Western Area Dairy Leaders Attend DFA Summer Meeting

August 4, 2011

MODESTO, Calif. – More than 130 dairy farmers and industry leaders recently gathered for Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.’s (DFA) annual Western Area Summer Meeting, held in Modesto, Calif.

In addition to networking with fellow dairy farmers and industry leaders, attendees had the opportunity to hear updates on Cooperative business and current issues affecting the dairy industry.

Among the highlights were a panel discussion about farm labor by the Rocky Mountain Employers Immigration Alliance and an exploration of the California dairy industry, presented by Sandra Schubert, undersecretary for the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Later, George Soares, an attorney with Kahn, Soares & Conway, LLP, joined Jackie Klippenstein, DFA vice president of industry and legislative affairs, for a panel discussion on legislative issues at the state and national level, respectively.

Rick Smith, DFA president and chief executive officer, provided a national perspective on the Cooperative’s business. Attendees also heard Western Area updates presented by:

  • George Mertens, Western Area Council chairman
  • Glenn Wallace, vice president and Western Area chief operating officer
  • Francis Pacheco, vice president of member services
  • Gary Stueve, vice president of fluid milk operations

“The Summer Meeting brings members and industry leaders together to reflect on topics that are important to dairy farmers,” Mertens said. “In keeping with the spirit of cooperatives, the meeting encourages camaraderie and knowledge-sharing to help create a stronger industry.”

Other special guests included Mike Reidy, senior vice president for supply chain and corporate affairs at Leprino Foods Company, whose presentation focused on the manufacturer’s perspective in the dairy industry; Jerry Kozak, president of National Milk Producers Federation, who provided an update on the Foundation for the Future policy proposal; and Michael Swanson, senior vice president and agriculture economist for Wells Fargo & Company, who discussed the impact of volatility on production management.

Attendees also had the opportunity to participate in two workshop sessions; one explored the Farm Services Division and resources available to DFA members, while the other focused specifically on Dairy Risk Management Services.

DFA’s Western Area represents 343 member dairy farms, producing 7 billion pounds of milk annually. The geographic area is divided into 10 districts and serves California, Nevada and extends into parts of Arizona.