Page 1

STRONGER.

together.

Celebrating 100 YEARS of the

MICHIGAN MILK PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION

1916-2016


STRONGER.

together.

Celebrating 100 YEARS of the

MICHIGAN MILK PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION

1916 – 2016

By DONNA F. ABERNATHY Designed by CHIP PAYNE Researched by MELISSA HART and LORI HULL 4 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 5


STRONGER.

together.

Celebrating 100 YEARS of the

MICHIGAN MILK PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION

1916 – 2016

By DONNA F. ABERNATHY Designed by CHIP PAYNE Researched by MELISSA HART and LORI HULL 4 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 5


Contents This book was commissioned by and for the members of the Michigan Milk Producers Associations

KEN NOBIS President

JOE DIGLIO

General Manager Michigan Milk Producers Association 41310 Bridge Street Novi, MI 48375 www.mimilk.com 248-474-6672 Š 2016 by Michigan Milk Producers Association All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or writing without permission from the publisher. Printed in the United States of America

9 Prologue 10

Shoulder to shoulder

16

Growing pains

22

Leading the way

34

Signs of the times

42

New directions

50

MMPA turns 75

56

The greatest advantage

65 Epilogue 66

MMPA Board of Directors, 1916–2016

68 Acknowledgments 69 Sources

6 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 7


Contents This book was commissioned by and for the members of the Michigan Milk Producers Associations

KEN NOBIS President

JOE DIGLIO

General Manager Michigan Milk Producers Association 41310 Bridge Street Novi, MI 48375 www.mimilk.com 248-474-6672 Š 2016 by Michigan Milk Producers Association All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or writing without permission from the publisher. Printed in the United States of America

9 Prologue 10

Shoulder to shoulder

16

Growing pains

22

Leading the way

34

Signs of the times

42

New directions

50

MMPA turns 75

56

The greatest advantage

65 Epilogue 66

MMPA Board of Directors, 1916–2016

68 Acknowledgments 69 Sources

6 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 7


Prologue 1916 Even as the United States’ entry into World War I seems imminent, Americans are getting on with life in 1916. Ty Cobb is playing outfield for the Tigers. The Boy Scouts and the National Park Service are forming. People from every walk of life are on the move. Wheels are the name of the game. More and more rural Michiganders are paying the $400 to own a Ford Model T, which the automaker calls “a farmer’s car.” Some are even finding ways to use their car in the fields since the Ford-built Fordson won’t debut as the first mass-produced, gas-fueled tractor for another year. Detroit, long a hub for shipping and shipbuilding, is now the epicenter of the automobile manufacturing industry. Workers by the thousands are flocking to southern Michigan to build nearly 70 automobile makes that are rolling off assembly lines at the rate of one million per year. The population is exploding in the place later dubbed The Motor City. Residents number nearly one million, up from 250,000 a decade earlier. These newcomers need all the basic amenities — homes, clothing, food — and they have the money to pay for it. City-based businesses look to nearby farms for the meat, fruits, vegetables and milk to satisfy the hungry masses.

8 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 9


Prologue 1916 Even as the United States’ entry into World War I seems imminent, Americans are getting on with life in 1916. Ty Cobb is playing outfield for the Tigers. The Boy Scouts and the National Park Service are forming. People from every walk of life are on the move. Wheels are the name of the game. More and more rural Michiganders are paying the $400 to own a Ford Model T, which the automaker calls “a farmer’s car.” Some are even finding ways to use their car in the fields since the Ford-built Fordson won’t debut as the first mass-produced, gas-fueled tractor for another year. Detroit, long a hub for shipping and shipbuilding, is now the epicenter of the automobile manufacturing industry. Workers by the thousands are flocking to southern Michigan to build nearly 70 automobile makes that are rolling off assembly lines at the rate of one million per year. The population is exploding in the place later dubbed The Motor City. Residents number nearly one million, up from 250,000 a decade earlier. These newcomers need all the basic amenities — homes, clothing, food — and they have the money to pay for it. City-based businesses look to nearby farms for the meat, fruits, vegetables and milk to satisfy the hungry masses.

8 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 9


1

CHAPTER

Shoulder to shoulder

W

hereas the milk producers of Michigan are suffering seriously because of a greatly increased cost of production with no corresponding increase in income, be it resolved: We issue this call to all milk producers in Michigan to gather at the Michigan Agricultural College, East Lansing, Room 402, Agricultural Building, on Tuesday, May 23, 1916, at 11 a.m.” Members of the Livingston County Milk Producers’ Association were fed up. On April 22, 1916, they adopted this resolution and shared it with the world via the pages of Hoard’s Dairyman. It was a call to arms for an industry on the brink of disaster. In the existing every-man-for-himself milk marketing system, dairy farmers were losing. The costs of land, labor and feed had gone up, but milk prices had not corresponded. Michigan producers were selling their milk for less than it cost to produce it. Many had already given up. The state’s dairy herds were fast disappearing as farmers sold out and gravitated to more profitable enterprises. Rather than give in, Livingston County dairy farmers threw down the gauntlet. The time had come to formulate a policy “that will make milk producing in Michigan a more satisfactory occupation.”

STRONGER.

The dairyman’s problem The Livingston Milk Producers Association had initially formed to help farmers in the dairy-rich county ship their product to fluid milk dealers in Detroit. Like all dairy farmers in Michigan at that time, they were largely price takers.

The time had come to formulate a policy "that will make milk producing in Michigan a more satisfactory occupation."

