DFR annual meeting focuses on pride in dairy and the cooperative
March 31, 2017
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Last week, more than 1,500 members and guests gathered in Kansas City for the Cooperative's 19th annual meeting.
This year's meeting emphasized what sets the Cooperative apart and those ideals and values that matter most to members, leaders and employees.
"We're proud of who we are and what we do, and we want to show the world why," said Randy Mooney, chairman of Dairy Farmers of America's board of directors. "We want to show them what's behind our pride in our name, pride in our family farmer owners, pride in our businesses, pride in our products that deliver everyday simple pleasures to millions of consumers and pride in our role in society reflected in communities across the country."
The meeting kicked off with the chairman's report, delivered by Mooney, who operates a dairy farm in Rogersville, Mo. Mooney, who also serves as chairman of National Milk Producers Federation, talked about the importance of the dairy community working together as well as the Cooperative's ongoing efforts with trade negotiations and regulatory issues impacting the dairy industry.
An overview of DFA's business was delivered by President and CEO Rick Smith. His presentation highlighted DFA's financials for 2016 as well as how the Cooperative strives to take advantage of positive market trends, while also protecting its members from unpredictable market risks. Smith also discussed how the Cooperative remains focused on growing its commercial businesses, in order to better serve and provide value to members.
"Our dairy farmer members are at the heart of everything that we do at DFA, which is why we want to show the industry, as well as our customers and consumers, why being a part of DFA matters," Smith said. "As we look to the future, we will continue to look for ways to maximize the milk check, while also identifying growth areas for our commercial businesses and providing on-farm services that make it easier and more profitable for our members to farm."
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Special guests and additional highlights of the meeting program included:
• A look at the dairy industry's role in U.S. trade negotiations from Secretary Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council
• Futurist Mike Walsh shared the mega-trends shaping the future of business and lessons learned
from successful companies on leveraging innovation, embracing data and transforming agriculture for the digital age
• An overview of dairy promotion activities by Tom Gallagher, CEO of Dairy Management Inc.
The Cooperative's Annual Banquet brought a host of recognitions, including the 2017 Members of Distinction. Every year, family members at one farm from each of DFA's seven regional areas are recognized for service to their dairies, their families, communities and the industry.
In addition, outgoing board directors Bill Beeman of Kingsley, Pa., Marilyn Calvin of Mount Vernon, Mo., Willem De Boer of Tulare, Calif., Jim Eschliman of Ericson, Neb., Mike Faulkner of Greeley, Colo., Don Gurtner of Fremont, Ind., George Mertens of Sonoma, Calif., Jerry Peterson of Harbor Beach, Mich., Ed Schoen of Phelps, N.Y., and John Woelber of Belen, N.M., were recognized for their contributions to DFA.
Winners of the 2017 DFA Cares Foundation Scholarship were announced at the banquet. DFA Cares Scholarships are awarded to outstanding students pursuing a career in the dairy industry. This year, 45 recipients will receive a combined total of $53,000 toward their undergraduate and graduate level studies.
The annual meeting concluded on with the resolutions process, which brought together more than 250 elected delegates from across the nation to vote on a slate of issues that guide the policy position and business activities of DFA for the coming year.