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Annual meeting focuses on reimagining dairy


On March 23, more than 1,500 members and guests gathered in Kansas City for the Cooperative’s 18th Annual Meeting.

This year’s meeting theme – Dairy Reimagined – looks at how, from the farm to the dairy case, the possibilities are limitless for the industry. Guests were encouraged to join the Cooperative in challenging the status quo.

“By reimagining dairy, we can create opportunities for the next generation of our dairy farmerowners, and for consumers,” said Randy Mooney, chairman of DFA’s Board of Directors. “As a Cooperative, we must continue to focus on providing high-quality nutritious milk for consumers, while also thinking differently about how we do things in order to develop, produce and market products that are relevant to today’s ever-changing lifestyles.”

The meeting kicked off with the chairman’s report, delivered by Mooney, who operates a dairy farm in Rogersville, Mo. Mooney, who also serves as chairman of National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), talked about how the Cooperative can rethink the possibilities for dairy in various ways that will benefit DFA’s farmer-owners.

An overview of DFA’s business was delivered by President and Chief Executive Officer Rick Smith. His presentation highlighted DFA’s financials for 2015 and provided insight on how DFA will continue to strengthen the Cooperative’s core milk marketing business while also growing its commercial business, in an effort to better serve and provide value to members.

“As a member-focused cooperative owned by dairy farmers, we are always working to strengthen and evolve our business so that we can continue to provide value to members,” said Smith. “We do this by seeking out new opportunities, focusing on innovation, and making decisions today for the cooperative we want to be in the future.”

Special guests and additional highlights of the meeting program included:

• An outlook on the U.S. and global economy from Bob Engel, chief executive officer of CoBank

• Christine Cashen, motivational speaker, author and America’s “top humorist,” shared thoughts on sparking innovative ideas, handling conflict, reducing stress and getting energized

• An update on NMPF’s work for the dairy industry by Jim Mulhern, president and chief executive officer

• An overview of dairy promotion activities by Tom Gallagher, chief executive officer of Dairy Management Inc.

The Cooperative’s Annual Banquet brought a host of recognitions, including the 2016 Members of Distinction. Every year, family members at one farm from each of DFA’s seven regional Areas are recognized for service to their dairy, their families, communities and the industry.

In addition, outgoing Board Directors Ralph McNall, of Fairfax, Vt., and Joyce Bupp, of Seven Valleys, Pa., were recognized for their contributions to DFA.

Winners of the 2016 DFA Cares Foundation Scholarship were announced at the banquet. DFA Cares Scholarships are awarded to outstanding students pursuing a career in the dairy industry.

This year, 40 recipients will receive a combined total of $49,500 toward their undergraduate and graduate level studies.

The Annual Meeting concluded on Wednesday with the resolutions process, which brought together more than 250 elected delegates from across the nation to vote on a slate of issues that guide the policy position and business activities of DFA for the coming year.