Being independent and operating mostly in isolation made it difficult for farmers to negotiate good milk prices. Dealers had the bargaining edge, primarily due to better market information through their powerful organizations. This inequality led to chaotic pricing of fluid milk and dealers who balanced fluctuating supply needs by refusing to accept some producers’ milk.

In 1916, Michigan milk producers were struggling with low prices and so they came together to establish a stable market for their milk.

But times were changing with bargaining associations forming to help farmers effectively market their milk. Such an organization is what Michigan needed, people like Howell dairyman Jim Hayes thought. “I wanted more money for my milk,” he would say years later in explaining why he joined with other Livingston County dairymen in calling for the formation of a statewide bargaining organization.

The Michigan Milk Producers Association was founded on May 23, 1916, when some 400 dairy farmers met in a top-floor meeting room in the Agriculture Building at Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University) in East Lansing.

10 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 11


1

CHAPTER

Shoulder to shoulder

W

hereas the milk producers of Michigan are suffering seriously because of a greatly increased cost of production with no corresponding increase in income, be it resolved: We issue this call to all milk producers in Michigan to gather at the Michigan Agricultural College, East Lansing, Room 402, Agricultural Building, on Tuesday, May 23, 1916, at 11 a.m.” Members of the Livingston County Milk Producers’ Association were fed up. On April 22, 1916, they adopted this resolution and shared it with the world via the pages of Hoard’s Dairyman. It was a call to arms for an industry on the brink of disaster. In the existing every-man-for-himself milk marketing system, dairy farmers were losing. The costs of land, labor and feed had gone up, but milk prices had not corresponded. Michigan producers were selling their milk for less than it cost to produce it. Many had already given up. The state’s dairy herds were fast disappearing as farmers sold out and gravitated to more profitable enterprises. Rather than give in, Livingston County dairy farmers threw down the gauntlet. The time had come to formulate a policy “that will make milk producing in Michigan a more satisfactory occupation.”

STRONGER.

The dairyman’s problem The Livingston Milk Producers Association had initially formed to help farmers in the dairy-rich county ship their product to fluid milk dealers in Detroit. Like all dairy farmers in Michigan at that time, they were largely price takers.

The time had come to formulate a policy "that will make milk producing in Michigan a more satisfactory occupation."

Being independent and operating mostly in isolation made it difficult for farmers to negotiate good milk prices. Dealers had the bargaining edge, primarily due to better market information through their powerful organizations. This inequality led to chaotic pricing of fluid milk and dealers who balanced fluctuating supply needs by refusing to accept some producers’ milk.

In 1916, Michigan milk producers were struggling with low prices and so they came together to establish a stable market for their milk.

But times were changing with bargaining associations forming to help farmers effectively market their milk. Such an organization is what Michigan needed, people like Howell dairyman Jim Hayes thought. “I wanted more money for my milk,” he would say years later in explaining why he joined with other Livingston County dairymen in calling for the formation of a statewide bargaining organization.

The Michigan Milk Producers Association was founded on May 23, 1916, when some 400 dairy farmers met in a top-floor meeting room in the Agriculture Building at Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University) in East Lansing.

10 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 11


“…we believe the new organization will grow in strength and its members [will] stand shoulder to shoulder in the co-operative endeavor.” – Hoard’s Dairyman

It was a gutsy move. Producers joining together to negotiate price and terms of sale with distributors had been branded a criminal act in some places. Farmers in other states had gone to jail, accused of violating antitrust laws. Would fear of prosecution prevent Michiganders from supporting a similar organization? Hayes and his fellow Livingston County producers received their answer on a spring Tuesday. ‘A co-operative endeavor’ Four hundred dairy farmers came from all parts of southern Michigan. Some arrived by train in Lansing. Others came in motorcars — such as Ford’s Model T — that had bumped along muddy, deeply rutted wagon roads to get to the campus. Among this “large and enthusiastic” group were those whose livelihood came primarily from farm enterprises. But Michigan’s dairymen of 1916 also included bankers, statesmen, manufacturers, insurance salesmen and law enforcement officers — men who operated dairy farms while also pursuing other jobs. Regardless of their background, these men knew how to “get on their feet and state their position with clearness and no little eloquence,” Hoard’s Dairyman reported. “The thought was repeated over and over again that the producer was getting the small end of the horn, that his principal occupation and purpose of existence was seemingly to blow large profits for the distributor.” With a primary goal of securing a better price for producers’ milk, a statewide organization open only to dairy farmers was born. It would be called the Michigan Milk Producers Association. The new association had nearly 200 dues-paying members and its first board of directors at the conclusion of the daylong meeting. “If the temper of the … milk producers present at this meeting is evidence of the feeling existing generally among their neighbors, we believe the new organization will grow in strength and its members [will] stand shoulder to shoulder in the cooperative endeavor,” the Hoard’s story predicted.

Getting organized MMPA was originally formed as a federated association — a statewide organization composed of many local associations that were autonomous, farmergoverned groups. R.C. Reed, appointed as the new association’s field secretary, had the job of organizing these local groups. Each local association paid a $5 annual membership plus 50 cents per individual member to join the state MMPA. Individuals paid dues of $1 per year to sustain local operations. The state association would serve as the selling agency for all member milk. The association, with member approval, set a milk price based on generating a fair return over production costs. Then, it was the association’s job to get dealers to pay the target price.

