National Young Cooperators Program

Leadership Development and Education Opportunities for Young Dairy Farmers

National Young Cooperators (YC) Program LogoEstablished in 1950, the National Young Cooperators (YC) Program provides up-and-coming leaders in the dairy industry with a better understanding of issues facing farmers and milk marketing cooperatives. The program, managed by the National Milk Producers Federation, provides year-round educational opportunities to inform and build leadership abilities in the next generation of dairy farmers.

Leadership development is encouraged and recognized at the local and national levels. Many current dairy industry leaders, including some current NMPF board members, have participated in NMPF’s YC Program. Several of NMPF’s member cooperatives sponsor their own YC programs, but representatives from each cooperative have the opportunity to participate in national YC activities. Every June, a fly-in event is held in conjunction with NMPF’s June Board of Directors meeting. YCs learn about NMPF’s current policy priorities, attend a lobbying how-to event, and meet with their congressional representatives on Capitol Hill. In the fall, the national YC Leadership and Development Program is held in conjunction with NMPF’s Joint Annual Meeting.

The 2021-2022 National YC Program is sponsored by Farm Credit.

YC Program Requirements

To be eligible for participation in the National YC Program, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Employment on and/or ownership of a dairy farm that is a cooperative member of one of NMPF’s member cooperatives.
  • Approval from member cooperative
  • 45 years of age or younger

NMPF asks that program participants commit to participating in monthly webinars and attending two in-person events throughout the year.

YC Advisory Council

Every NMPF member cooperative with a recognized YC program is eligible to have at least one seat on NMPF’s YC Advisory Council. NMPF member cooperatives are responsible for selecting the YCs who will serve as their representatives on the YC Advisory Council. Each cooperative has its own way of choosing YCs for the council. Each new YC Advisory Council is democratically elected and takes office at the end of the Joint Annual Meeting.

YC Advisory Council members are the leaders of  NMPF’s YC program. They are required to commit to at least two of the following leadership development opportunities:

  1. Submit an article to a dairy publication facilitated by NMPF
  2. Be interviewed for an NMPF Farmer Focus website feature
  3. Write a letter to your elected officials
  4. Participate in media training.

2023 YC Advisory Council

Lorilee Schultz
Prairie Farms

Justin & Hannah Watt
Vice Chairpersons
Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association

Nate Carlson
Northwest Dairy Association

Marika Cowan
Tillamook County Creamery Association

Sarah Douglas
Dairy Farmers of America

Rachel Holtz
Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc.

Isabel Mullin
Agri-Mark, Inc.

Carl & Heather Olson
First District Association

Katelyn Packard
Michigan Milk Producers Association

Amber and Ben Selman
Prairie Farms

Questions about NMPF's YC Program?