guided the next class of OYDCs through the process. Three judges – MMPA Board Member Gertie van den Goor, MMPA member and former OYDC Gordon Dick and Michigan State University Extension Educator Marianne Buza—joined the OYDCs throughout the process.
The OYDC program is a leadership development program managed by MMPA since 1950. Many who participate in the program go on to become MMPA leaders by serving on the Advisory or Resolutions committees, board of directors or local or district boards. For some members, the OYDC Conference is their first opportunity to learn about the inner workings of the co-op and how member pay prices are determined.
“The OYDC program opens doors for us to take on leadership because we can learn more about the operations our co-op completes and also meet other leaders, staff and members from around the state,” said Garret Bartholomew from Scotts, Michigan.
The winning OYDC, Nate and Jenny Elzinga, and runners up, Jarris and Rebekah Rubingh, were selected after the conference after the judges considered applications, interviews and tours of the top four finalists’ farms.
The OYDCs here at the conference were each designated by their locals and then selected by the nominating committee from the pool of all nominated cooperators. During local meeting season this winter, MMPA will begin the process of determining the 2018 Top 10 OYDCs with each local asked to nominate a young individual or couple.
MMPA members under 41 years of age: If you are interested in participating, please contact your local. For more information on the OYDC program, please contact the MMPA Member Relations Department at 248-474-6672.
2017 Top 10 Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators
Not pictured: Mike & Laura Finkbeiner, Adam & Charlie Freis, and Scott & Melinda Parr
This article originally appeared in the September issue of the Michigan Milk Messenger.