1,000 Michigan dairy producers at first annual meeting in October 1916

Local associations acted autonomously in most respects. Each had its own executive committee plus four other committees. The marketing committee worked with the state association to determine prices and sell the local members’ milk collectively. The herd improvement committee arranged cow testing and breeding. The sanitation and health committee led cleanliness reforms on farms and in milk barns. The cooperative purchasing committee secured feed and other supplies in carloads to save members’ money. By MMPA’s first annual meeting on Oct. 17, 1916, the success in member recruiting was apparent. The auditorium in the MAC Agricultural Building was filled to overflowing as almost 1,000 milk producers “from nearly every county in Southern Michigan” attended. They represented more than 80 local associations that had formed in the few weeks since MMPA was founded. Other local associations were forming as fast as Reed could process requests. Leading the way Nathan Hull of Dimondale was elected the statewide association’s first president. R.C. Reed and Silas Munsell, both of Howell, became the vice president and secretary-treasurer, respectively. A seven-member board was selected during the formation meeting. The dairy farmers helping to guide the association in its first months were Munsell, A. R. Harrington of Grand Rapids, John C. Near of Flat Rock and Detroit, James Kerr of Birch Run and Saginaw, A.L. Chandler of Owosso, John Hull of Dimondale and Milo Godfrey of Napoleon. After the first meeting, state directors were elected at the annual meeting by delegates representing their local associations. Elected at the first meeting in October 1916 were Fred Shubell, Lansing; Cyrus Hunsberger, Grand Rapids; C.S. Bartlett, Pontiac; F.F. Consul, Mount Pleasant; J.C. Ketcham, Hastings; and Milo D. Campbell, Coldwater. Near, Godfrey and Chandler remained from the group chosen in May. Battles on the home front The United States entered World War I in April 1917. As U.S. soldiers headed overseas, the new members of MMPA found themselves fighting multiple battles on the home front.

MMPA leaders establish the association’s first headquarters in Howell since the idea and leadership for the group took root in Livingston County.

“It is our patriotic duty to get a price for our milk that will save the dairy cow and make it possible to furnish the people of the country with milk at reasonable prices,” R.C. Reed told the 400 members assembled in East Lansing in August 1917 to vote on milk prices.

12 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 13


“…we believe the new organization will grow in strength and its members [will] stand shoulder to shoulder in the co-operative endeavor.” – Hoard’s Dairyman

It was a gutsy move. Producers joining together to negotiate price and terms of sale with distributors had been branded a criminal act in some places. Farmers in other states had gone to jail, accused of violating antitrust laws. Would fear of prosecution prevent Michiganders from supporting a similar organization? Hayes and his fellow Livingston County producers received their answer on a spring Tuesday. ‘A co-operative endeavor’ Four hundred dairy farmers came from all parts of southern Michigan. Some arrived by train in Lansing. Others came in motorcars — such as Ford’s Model T — that had bumped along muddy, deeply rutted wagon roads to get to the campus. Among this “large and enthusiastic” group were those whose livelihood came primarily from farm enterprises. But Michigan’s dairymen of 1916 also included bankers, statesmen, manufacturers, insurance salesmen and law enforcement officers — men who operated dairy farms while also pursuing other jobs. Regardless of their background, these men knew how to “get on their feet and state their position with clearness and no little eloquence,” Hoard’s Dairyman reported. “The thought was repeated over and over again that the producer was getting the small end of the horn, that his principal occupation and purpose of existence was seemingly to blow large profits for the distributor.” With a primary goal of securing a better price for producers’ milk, a statewide organization open only to dairy farmers was born. It would be called the Michigan Milk Producers Association. The new association had nearly 200 dues-paying members and its first board of directors at the conclusion of the daylong meeting. “If the temper of the … milk producers present at this meeting is evidence of the feeling existing generally among their neighbors, we believe the new organization will grow in strength and its members [will] stand shoulder to shoulder in the cooperative endeavor,” the Hoard’s story predicted.

Getting organized MMPA was originally formed as a federated association — a statewide organization composed of many local associations that were autonomous, farmergoverned groups. R.C. Reed, appointed as the new association’s field secretary, had the job of organizing these local groups. Each local association paid a $5 annual membership plus 50 cents per individual member to join the state MMPA. Individuals paid dues of $1 per year to sustain local operations. The state association would serve as the selling agency for all member milk. The association, with member approval, set a milk price based on generating a fair return over production costs. Then, it was the association’s job to get dealers to pay the target price.

1,000 Michigan dairy producers at first annual meeting in October 1916

Local associations acted autonomously in most respects. Each had its own executive committee plus four other committees. The marketing committee worked with the state association to determine prices and sell the local members’ milk collectively. The herd improvement committee arranged cow testing and breeding. The sanitation and health committee led cleanliness reforms on farms and in milk barns. The cooperative purchasing committee secured feed and other supplies in carloads to save members’ money. By MMPA’s first annual meeting on Oct. 17, 1916, the success in member recruiting was apparent. The auditorium in the MAC Agricultural Building was filled to overflowing as almost 1,000 milk producers “from nearly every county in Southern Michigan” attended. They represented more than 80 local associations that had formed in the few weeks since MMPA was founded. Other local associations were forming as fast as Reed could process requests. Leading the way Nathan Hull of Dimondale was elected the statewide association’s first president. R.C. Reed and Silas Munsell, both of Howell, became the vice president and secretary-treasurer, respectively. A seven-member board was selected during the formation meeting. The dairy farmers helping to guide the association in its first months were Munsell, A. R. Harrington of Grand Rapids, John C. Near of Flat Rock and Detroit, James Kerr of Birch Run and Saginaw, A.L. Chandler of Owosso, John Hull of Dimondale and Milo Godfrey of Napoleon. After the first meeting, state directors were elected at the annual meeting by delegates representing their local associations. Elected at the first meeting in October 1916 were Fred Shubell, Lansing; Cyrus Hunsberger, Grand Rapids; C.S. Bartlett, Pontiac; F.F. Consul, Mount Pleasant; J.C. Ketcham, Hastings; and Milo D. Campbell, Coldwater. Near, Godfrey and Chandler remained from the group chosen in May. Battles on the home front The United States entered World War I in April 1917. As U.S. soldiers headed overseas, the new members of MMPA found themselves fighting multiple battles on the home front.

