With MMPA’s centennial year drawn to a close, we are honing in on the future through an emphasis on the cooperative spirit and the value of working together. In 2016, a storm of challenges impacted the dairy industry, yet MMPA is weathering these winds and shaping the future together.
Fostering Our Farms
Our members are the core of our business. As a cooperative, our members own the Association, collectively participate in its governance and take pride in producing superior quality milk.
We serve our farms, putting their needs first and helping them improve every day. From nationally recognized Milker Training Schools to on-farm equipment evaluation to mastitis management programs, MMPA works closely with members to achieve high quality milk.
Our members’ hard work is well earned and rightfully recognized. MMPA members consistently make a mark on the National Dairy Quality Awards.
And the quality continually improves every year. A culture of quality and continuous improvement has led to a rise in awards in the MMPA Quality Award program. From just 12 percent of the membership in 1998, 45 percent of MMPA member farms earned a quality award in 2016.
Our family dairy farmers put animal care above all else. During fiscal year 2016, MMPA reached 100 percent enrollment in the National Dairy FARM Program for animal care.
Our members work hard to do their best on the farm, so MMPA pushes to market their milk to the greatest advantage possible in return.
Cultivating Our Industry
Working together isn’t just a necessity at the farmer cooperative level. Industry-wide, MMPA is active in the issues shaping our members’ future.
In 2016, topics like trade and genetically modified ingredients crescendoed. Through MMPA’s involvement in the National Milk Producers Federation and the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, we ensured our members’ voice and needs were heard on these issues.
At the state level, MMPA is involved in the Michigan Alliance for Animal Agriculture (M-AAA) and the Agriculture Leaders of Michigan. Through these coalitions, MMPA supports animal ag research, promotes agriculture and defends the needs of our industry.
From the state level, up to national governance and international trade, MMPA cultivates the needs of our members in the evolving dairy industry.
Marketing Our Milk
It’s well stated: “marketing our members’ milk to the greatest advantage possible” is our mission. Yet this mission is not just a statement, it’s a commitment MMPA holds true to everyday. Our members produce a quality product and MMPA ensures members receive the best return possible for their efforts.
2016 was characterized by lower prices in the marketplace and a continued surge in milk production. Together, MMPA faced headwinds and tailwinds throughout the year as the cooperative stayed devoted to our mission.
The massive milk flush impacted how MMPA marketed members’ milk, managing a 4 percent growth over last year’s record volumes through strategic initiatives with customers, improvements at our processing plants and by exploring new opportunities. MMPA’s two manufacturing plants in Ovid and Constantine, Michigan, produced record volumes of milk during the fiscal year, equivalent to an additional 1 million pounds of milk per day.
Through the trials of 2016, MMPA has worked tirelessly and reached successes in marketing more milk than ever before in MMPA’s century-long history.
Shaping Our Future
Working through the centennial year, MMPA has reflected on the power of the cooperative’s past. But MMPA is more focused on its vision for the future and what lies ahead. Working together to shape our own future will be the key to the next century.
All the same, MMPA’s strategy for best serving members in the future involves three components: asset maximization, business development and strategic alignment with customers.
Our assets—the MMPA dairy processing plants—reached great successes in 2016 and are vital to the future success of MMPA.
MMPA continually explores new business ventures to bring the best return to members. In 2016, two of these development opportunities were made public: the exploration of joint ownership of a Michigan cheese plant with two other co-ops and the purchase of an Indiana cheese plant.
Moving forward, working closely with customers will become more and more important. MMPA is positioned to develop strategic alignments with customers that share our values and our vision.
2017 and the next century bring new challenges and new opportunities to MMPA, and the cooperative is shaping the future together.
This article was an excerpt from the 2016 Annual Report and was published in the February 2017 issue of the Michigan Milk Messenger.
MMPA Members: Learn more about how MMPA is “Shaping the Future Together” at the 101st Annual State Delegate Meeting on March 23, 2017.