Young Cooperators gain leadership skills at Dairy Farmers of America conference

April 1, 2009

Kansas City, Mo. - In conjunction with its 11th Annual Meeting, Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA) hosted a leadership development conference for its Young Cooperator (YC) members.

The YC program fosters interaction between young dairy farmers ages 18 to 40 who are involved as owners, partners, or hold distinct management responsibilities of a DFA member dairy farm operation. The program facilitates the development of leadership skills, enabling young cooperators to improve their industry, their cooperative and their lives.

“These young farmers represent the future of the dairy industry,” says Tom Camerlo, chairman of DFA’s Board of Directors. “The energy, enthusiasm and fresh thinking that these talented individuals bring to the Cooperative give us great confidence in the future of dairying.”

Conference sessions helped YCs understand the broad context of today’s dairy industry, and prepared them to become ambassadors for dairy in their communities. Networking activities and social events provided additional opportunities for YCs to develop relationships with like-minded peers throughout the country.

In a workshop presented by Dairy Management Inc., YCs received instruction on speaking to a variety of audiences, ranging from friends and neighbors to church and school organizations. Attendees also heard from Dr. Ron Hanson, Neal E. Harlan Professor of Agribusiness at the University of Nebraska, about the importance of farm succession planning.

YCs also had inside look at DFA through workshops with senior staff. Jackie Klippenstein, DFA’s vice president for industry and legislative affairs, conducted an in-depth discussion about the issues and opportunities facing the dairy industry. Monica Massey, vice president of corporate communications and member relations, lead an interactive session that coached participants on how maximize the networking and learning opportunities available through the YC program.

Following the conference, the YCs joined the more than 1,200 members and industry guests who attended DFA’s annual meeting.