MMPA leaders establish the association’s first headquarters in Howell since the idea and leadership for the group took root in Livingston County.

“It is our patriotic duty to get a price for our milk that will save the dairy cow and make it possible to furnish the people of the country with milk at reasonable prices,” R.C. Reed told the 400 members assembled in East Lansing in August 1917 to vote on milk prices.

12 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 13


First leaders “We have not assumed the work of the publication of a paper to satisfy any idle curiosity, but we are taking this opportunity to satisfy the just claims of our people that we should, as far and as often as possible, acquaint them with the situation of the milk supply and the market in the state and the nation,” editor R.C. Reed wrote to members when introducing the first issue of the Michigan Milk Messenger. MMPA’s official publication, in June 1919.

Nathan P. Hull

Being elected MMPA’s first president was the latest in a string of key leadership positions for Nathan Hull. The well-known Holstein breeder who worked in partnership with his brother John on their Lansing area farm, was already an established agriculture leader. He had held the highest offices in both the state and national Grange organizations. He was serving as both president of the American Dairy Farmers Association and the National Dairy Union in 1916 when MMPA was formed. During 20 years of service, Hull helped to establish MMPA as a milk marketing and bargaining powerhouse. He was also recognized as a leader in the development of concepts of milk marketing that became national standards. He served as president of the National Milk Producers Federation from 1933 to 1941.

Milo D. Campbell

One of MMPA’s first board members quickly rose to national prominence by becoming the first president of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). Milo D. Campbell of Coldwater headed the Washington, D.C.-based group from 1916 (when it was formed) until 1923. The Branch County dairy farm owner was a good fit for the position given his considerable experience and skills as a politician and businessman. Under his leadership, one of NMPF’s first major accomplishments was securing legislation to officially grant cooperatives limited exemption from federal antitrust acts. In 1922 they succeeded with passage of the Capper-Volstead Act. On March 14, 1923, Campbell became the first farmer appointed to the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System. He died just eight days later.

He advocated for a united stand in demanding a fair price for their milk. “It is not our patriotic duty to produce milk at a loss in order that other interests may make excessive profits from our losses,” he said, referring to manufacturers wanting to procure milk at below-cost prices while enjoying lucrative government contracts to feed soldiers. After only a few months in the trenches, MMPA’s leaders realized that fighting for better prices would not be enough to sustain dairying in Michigan. The association would also have to step up its game in other areas. Member loyalty was already a problem. Enthusiasm had waned now that MMPA was getting Michigan farmers a better price for their milk. This threatened the association’s long-term ability to negotiate pricing and influence policy critical to achieving their goals. “All manufacturing and distributing interests are well organized and have competent officials paid to protect their interests,” said A. C. Anderson, a Michigan Agricultural College dairy professor. “We must meet organization with organization if we are to bring about any permanent improvement in dairy conditions.” Milk quality was also a challenge. “I have absolutely no patience with the dairy farmer who has to go out and apologize for the quality of his product,” Reed bluntly said. “If you produce a good product, you can stand behind it and sell it.” Yet another battle was being fought in the court of public opinion. Milk producers were suffering from a poor reputation in the marketplace. “The consumers do not know much about milk, its production or its use, and they look upon Mr. Producer as a sort of Shylock who is exacting the last cent from them,” State Dairy and Food Commissioner Fred M. Woodworth said, explaining that milk dealers were often the source of this unflattering misinformation.

R. C. Reed was well known as a premier Holstein breeder when he joined with Livingston County dairy producers in calling for a statewide bargaining association. In his role as MMPA’s field secretary and later board secretary, he functioned much like a modern-day association executive director. His job was to recruit new members for the organization. For two years he traveled nearly nonstop to address hundreds of gatherings of milk producers. In June 1919, he added editor of the association’s official publication, the Michigan Milk Messenger, to his list of duties. Reed helped to grow the association until it became selfsustaining and a fulltime manager was named in 1921. The association, which had been run from a small office in Howell, then relocated its headquarters to Detroit.

Consumers, particularly those in Detroit, were also concerned about the health aspects of milk consumption. They formed opinions from newspaper headlines such as “Typhoid epidemic traced to impure milk supply.” It would be up to the dairy farmers to change consumer opinions. MMPA producers supplying the Detroit area voted to appropriate a percent of sales “for publicity in educating the people to the true food value of milk and its cheapness compared with other foods.”

R.C. Reed

Though wartime provided no shortage of struggles for Michigan’s milk producers, history would prove that forming MMPA was a just-in-time move. The Federal Food Administration, operating from 1917 to 1919, preferred to deal with groups rather than individuals. Cooperative associations were the only representatives of milk producers and the government advised milk distributors to accommodate producers’ price demands. Dealers that had been holding out on bargaining with the new MMPA chose to comply rather than oppose the federal government.

