Dairy Farmers of America Hosts Young Cooperator Conference at 10th Annual Meeting

March 18, 2008

Kansas City, Mo. - To educate and train the next generation of leaders, Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA) hosted a leadership development conference March 17-18 for its Young Cooperators (YCs). The conference was held in conjunction with the cooperative’s 10th Annual Meeting in Kansas City, Mo. The young leaders developed skills in promoting the dairy industry, participated in team building activities and learned about DFA’s approach to sustainability.

“It’s great to see our young members getting involved in the cooperative and the dairy industry,” says Tom Camerlo, of Florence, Colo., chairman of DFA’s Board of Directors. “History indicates that our Young Cooperators progress into leadership roles on the local and national level, and we welcome their participation, new ideas and enthusiasm.”

In a workshop presented by Dairy Management Inc., the YCs honed their skills and confidence in promoting the dairy industry in their local communities. The YCs learned tactics to use when speaking to neighbors, church and school organizations. They also heard from Matt Deters, a YC from Baileyville, Kan., who shared his experience testifying in front of a Kansas Senate hearing. Deters says the skills he obtained through the YC program gave him the knowledge he needed to provide his testimony.

One of the benefits of being a YC is the opportunity to receive an inside perspective of the cooperative by meeting and learning from senior staff members. John Wilson, senior vice president of marketing and industry affairs, met with the YCs and provided an update on DFA, including where DFA markets its milk. Travis Heiman, Assistant Marketing Program Manager, presented highlights on the new DFA Gold Standard Dairy program. Monica Coleman, vice president of corporate communications and member relations, discussed DFA’s plans to further develop the YC program.

Following the conference, the YCs attended DFA’s annual meeting attended by more than 1,200 members and industry guests. Dynamic speakers, member recognition and cooperative business highlighted the meeting.