NOVI, Mich.—James Weber of Vassar, Michigan, was selected as the state winning 2019 Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperator (OYDC) by a panel of judges represented by leaders in the Great Lakes dairy industry.
As the state winning cooperator, Weber will represent MMPA at various industry and association activities. Brad and Nicole Wren of Prescott, Michigan, were selected as the runner-up cooperators. Selection of the OYDC is based on the applicant’s farming operations, farm-related and community activities and demonstrated leadership abilities.
Weber reopened his family’s farm, Weber Family Dairy, in 2015 where he currently milks 120 cows and farms 800 acres. He is a member of MMPA’s Frankenmuth Local in District 7.
“I’m most excited to be the OYDC because it gives us a chance to represent MMPA. I’m looking forward to the industry contacts and the fellowship I’ll have with other members throughout the next year,” he said.
Weber received a dairy management certificate from MSU and is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University with a bachelor’s degree in dairy science. He is active within MMPA, serving on MMPA’s state resolutions committee, district nominating committee and as a delegate. Within his community, Weber serves on Tuscola County Farm Bureau’s board of directors and Tuscola County Soil Conservation District’s board of directors. He also received the Outstanding Young Farmer award from Frankenmuth Jaycees, an organization for young professionals.
Weber was one of several finalists invited to the annual OYDC Conference held Aug. 13-14. He was selected to participate in the program earlier this year by fellow dairy farmers in his local.
The state OYDC Conference, held at MMPA headquarters in Novi, provides participants with information about milk marketing activities, cooperatives, milk testing procedures and other current events within the dairy industry. The program has been held annually for almost 70 years. This year’s program featured the OYDCs finalists selected from a pool of applicants nominated by their local. OYDCs often go on to hold leadership positions within their community and cooperative.
“The OYDC program is a powerful tool for MMPA to encourage, educate and recognize our young dairy farmers while helping identify the future leaders of our cooperative.” Kris Wardin, MMPA board chairman, said. Wardin and his wife, Carla, were the MMPA OYDC in 2012.
All MMPA OYDC finalists will be officially recognized at MMPA’s 104th Annual Meeting to be held March 2020 in Lansing, Michigan.
2019 Outstanding Young Cooperators Finalists (in alphabetical order):
- Andrew and Rebecca Bahrman, Skandia, Michigan
- Eric and Brittany Carson, Hesperia, Michigan
- Darren and Regina Coffey, Allegan, Michigan
- Brian and Jill DeMann, Martin, Michigan
- Jason Elenbaum, Mayville, Michigan
- Jeremy Karsten, Posen, Michigan
- Marie Marion, Saline, Michigan
- James Weber, Vassar, Michigan
- Ross Daniel Williams, Homer, Michigan
- Brad and Nicole Wren, Prescott, Michigan
MMPA is a dairy farmer owned cooperative founded in 1916. MMPA serves approximately 1,600 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, handling approximately 5 billion pounds of milk annually. MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 certified manufacturing plants in Michigan and a cheese plant in Indiana. Products made at MMPA’s plants include cheese, ultra-filtered milk, butter, milk powder, cream and condensed skim milk.