14 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 15


First leaders “We have not assumed the work of the publication of a paper to satisfy any idle curiosity, but we are taking this opportunity to satisfy the just claims of our people that we should, as far and as often as possible, acquaint them with the situation of the milk supply and the market in the state and the nation,” editor R.C. Reed wrote to members when introducing the first issue of the Michigan Milk Messenger. MMPA’s official publication, in June 1919.

Nathan P. Hull

Being elected MMPA’s first president was the latest in a string of key leadership positions for Nathan Hull. The well-known Holstein breeder who worked in partnership with his brother John on their Lansing area farm, was already an established agriculture leader. He had held the highest offices in both the state and national Grange organizations. He was serving as both president of the American Dairy Farmers Association and the National Dairy Union in 1916 when MMPA was formed. During 20 years of service, Hull helped to establish MMPA as a milk marketing and bargaining powerhouse. He was also recognized as a leader in the development of concepts of milk marketing that became national standards. He served as president of the National Milk Producers Federation from 1933 to 1941.

Milo D. Campbell

One of MMPA’s first board members quickly rose to national prominence by becoming the first president of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). Milo D. Campbell of Coldwater headed the Washington, D.C.-based group from 1916 (when it was formed) until 1923. The Branch County dairy farm owner was a good fit for the position given his considerable experience and skills as a politician and businessman. Under his leadership, one of NMPF’s first major accomplishments was securing legislation to officially grant cooperatives limited exemption from federal antitrust acts. In 1922 they succeeded with passage of the Capper-Volstead Act. On March 14, 1923, Campbell became the first farmer appointed to the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System. He died just eight days later.

He advocated for a united stand in demanding a fair price for their milk. “It is not our patriotic duty to produce milk at a loss in order that other interests may make excessive profits from our losses,” he said, referring to manufacturers wanting to procure milk at below-cost prices while enjoying lucrative government contracts to feed soldiers. After only a few months in the trenches, MMPA’s leaders realized that fighting for better prices would not be enough to sustain dairying in Michigan. The association would also have to step up its game in other areas. Member loyalty was already a problem. Enthusiasm had waned now that MMPA was getting Michigan farmers a better price for their milk. This threatened the association’s long-term ability to negotiate pricing and influence policy critical to achieving their goals. “All manufacturing and distributing interests are well organized and have competent officials paid to protect their interests,” said A. C. Anderson, a Michigan Agricultural College dairy professor. “We must meet organization with organization if we are to bring about any permanent improvement in dairy conditions.” Milk quality was also a challenge. “I have absolutely no patience with the dairy farmer who has to go out and apologize for the quality of his product,” Reed bluntly said. “If you produce a good product, you can stand behind it and sell it.” Yet another battle was being fought in the court of public opinion. Milk producers were suffering from a poor reputation in the marketplace. “The consumers do not know much about milk, its production or its use, and they look upon Mr. Producer as a sort of Shylock who is exacting the last cent from them,” State Dairy and Food Commissioner Fred M. Woodworth said, explaining that milk dealers were often the source of this unflattering misinformation.

R. C. Reed was well known as a premier Holstein breeder when he joined with Livingston County dairy producers in calling for a statewide bargaining association. In his role as MMPA’s field secretary and later board secretary, he functioned much like a modern-day association executive director. His job was to recruit new members for the organization. For two years he traveled nearly nonstop to address hundreds of gatherings of milk producers. In June 1919, he added editor of the association’s official publication, the Michigan Milk Messenger, to his list of duties. Reed helped to grow the association until it became selfsustaining and a fulltime manager was named in 1921. The association, which had been run from a small office in Howell, then relocated its headquarters to Detroit.

Consumers, particularly those in Detroit, were also concerned about the health aspects of milk consumption. They formed opinions from newspaper headlines such as “Typhoid epidemic traced to impure milk supply.” It would be up to the dairy farmers to change consumer opinions. MMPA producers supplying the Detroit area voted to appropriate a percent of sales “for publicity in educating the people to the true food value of milk and its cheapness compared with other foods.”

R.C. Reed

Though wartime provided no shortage of struggles for Michigan’s milk producers, history would prove that forming MMPA was a just-in-time move. The Federal Food Administration, operating from 1917 to 1919, preferred to deal with groups rather than individuals. Cooperative associations were the only representatives of milk producers and the government advised milk distributors to accommodate producers’ price demands. Dealers that had been holding out on bargaining with the new MMPA chose to comply rather than oppose the federal government.

14 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 15


2

CHAPTER

Growing pains

T

here was good news to report when MMPA members gathered for their annual meeting in October 1925. In its first years of existence, MMPA quickly made an impact on Michigan milk prices. From a rock bottom $1.16 when the association was formed in 1916, prices had steadily climbed to a high of $3.40 in 1920 before settling in at an average $3 per hundredweight. Attractive pricing led to steady membership and milk volume increases for MMPA. The state association was marketing milk for nearly 100 local producer organizations in the Lower Peninsula. That number would peak at 103 by the end of the decade. To oversee the necessary employees and paperwork now involved in marketing members’ milk, the board hired John Near as MMPA’s first secretary-general manager in 1921. Along with Near’s hiring came the establishment of MMPA’s headquarters in Detroit, where the majority of members’ milk was being sold to fluid bottlers. The new office opened at the end of 1922 in the Owen Building at 250 West Lafayette Boulevard in downtown Detroit. Solving the oversupply problem Increases in milk prices led to problems in the marketing of milk not sold to bottlers. MMPA guaranteed a market for all members’ milk, so an outlet for milk oversupplies had to be secured.

John C. Near, one of the charter members of MMPA, is the association’s first secretarygeneral manager. He serves from 1921 to 1927.

