NEW ULM, MN
The Young Cooperator members of Associated Milk Producers Inc., a leading Midwest dairy cooperative, toured the cooperative's consumer-packaged cheese plant, ABS Global Inc. and AMPI member farms in Wisconsin on June 20 and 21.
This annual event providing cooperative education to members age 40 and under attracted 25 families from a multi-state region, totaling just under 100 attendees.
Day one was highlighted by a tour of the co-op's consumer-packaged cheese plant in Portage. The plant specializes in packaging natural shredded cheese and processed cheese slices and loaves to be enjoyed in restaurants and kitchens across the country.
YCs enjoyed seeing the process of producing roughly 1.2 million pounds of finished product daily to meet the growing demand of foodservice customers. AMPI produces 10 percent of the nation's sliced American cheese each year.
A tour of ABS Global Inc. in DeForest, an artificial insemination collection and processing facility, took place on day two. The guided tour included the company's lab and the bull collection and rearing facilities. Through presentations by ABS staff, YCs learned about genomics and improving dairy cattle economics through breeding.
Tours featuring two Wisconsin AMPI member farms were also available to attendees.
Rambling Contours Farm is owned and operated by Dan and Karen Anderson, Holmen. This 250-cow dairy features a double-8 parallel parlor and free-stall housing. The Andersons shared about day-to-day processes on the farm, along with how the farm has grown and evolved throughout the years.
Pine Knoll Farms, located near Galesville, is owned and operated by Bob and Shelly Hart. Attendees enjoyed viewing the Registered Holstein and Brown Swiss cattle that are regularly exhibited at state and national shows.
More information about AMPI's YC program can be found online at www.ampi.com.
AMPI is headquartered in New Ulm, Minn., and owned by 2,200 Midwest dairy farm families from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. AMPI members annually market about 5.9 billion pounds of milk, resulting in $1.7 billion in sales for the cooperative. AMPI owns 10 manufacturing plants and markets cheese, butter and powdered dairy products, serving foodservice, retail and food ingredient customers.