FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative schedules
first annual meeting
The newly formed FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative will hold its first annual meeting on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 8-9 at the Holiday Inn Convention Center here.
FarmFirst began operating on Jan. 1, following the merger of the former Family Dairies USA, Manitowoc Milk, and Milwaukee Milk cooperatives.
The inaugural annual meeting of the new cooperative, which has more than 5,000 membership service or direct milk shipping dairy farms in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, and South Dakota, will begin on Feb. 8 with three presentations, a trade show, and a silent auction.
Starting at 1 p.m., dairy specialist Randy Greenfield of VitaPlus Corp. will suggest how to manage feedstuffs during a drought.
A followup presentation will have Brant Groen of Form-A-Feed, Inc. at Stewart, MN, discussing how to explore and manage a cow's udder (a dissection is planned).
The day's presentations will conclude with University of Wisconsin-Madison director of dairy policy analysis Mark Stephenson reviewing margins for dairy farm operations and indicating why passing a new federal Farm Bill has turned into a major challenge.
The first annual delegate meeting of the new cooperative will convene at 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 9. The announcement by board president Peter Kleiman of Wilson, MI indicated that a portion of this meeting will consist of having the delegates from the three former organizations "roll up their sleeves and begin planning for our new cooperative."
Highlights of the Feb. 9 meeting will include a presentation by the Upper Midwest Dairy Coalition's governmental relations representative Steve Etka on the status of federal dairy legislation, a brief report by scholarship winner Katie Martin of Rubicon on her recent trip to Africa, and the first set of policy resolutions by the new cooperative.
A trade show will also be part of the annual meeting. By mid-January, the list of vendors included ACG Products, AgSource Cooperative Services, Animart, Badgerland Financial, Chase, Dairy Management, Elanco Animal Health, EnSave, Nelson-Jameson, and the Wisconsin Livestock ID Consortium.
Other prospective vendors are asked to call David Cooper at 800-525-7704.
Additional supporters of the activities accompanying FarmFirst's inaugural annual meeting are Bonnie Mohr Studios, Charm Sciences, Farm Tek, CliftonLarsonAllen, Comfort Inn and Suites, DSM Food Specialties, USAgnet, Midwest Machinery, Murphy Insurance Group, the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel, Rochester Midland, Semex, Winners Circle, the World Dairy Expo, and Stearns County, MN members of the former Family Dairies USA.
Kleiman, who was the president of Family Dairies, was elected president of FarmFirst at a meeting of the 21 directors from the three merged cooperatives at a meeting in Fond du Lac on Jan. 3.
Other officers are vice-president Richard Meyer of Unity, (formerly of Manitowoc Milk), treasurer John Rettler of Neosho (Family Dairies), secretary Bernard Vander Heiden of Kaukauna (Manitowoc Milk), and member at large Ken Wunderlin of Livingston (Family Dairies).
In the cooperative's first monthly newsletter, titled MilkLine, it was announced that the scholarship programs previously sponsored by the three former cooperatives will remain in place. The deadline for all applications was set for April 1.