103

MMPA locals in 1930

In 1921, MMPA met this need by organizing the Michigan Producers Dairy Company (MPDC) to manufacture and market dairy products from milk oversupplies. MMPA owned 40 percent of the company with the remainder held by individual farmers. Adrian was selected as the location for the company’s new plant. Milk suppliers couldn’t wait for the construction to be completed. The first four truckloads of milk were accepted at a makeshift Adrian facility in 1923 and “wonderful growth” followed. When plant construction finished in 1925, the company had 30 trucks on the road gathering milk and cream, and delivering products. MPDC would later acquire additional plants to manufacture “hard” dairy products from surplus MMPA member milk as well as the manufacturing grade milk delivered by several hundred producers. MPDC operated continuously until 1982 when it merged with MMPA.

MMPA President Ivan Maystead, right, breaks ground for a new receiving station in Ortonville in November 1946. Looking on are, from left, Howard F. Simmons, MMPA secretary-manager; B.F. Clothier, vice president; L.W. Morley, public relations director; Alfred Hendrickson, operations director; Fred W. Meyer, director; Jack Harvey, director; and William Bristow, treasurer. Bernie Beach, who came on staff at MMPA in 1921, succeeds John Near as MMPA’s statewide general manager in 1927 just before the dismal days of the Great Depression. He remains until 1941 when he shifts to managing the Michigan Producers Dairy Company, a manufacturing company in which MMPA was the majority stockholder. Beach’s initial job at MMPA was selling stock in the manufacturing company to producers. He also served as editor of the Michigan Milk Messenger for a while.

16 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 17


2

CHAPTER

Growing pains

T

here was good news to report when MMPA members gathered for their annual meeting in October 1925. In its first years of existence, MMPA quickly made an impact on Michigan milk prices. From a rock bottom $1.16 when the association was formed in 1916, prices had steadily climbed to a high of $3.40 in 1920 before settling in at an average $3 per hundredweight. Attractive pricing led to steady membership and milk volume increases for MMPA. The state association was marketing milk for nearly 100 local producer organizations in the Lower Peninsula. That number would peak at 103 by the end of the decade. To oversee the necessary employees and paperwork now involved in marketing members’ milk, the board hired John Near as MMPA’s first secretary-general manager in 1921. Along with Near’s hiring came the establishment of MMPA’s headquarters in Detroit, where the majority of members’ milk was being sold to fluid bottlers. The new office opened at the end of 1922 in the Owen Building at 250 West Lafayette Boulevard in downtown Detroit. Solving the oversupply problem Increases in milk prices led to problems in the marketing of milk not sold to bottlers. MMPA guaranteed a market for all members’ milk, so an outlet for milk oversupplies had to be secured.

John C. Near, one of the charter members of MMPA, is the association’s first secretarygeneral manager. He serves from 1921 to 1927.

103

MMPA locals in 1930

In 1921, MMPA met this need by organizing the Michigan Producers Dairy Company (MPDC) to manufacture and market dairy products from milk oversupplies. MMPA owned 40 percent of the company with the remainder held by individual farmers. Adrian was selected as the location for the company’s new plant. Milk suppliers couldn’t wait for the construction to be completed. The first four truckloads of milk were accepted at a makeshift Adrian facility in 1923 and “wonderful growth” followed. When plant construction finished in 1925, the company had 30 trucks on the road gathering milk and cream, and delivering products. MPDC would later acquire additional plants to manufacture “hard” dairy products from surplus MMPA member milk as well as the manufacturing grade milk delivered by several hundred producers. MPDC operated continuously until 1982 when it merged with MMPA.

MMPA President Ivan Maystead, right, breaks ground for a new receiving station in Ortonville in November 1946. Looking on are, from left, Howard F. Simmons, MMPA secretary-manager; B.F. Clothier, vice president; L.W. Morley, public relations director; Alfred Hendrickson, operations director; Fred W. Meyer, director; Jack Harvey, director; and William Bristow, treasurer. Bernie Beach, who came on staff at MMPA in 1921, succeeds John Near as MMPA’s statewide general manager in 1927 just before the dismal days of the Great Depression. He remains until 1941 when he shifts to managing the Michigan Producers Dairy Company, a manufacturing company in which MMPA was the majority stockholder. Beach’s initial job at MMPA was selling stock in the manufacturing company to producers. He also served as editor of the Michigan Milk Messenger for a while.

16 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 17


Crash! Milk production was rising and feed prices declining just as the Great Depression brought the economy — and milk sales — to a grinding halt. Automobile sales dried up along with consumers’ bank accounts, so the majority of Detroit’s workforce was out of a job. Unemployed factory workers moved out to the country to save money, leaving the majority of MMPA’s milk buyers without customers.

½ pint Amount of milk

consumed daily by the average American in 1920

By 1951 the Imlay City plant and receiving station, which MMPA acquired during the Great Depression, was receiving up to 600,000 pounds of milk daily.

