Dairy Farmers of America meeting emphasizes cooperative’s commitment to farmers
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — When Dairy Farmers of America — the largest supplier of raw milk in the world — kicked off its annual meeting in Kansas City, Kan., this week, one message was clear: A commitment to preserving the family farm for generations to come means a commitment to feeding the world responsibly.
The theme for this year’s annual meeting — One Cooperative. One Planet. One Community. — highlights how DFA is working together with others to protect the environment and nourish families around the world through all the possibilities of dairy.
“As a global dairy community, we impact and help support the livelihoods of more than 1 billion people, with our family farms at the core,” said Randy Mooney, chairman of DFA’s board of directors. “With this reach and impact both locally and around the world, it’s more important than ever that our cooperative is focused on family farms and investing in what makes sense for the future of the dairy industry.”
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 working together to create connections locally, across the United States and increasingly around the world, as well as the cooperative’s member-focused strategic plan.
An overview of DFA’s business was delivered by President and CEO Rick Smith. His presentation highlighted DFA’s financial results for 2018 and provided insight on how DFA will continue to strengthen the cooperative to better serve and provide value to members. He also talked about why DFA values community, and the cooperative’s responsibility to ensure that we are doing our part for the future of the planet.
“As DFA grows and becomes more complex with a variety of investments across the entire dairy supply chain, the reality is that our business still starts on the farm by delivering value to our DFA farm families,” Smith said. “From sustainability practices and providing a voice on legislative issues to innovation and global export strategies, everything we do is about our farm families, and our commitment to preserving the tradition of family dairy farming for years to come.”
Special guests and additional highlights of the meeting included:
Thomas Halverson, president and CEO at CoBank, discussing an economic outlook for the industry
Secretary Tom Vilsack, president and CEO at U.S. Dairy Export Council, providing insights on global dairy export opportunities
An overview of the latest dairy promotion activities by Tom Gallagher, CEO at Dairy Management Inc., along with Barb O’Brien, president of Dairy Management Inc. and president of Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy
An update on key initiatives from Jim Mulhern, president and CEO, National Milk Producers Federation
The cooperative’s Annual Banquet brought a host of recognitions, including the 2019 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 of directors David Chamberlain of Wyoming, N.Y., Keith Huber of St. Paul, Ind., Frank Ponterio of Melrose, Wis., George Rohrer of Dayton, Va., and Charles Untz of Lake Mills, Wis., were recognized for their contributions to DFA.
Winners of the 2019 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, 46 recipients will receive a combined total of $69,000 toward their undergraduate and graduate studies.
DFA’s annual meeting concluded on Wednesday with the resolutions process, which brought together 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.