DFA recaps 11th Annual Meeting

March 26, 2009

Kansas City, Mo. - More than 1,200 members and industry guests of Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA) convened for the Cooperative’s 11th Annual Meeting in Kansas City March 24-25. This year’s theme – People. Pride. Passion. – set the stage for a two-day event that explored the current state of the industry and the Cooperative, while honoring the hardworking people who make DFA the organization it is today.

Board Chairman Tom Camerlo kicked off the meeting with a look at the Cooperative’s key initiatives and how these activities are positioning DFA and its members to push through the industry’s current down cycle toward future success.

President and CEO Rick Smith presented a management report that explored the Cooperative’s progress during the past several years. He also detailed the strategic opportunities DFA is pursuing to help members hold strong despite economic factors hindering the dairy industry.

In addition to Camerlo and Smith, guest presenters and their topics included:

  • Tom Gallagher, President and CEO, Dairy Management Inc. - “Dairy Promotion: Driving Sales and Demand for Today and Tomorrow”
  • Jerry Kozak, President and CEO, National Milk Producers Federation - “Issues and Opportunities Facing Producers in 2009”
  • Eduardo Tricio, President, Grupo LALA - “Innovation in the Dairy Industry: The LALA Story”
  • Henry van der Heyden, Chairman, Fonterra Cooperative - “View of the Global Dairy Industry: A Partner’s Perspective”

Also during the meeting, DFA reported 2008 financial results. The Cooperative had a strong year financially with record revenues of $11.7 billion in 2008 and net income of $61.7 million. In 2008, the Cooperative marketed 61.2 billion pounds of milk and directed more than $7 billion dollars in milk payments to members.

“Although 2008 was a record year for the Cooperative, our results are delivered with mixed feelings,” Camerlo said. “We are proud of the Cooperative’s progress and achievements – and the individuals who contributed to these successes. At the same time, we are deeply concerned about our members and the economic influences shaping 2009.”

Record operating profits were helped by the strong performance of DFA’s commercial division, Dairy Food Products Group, which represented 17 percent of consolidated net sales. Sales of milk comprised 77 percent of consolidated net sales in 2008. Revenues and cost of sales were significantly affected by fluctuations in milk prices, which were, on average, at record high levels in 2007 and declined in 2008.

The Cooperative also reported that its investment grade financial ratings from Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s were affirmed, reinforcing continual improvement of financial results.

During DFA’s annual banquet, seven Members of Distinction were recognized for their vision, leadership and innovation in the dairy industry. The 2009 honorees, one from each of DFA’s regional areas, include Gillins Dairy, Inc., Minersville, Utah; Koepke Farms, Inc., Oconomowoc, Wis.; Koster Dairy, Comanche, Texas; Lumbra Dairy, Enosburg Falls, Vt.; Pine Tree Dairy, LTD, Rittman, Ohio; Tjaarda Dairy, Shafter, Calif.; and Tri-M-Valley Farm, LLC, Cane Hill, Ark.

Also honored were 11 scholarship recipients. Now in its second year, DFA’s Scholarship Foundation provides $1,500 awards to deserving students pursuing careers in the dairy industry. Awardees in 2009 include Brenda Arnold, Drexel, Mo.; Curtis Beidel, Springfield, Penn.; Tyler Boyd, Parrotsville, Tenn.; Amber Ettinger, Kinards, S.C.; Stephanie Heilman, Kittanning, Penn.; Rosemary Liskey, Harrisonburg, Va.; Benjamin Meyer, Linn, Kan.; Megan Schrupp, St. Paul, Minn.; Ashley Sears, South Deerfield, Mass.; Kira Tate, Larsen, Wis.; and Hannah Young, Clifton Springs, N.Y.