Dairy Farmers of America Celebrates 10th Anniversary at

1,200 Members and Guests Attend
March 18, 2008

Kansas City, Mo. - More than 1,200 members and industry guests of Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA) gathered in Kansas City, Mo., for the cooperative’s 10th Annual Meeting, March 18-19. They paid tribute to DFA’s first decade and focused on the future of the national milk marketing cooperative. With the theme, “Ten Years and Building,” the two-day event features a line-up of dynamic speakers, as well as the annual delegate meeting, election of board members, member recognition and trade show.

Kicking off the meeting was Tom Camerlo, of Florence, Colo., chairman of DFA’s Board of Directors. He looked back on the first 10 years of DFA, highlighted 2007 and looked ahead to the future. He discussed the progress of DFA, industry trends and issues, and new areas such as sustainability.

“As a cooperative and an industry, we are making tremendous progress,” says Camerlo. “DFA has developed and changed significantly in 10 years, and as an industry, we are working more closely together than ever before. Growing worldwide dairy demand and the success of Cooperatives Working Together are just two examples of what can be accomplished with hard work, team work and determination.”

President and CEO Rick Smith presented a management report to members and guests highlighting a year of change in DFA and in the dairy industry. He reported that DFA is financially strong and discussed strategies to build for the future, including expanding and creating new markets for members.

Smith also provided an outlook of the dairy industry, including milk prices, international markets, and the ongoing debate of food versus fuel. He stressed that success is largely dependent on people throughout the organization, and expressed appreciation to DFA’s members, employees and leadership.

Other industry topics and speakers at DFA's annual meeting include:

“Leading with Strategic Foresight and Certainty”

  • Daniel Burrus, founder and chief executive officer of Burrus Research

“Connecting Sustainability, Cooperatives and Consumers”

  • Laurie Demeritt, president and chief operating officer of The Hartman Group, Inc.

“Dairy Promotion and Research: Driving Innovation to Grow Dairy Farmer Business”

  • Tom Gallagher, president of Dairy Management, Inc.

“Update from National Milk Producers Federation and Cooperatives Working Together”

  • Jerry Kozak, president and chief executive officer of NMPF

“Exports: Where to Go From Here”

  • Tom Suber, president of U.S. Dairy Export Council

At DFA’s annual banquet, seven ‘Members of Distinction’ will be recognized for exhibiting vision, leadership and innovation in the dairy industry. The 2008 honorees, which represent DFA’s diverse membership, include: Abo Dairy, Sulphur Springs, Texas; DeBoer Dairy, Tulare, Calif.; Empire Dairy, LLC, Wiggins, Colo.; Esh Dairy Farm, Paradise, Pa.; Royal Farms Dairy, LLC, Garden City, Kan.; Spadgenske Dairy, Menahga, Minn.; and Wright Dairy, Lebanon, Ky.

DFA introduced a new Scholarship Foundation for students pursuing careers in the dairy industry. In the inaugural year of the program, five recipients received $1,500 awards and will be recognized at the banquet, including: Matthew Mitchell from LaFollette, Tenn., Malorie Rhoderick from Mt. Airy, Md., Steven Toone from Grace, Idaho, Laurie Winkelman from Watertown, Wis., and Clayton Wood from Littlestown, Pa.

New directors will be elected at the business meeting and eight retiring directors will be recognized at the banquet.

An expanded Expo features more than 40 exhibitors and provides a variety of information to members and guests.

Prior to the annual meeting, DFA hosted a leadership development conference for its Young Cooperators. They developed skills in promoting the dairy industry, participated in team building activities and learned about DFA’s approach to sustainability.