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MMPA Continues Supplying Stores, Food Banks with Dairy
Indiana Ag Connection - 03/30/2020

As the coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to spread, the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) remains steadfast in its mission to market members' milk to the greatest advantage possible while taking actions to protect the health and safety of our communities. Deemed a critical infrastructure business, MMPA continues to support the local and national dairy supply chain to ensure consumers have a safe, reliable supply of milk and dairy products.

In addition to continued business with customers, MMPA is responding to increased need at food banks in the Great Lakes region with dairy product donations. In Indiana, MMPA is donating cheese from Heritage Ridge Creamery to Second Helpings, an organization focused on providing meals to individuals and families in need, with particular emphasis now amidst the COVID-19 issue. Additional cheese is also being donated to the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, an organization that provides food assistance in a six-county area in Northern Indiana.

Further, MMPA, along with Kroger's Michigan Dairy plant, will donate over 2,020 pounds of milk per day to the Food Bank Council of Michigan throughout 2020. The first load of milk was delivered this week and the total donation of around 85,000 gallons of milk will ultimately reach all 83 counties of Michigan. MMPA has donated over 333,000 gallons of milk since 2015 including this year's donation announced at MMPA's 104th Annual State Delegate Meeting earlier this month.

MMPA's modified members- and employees-only annual meeting was held at the Lansing Center in Lansing, Michigan. Considering the continued spread of the coronavirus disease, MMPA limited the meeting to a reduced number of attendees. The meeting took place with a shortened agenda to conduct official business in accordance with MMPA bylaws. As the COVID-19 situation has processed, MMPA has been evaluating scheduled meetings, with many being canceled or postponed.

Unified by the theme, "Cultivating Connections. Driving Innovation.," MMPA leaders at the modified meeting asserted the significance of building partnerships for the betterment of MMPA dairy farmer members and the dairy community.

In the MMPA board chairman report, Kris Wardin reflected on the prior year while asserting how the MMPA board of directors is guiding the cooperative in line with the meeting's theme.

"By cultivating connections -- with our elected officials, other co-ops, customers and ultimately our end-user consumers -- we can continue to build an even stronger co-op that will last another 100+ years," he said. "But we have to be proactive! We must drive innovation with new products and look for partnerships that fit our core values."

Joe Diglio, MMPA president and CEO, described how establishing relationships and building a strong team builds momentum for the future.

"The more you learn and adapt to the challenges ahead, the more success you will have," he said. "And to learn and adapt means you must trust each other on how to navigate the challenges."

MMPA Treasurer Eric Frahm presented the financial status of the cooperative and reported annual revenue of $850 million.

Business conducted by the delegates included the adoption of the 2020 MMPA resolutions and election of MMPA members Wardin and Bruce Lewis to the board of directors in three-year, at-large positions.

In the board reorganizational meeting held at the conclusion of the delegate meeting, the following officers were elected: Doug Chapin as board chairman, Tony Jandernoa as board vice chairman and Eric Frahm as treasurer.

The annual meeting proceedings also involved recognition of several MMPA members:

- James Weber, of Vassar, Mich., as the 2019 Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperator

- Leroy Zimmerman, of Carson City, Mich., as the Top Quality Award Winner

- Members who achieved membership milestones of 35 or 50 years with MMPA:

o 50-Year Member: Dale E. Weidmayer

o 35-Year Members: Robert W. Coulombe, Daniel & Dorothy Ritter, Randy G. Dragt, Brent & Nancy Wilson, David Adkinson, Raymond Bucholz, Jane M. Wood, Mark S. Rau, Robert A. Rau, James R. Richmond and Keith M. Richmond

MMPA is a dairy farmer owned cooperative founded in 1916. MMPA serves approximately 1,300 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, handling approximately 5 billion pounds of milk annually. MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 certified manufacturing plants in Michigan and a cheese plant in Indiana.

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