There was now far more milk coming in than going out as producers counted on guaranteed milk checks to help them ride out the economic storm. Cooperative leaders struggled to find a solution that would balance member wants with consumer needs. First, delegates approved a production control plan at a special meeting in January 1930, but the surplus problem persisted. Next, members were encouraged to cull lower-end cows and keep their excess milk at home. By March 1931 a surplus of milk, combined with the depleted buying power of consumers, dropped the Detroit milk market to $2.15 per hundredweight. It was the highest price producers would see for several years. ‘Dreadful times’ Persistently depressed milk prices and an industry in near chaos were the only topics of discussion when 492 delegates representing all but three of the local associations gathered for the annual meeting in October 1931. Disunity was a clear and present danger as angry delegates were ready to undo their milk marketing organization. When an unruffled President Nathan Hull stepped to the microphone, he called on his considerable skills as an orator and motivator to convince delegates that a base-and-surplus pricing plan was “absolutely necessary in order to not have a demoralized market.” He added that their blame for low prices was misplaced since the sales committeemen were doing all they could to get the best price for members. “If you think somebody ought to be crucified, then crucify me, but I do want to make an appeal to you not to criticize these men whom you have sent down there

When Michigan Milk Messenger editor I. T. Pickford photographed MMPA’s board of directors in 1936, he noted that it was taken “with the aid of a flash bulb,” which “probably accounts for the pop-eyed expression of certain individuals.” Seated, from left, are outgoing president Nathan Hull, Lansing; new president F. W. Meyer, Fair Haven; vice president Elmer Powers, Clio; and treasurer William Bristow, Flat Rock. Standing, from left, are, L. W. Harwood, Adrian; Bruce Clothier, North Branch; John Haas, Ann Arbor; I. K. Maystead, Osseo; Jack Harvey, Utica; Ed Hyne, Brighton; Carroll Johnson, Casnovia; and A. H. Dafoe, Yale.

18 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

to sell the milk and who have to go out in the country to face their fellow farmers,” he told listeners. He concluded on a positive note. “These are dreadful times, but we are going to come out of them. Let us be wise and prayerful and try to bring agriculture out of these times in the best way we can. And in doing that we will have done our duty as men, and that is all that angels can do.” Marketing muscle Hull’s words were a prophecy. Guaranteeing a market for members’ milk resulted in MMPA emerging from the Depression with a system of receiving stations, a transportation fleet and its own fluid milk processing plant. By necessity, more than design, the co-op developed considerable marketing muscle.

600,000

At the depths of the Depression, the co-op was forced to take over many country receiving stations to keep them operational. A transportation fleet was established to bring milk from the stations to market.

Peak daily milk intake

pounds

at Imlay City plant in 1951

MMPA also took over the operation of the Imlay City processing plant from the financially struggling Detroit Creamery Co. (Sealtest) in 1939. The plant emerged as the nerve center and hub of MMPA operations as it became the balancing plant for the Detroit milk supply. On the home front Michigan’s dairy industry was just beginning to bounce back from the ‘dreadful’ decade of the 1930s when the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor plunged the nation headlong into World War II. Wartime shortages and innovations, as well as increased dairy demand, spurred change for the members of MMPA and the U.S. dairy industry. MMPA’s leadership and management were among the casualties of the manpower shortage. Employees reported for military service, leaving key positions open at a critical time. Bernie Beach, the association’s general manager since 1927, took the reins at the increasingly busy Michigan Producers Dairy Company in 1941. Fred W. Meyer, the Fair Haven Jersey farmer who succeeded association president Nathan Hull in 1936, did temporary double duty as MMPA’s general manager. Howard Simmons, MMPA’s director of field services, was promoted to succeed Meyer in 1942.

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 19


Crash! Milk production was rising and feed prices declining just as the Great Depression brought the economy — and milk sales — to a grinding halt. Automobile sales dried up along with consumers’ bank accounts, so the majority of Detroit’s workforce was out of a job. Unemployed factory workers moved out to the country to save money, leaving the majority of MMPA’s milk buyers without customers.

½ pint Amount of milk

consumed daily by the average American in 1920

By 1951 the Imlay City plant and receiving station, which MMPA acquired during the Great Depression, was receiving up to 600,000 pounds of milk daily.

There was now far more milk coming in than going out as producers counted on guaranteed milk checks to help them ride out the economic storm. Cooperative leaders struggled to find a solution that would balance member wants with consumer needs. First, delegates approved a production control plan at a special meeting in January 1930, but the surplus problem persisted. Next, members were encouraged to cull lower-end cows and keep their excess milk at home. By March 1931 a surplus of milk, combined with the depleted buying power of consumers, dropped the Detroit milk market to $2.15 per hundredweight. It was the highest price producers would see for several years. ‘Dreadful times’ Persistently depressed milk prices and an industry in near chaos were the only topics of discussion when 492 delegates representing all but three of the local associations gathered for the annual meeting in October 1931. Disunity was a clear and present danger as angry delegates were ready to undo their milk marketing organization. When an unruffled President Nathan Hull stepped to the microphone, he called on his considerable skills as an orator and motivator to convince delegates that a base-and-surplus pricing plan was “absolutely necessary in order to not have a demoralized market.” He added that their blame for low prices was misplaced since the sales committeemen were doing all they could to get the best price for members. “If you think somebody ought to be crucified, then crucify me, but I do want to make an appeal to you not to criticize these men whom you have sent down there

When Michigan Milk Messenger editor I. T. Pickford photographed MMPA’s board of directors in 1936, he noted that it was taken “with the aid of a flash bulb,” which “probably accounts for the pop-eyed expression of certain individuals.” Seated, from left, are outgoing president Nathan Hull, Lansing; new president F. W. Meyer, Fair Haven; vice president Elmer Powers, Clio; and treasurer William Bristow, Flat Rock. Standing, from left, are, L. W. Harwood, Adrian; Bruce Clothier, North Branch; John Haas, Ann Arbor; I. K. Maystead, Osseo; Jack Harvey, Utica; Ed Hyne, Brighton; Carroll Johnson, Casnovia; and A. H. Dafoe, Yale.

