Annual Meeting emphasizes connections, collaboration and innovation

March 18, 2015

Today, more than 1,400 Dairy Farmers of America members and guests convened in Kansas City for the Cooperative’s 17th Annual Meeting.

This year’s meeting theme — Connect. Collaborate. Innovate. — explores the various ways DFA works to strengthen its commitment to serving members. We believe in making connections between our members, our customers and our partners to strengthen the industry and feed the world. We believe in collaboration by working with leading dairy companies and industry organizations to grow global dairy markets. We believe in innovation that discovers new technologies, new products and new ways of doing business.

“As dairy farmers, we maintain a strong connection not only to our cows and the land on which we farm, but also to DFA,” said Randy Mooney, chairman of DFA’s Board of Directors. “In return, the Cooperative pursues collaborations and innovations that assure ongoing markets for our milk. Together, these efforts help to provide safe, nutritious milk and dairy products that feed people here and overseas.”

The meeting kicked off with the chairman’s report, delivered by Mooney, who operates a dairy in Rogersville, Mo. Mooney, who also serves as chairman of National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), talked about the favorable year for dairy producers and described how the Cooperative applies the “power to change” in many ways that benefit DFA’s farmer-members.

An overview of DFA’s business was delivered by President and Chief Executive Officer Rick Smith. His report focused on DFA’s pursuit of increased commercial business in an effort to serve and provide value to members.

“As a milk marketing cooperative owned by dairy farmers, our mission centers on bringing value to our members,” Smith said. “We strive to remain competitive in our core business of marketing members’ milk, while we grow commercial businesses and seek efficiencies that benefit our members and their Cooperative.”

Special guests and additional highlights of the meeting program included:
• Tim Hunt, global dairy strategist with Rabobank, discussing the global opportunities for the dairy market
• “Consumer Trends in Dairy,” a panel discussion focused on trends and perception of food
• An update on NMPF’s work for the dairy industry by Jim Mulhern, president and chief executive officer
• An overview of dairy promotion activities by Tom Gallagher, chief executive officer of Dairy Management Inc.

The Cooperative’s Annual Banquet brought a host of recognitions, including the 2015 Members of Distinction. Every year, family members at one farm from each of DFA’s seven regional Areas are recognized for service to their dairy, their families and communities and the industry.

In addition, outgoing Board Directors Wayne Palla of Clovis, N.M., Larry Purdom of Purdy, Mo., and Bill Siebenborn of Trenton, Mo., were recognized for their contributions to DFA.

Winners of the 2015 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’s record-breaking 50 recipients will receive a combined total of $48,500 toward their undergraduate and graduate level studies.

Annual Meeting concluded 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.