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NMPF Highlights Dairy’s Resilience, Honors Farmer Leaders at Annual Meeting

November 13, 2019

National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern highlighted the resilience of U.S. dairy farmers in a challenging economic and policy environment at NMPF’s joint annual meeting in New Orleans on Nov. 6, pledging that dairy would speak with one voice on crucial issues.

“Resilience against hardship has always been a fact of life in dairy,” Mulhern said. “We know that if we embrace change while holding true to our values, we will win.”

NMPF’s portion of the Nov. 4-6 conference was highlighted by bylaws changes that bolster its position as the premier organization for U.S. dairy farmers. The biggest U.S. dairy-farmer group also honored longtime leaders who have helped build today’s industry.

The organization added the chairman of its Small Cooperative Caucus, Jimmy Kerr of Cooperative Milk Producers Association based in Blackstone, Virginia, to its now 15-member Executive Committee, ensuring that cooperatives of all sizes have a voice in the organization’s thought-leadership body. The Executive Committee, that was formed earlier this year, enhances the geographic and size diversity the organization needs in its governance structure.

“NMPF represents a broader range of dairy farmers and interests than any other industry organization,” Mulhern said. “Committing to diverse leadership makes our united voice is the strongest it can be. Brighter times lie ahead for dairy, and we are ready to advance in a wide range of areas that serve all of our members.”

The meeting, NMPF’s main policy conference of the year, attracted more than 850 attendees, about 50 more than the previous year. It featured discussions of the state of the dairy industry and economy, with remarks from the organization’s chairman, Missouri dairy farmer Randy Mooney.

“Dairy farmers play an important role in society. We help preserve communities,” he said. “Like all of you, I’m proud to be a dairy farmer, producing the most nutritious product in the world.”

NMPF staff also presented on issues ranging from immigration to the fight against inappropriate labeling of plant-based products.

Awards presented at the meeting included the winner of the Communicator of the Year award, this year given to Michigan Milk Producers Association, and the winners of the annual cheese contest, with this year’s overall honor going to Associated Milk Producers Inc.

The Young Cooperators portion of the program, which began on Sunday, Nov. 3, included seminars on communications, the FARM program, and other topics of interest to younger producers.

NMPF also named new members to its Board of Directors, including:

  • James Jacquier, Agri-Mark Inc.
  • Harold Howrigan, Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.
  • David Kyle, Foremost Farms USA
  • Joey Fernandes, Land O’Lakes
  • Sonia Fabian, Lone Star Milk Producers.

NMPF also recognized four dairy leaders with “Honorary Director for Life” designations for their service to NMPF and the broader dairy community:

  • Adrian Boer, Northwest Dairy Association
  • Cornell Kasbergen, Land O’Lakes
  • Neal Rea, Agri-Mark
  • George Rohrer, Dairy Farmers of America.