MMPA Hosts 100th Annual State Delegate Meeting

Novi, MICH.—The 100th Annual State Delegate Meeting of the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) was held on March 24 at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Michigan. The meeting included an appearance by Gov. Rick Snyder and the announcement of a sizable milk donation to the Food Bank Council of Michigan.

“Michigan’s food and agriculture industry is one of our state’s largest, contributing $101.2 billion annually to our state’s economy,” Snyder said. “The dairy industry plays a critical role in this success, and I thank all of Michigan’s dedicated dairy farmers and leaders for their contributions to making Michigan grow stronger.”

Ken Nobis, MMPA president, announced the donation of 100 gallons of milk per day for an entire year to the Food Bank Council of Michigan. The donation is in recognition of MMPA’s 100th anniversary and a continuation of several other milk donations MMPA has made over the past year.

Representatives from JPMorgan, Consumers Energy and CoBank congratulated MMPA on the anniversary, presenting commemorative plaques and awards to MMPA. Mike Schweickert of JPMorgan noted MMPA was the Chase bank’s ninth customer and has been the cooperative’s banking partner since 1933. Consumers Energy and CoBank also pledged monetary support of MMPA’s milk donation to assist with processing and packaging costs.

Nobis also addressed the approximately 500 attendees with his speech outlining the qualities necessary to become a long-lasting business, saying, “We have been in existence for 100 years but it doesn’t really feel like we have, and maybe that’s because we keep evolving. As markets change, we adapt. In 1916 our markets were close by and by comparison quite simple. Today we still deal locally but we are also cognizant of the global market place, and when appropriate we market globally. We are adapting to the changing playing field and developing markets and membership across the state line.”

MMPA General Manager Joe Diglio unveiled the cooperative’s core values—quality, integrity, progressive, community and leadership—to guide MMPA into the next century.

“As a grass roots organization where member-owners play an instrumental role in governance, trust and reputation become critical to our DNA. Continuing to operate in a manner that our founding members have established 100 years ago is important and relevant in maintaining relationships and strong leadership during a changing environment,” Diglio stated, explaining the role of “integrity” as a core value.

MMPA Treasurer Eric Frahm presented the financial status of the cooperative, reporting a net savings in fiscal year 2015 of $6 million.

Business conducted by the delegates included the adoption of the 2016 MMPA resolutions and reelection of Ken Nobis of St. Johns, Michigan to the board of directors in a three-year, at-large position. Delegates also elected Gertie van den Goor of Marlette, Michigan to her first three-year term in an at-large position. She is the second woman in MMPA history to hold a position on the board of directors.

Nobis recognized 28 individuals holding MMPA membership for 35 years. He honored these individuals for their commitment and hard work to the dairy industry and MMPA. Each 35-year member was presented with a plaque. MMPA also began recognizing members with over 50 years of MMPA membership with the MMPA Milestone Award. Twenty-six individuals were recognized with this award and were presented with a plaque at the meeting.

MMPA Board Member Hank Choate introduced the 2015 Top 10 Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators (OYDC) at the meeting, including Shawn and Beth VanDrie, of Lake City, who were officially recognized as MMPA’s 2015 OYDC.

Dean Letter, director of member services, and Frank Brazeau, member representative, presented Jacob and Elaine Jahfetson and family of Baraga, Michigan with the highest quality milk production award. The Jahfetsons achieved the best quality records in 2015, 2014 and 2013 among MMPA’s 1,200 farms. Along with a plaque from MMPA, the Jahfetsons received a $250 gift certificate for the MMPA Merchandise Program from Ecolab.

Michigan Milk Producers Association is a member owned and controlled milk-marketing cooperative serving over 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio.