2007 Annual Meeting and Trade Show showcased DFA’s focus on members

March 22, 2007

Kansas City, Mo. - More than 1,200 dairy farmers and industry leaders attended the ninth annual meeting of Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA) – a two-day event featuring a variety of member activities, including the annual delegate meeting, election of new members to the DFA Board of Directors, a banquet honoring retiring leaders and a trade show.

DFA opened its 2007 Annual Meeting March 20 at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center in Kansas City, Mo. The event, which was attended by many of DFA’s member-leaders, attracted a who’s who of the dairy industry. A highlight of the event was the keynote address by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns on issues affecting the dairy industry. In addition, DFA President and Chief Executive Officer Rick Smith gave his report on DFA; New Mexico State University Professor Lowell Catlett addressed members about our world’s shift from a production to a consumer-oriented society; and DFA’s senior vice president of accounting, Joel Clark, presented DFA’s financial report.

In 2006, the cooperative marketed more than 61.7 billion pounds of milk (34 percent of the U.S. milk supply) for its dairy farmer members and affiliates, supplying bottling plants and manufacturing plants that produce a complete line of dairy products. DFA’s total annual sales revenue was $7.9 billion in 2006, in comparison to 2005 results of $8.9 billion. Payments to members for milk marketed totaled $4.9 billion in 2006.

“We must continue to work hard, because although milk prices appear to indicate a gain, these increases may not be enough to offset skyrocketing costs of fuel, labor and feed,” Smith said. “We must be diligent in finding new ways to market our members’ milk.”

The meeting’s theme, “Members: Our Foundation. Our Focus,” illustrated the cooperative’s renewed focus on meeting members’ needs.

During the meeting, Tom Camerlo, DFA’s chairman of the board and a dairy farmer from Florence, Colo., outlined just a few of the ways DFA and the dairy industry have grown business by finding new markets for increasing milk production.

“Dairy promotion is helping the entire industry by identifying opportunities in ‘unmet demand.’ Filling this unmet demand is simply the right product, in the right package, at the right place at the right time,” Camerlo explained. “For instance, we must offer the kinds and cuts of cheese that consumers want.”

As an example of how DFA is meeting unmet demand, Camerlo pointed out that Hispanics represent the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. Today about one out of every seven Americans is Hispanic. DFA’s Borden brand, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary, is keeping current with the need for more Hispanic-directed products by introducing Hispanic labeling.

“This time of transition and change only increases the many opportunities for Dairy Farmers of America,” Camerlo said. “I am proud that DFA is moving and in some cases driving change.”