18 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

to sell the milk and who have to go out in the country to face their fellow farmers,” he told listeners. He concluded on a positive note. “These are dreadful times, but we are going to come out of them. Let us be wise and prayerful and try to bring agriculture out of these times in the best way we can. And in doing that we will have done our duty as men, and that is all that angels can do.” Marketing muscle Hull’s words were a prophecy. Guaranteeing a market for members’ milk resulted in MMPA emerging from the Depression with a system of receiving stations, a transportation fleet and its own fluid milk processing plant. By necessity, more than design, the co-op developed considerable marketing muscle.

600,000

At the depths of the Depression, the co-op was forced to take over many country receiving stations to keep them operational. A transportation fleet was established to bring milk from the stations to market.

Peak daily milk intake

pounds

at Imlay City plant in 1951

MMPA also took over the operation of the Imlay City processing plant from the financially struggling Detroit Creamery Co. (Sealtest) in 1939. The plant emerged as the nerve center and hub of MMPA operations as it became the balancing plant for the Detroit milk supply. On the home front Michigan’s dairy industry was just beginning to bounce back from the ‘dreadful’ decade of the 1930s when the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor plunged the nation headlong into World War II. Wartime shortages and innovations, as well as increased dairy demand, spurred change for the members of MMPA and the U.S. dairy industry. MMPA’s leadership and management were among the casualties of the manpower shortage. Employees reported for military service, leaving key positions open at a critical time. Bernie Beach, the association’s general manager since 1927, took the reins at the increasingly busy Michigan Producers Dairy Company in 1941. Fred W. Meyer, the Fair Haven Jersey farmer who succeeded association president Nathan Hull in 1936, did temporary double duty as MMPA’s general manager. Howard Simmons, MMPA’s director of field services, was promoted to succeed Meyer in 1942.

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 19


History Notes 1932

MMPA offices move The headquarters relocates to 406 Stephenson Building on the south side of Grand Boulevard, directly across the street from the General Motors Building in downtown Detroit.

1936

Rural Michigan lights up With help from a New Deal agency called the Rural Electrification Administration, Michigan farmers form consumer-owned cooperatives to bring affordable electricity to country homes. Michigan dairy farms begin enjoying the productivity benefits of lighted barns and electric-powered equipment.

Hollywood starlet Linda Ware, far left, took a goodwill flight to inaugurate Michigan Milk Month in June 1940. Flying in the Dairy Queen of Michigan, she made promotional appearances throughout the state. Giving a milking demonstration is the daughter of MMPA member Percy Read. Read was president of the Grand Rapids Producers Association in 1940.

Perennial state milking champion Matilda Rinke, daughter of MMPA member Frank Rinke of Warren, represents Michigan in a national milking contest held in conjunction with the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1933. She takes second place.

Milk products were among the many agricultural commodities in greater demand by the military and for the civilian populations of allies. Production was encouraged and prices and markets were under tight federal control.

Though state and federal governments attempted to stem the nondairy substitute trend with legislation such as the Federal Filled Milk Act, dairymen’s concerns were validated. Food manufacturers began successfully marketing a variety of substitute dairy products in the decades to come. The dairy industry countered in 1980 by introducing the “REAL” seal and a national program to help consumers identify genuine dairy products. MMPA grows Despite wartime challenges, MMPA’s membership grew significantly between 1941 and 1945. The addition of “outstate” markets such as Flint and Grand Rapids brought in new members. Membership growth, along with the stations, transportation and processing capability developed during the Depression, resulted in MMPA controlling a very significant and growing percentage of the total pounds of milk flowing into the Detroit market when World War II ended in September 1945. Soldiers returning home to their Michigan dairy farms found their milk marketing association larger and stronger. MMPA was poised to tackle an explosive postwar era.

Fred Meyer becomes MMPA’s second president when Nathan Hull steps down in 1936. A board member since 1921, he began serving as treasurer in 1929. The St. Clair County dairy farmer operates a 160-acre farm near Fair Haven. Meyer leads MMPA through the difficult war years and also temporarily serves as general manager in 1941 and 1942. He retires from the presidency in 1944.

Fred Meyer After joining MMPA as a butterfat tester in 1925, Howard F. Simmons is named general manager in 1940. He is instrumental in merging most major local milk markets in Michigan into a single, effective statewide organization during an 18year tenure. He is also a key figure in the development of MMPA’s member-owned system for receiving, hauling and manufacturing milk that emerged during and after World War II.

Government contracts for milk powder, which could be shipped to warfronts, escalated. The MPDC responded by expanding the Adrian plant and increasing its milk powder manufacturing capabilities by 30 percent. MMPA member milk that was normally bottled was instead funneled into the plant to make powder. To secure enough milk production, the War Food Administration derived two new milk marketing concepts — price ceilings and subsidies. A milk subsidy was paid to dairy farmers to help keep their income up while holding prices and general inflationary pressure down. The subsidies were initiated in October 1943 and paid through June 1946.

Howard Simmons

A perfect storm The dairy industry’s many years of working to increase milk consumption created a perfect storm during the war years. Consumers now wanted more dairy products, but most of the milk produced was being used by the military. To avoid a milk shortage, the government rationed butter and froze fluid milk sales. This gave rise to a new problem: dairy product substitutes. Food manufacturers looking to meet consumer demand for dairy products began marketing filled milk (a mixture of condensed skim milk with vegetable oil replacing the natural butterfat) and vegetable oil-based oleo margarine. Milk producers worried that these substitutes might become more popular than real dairy products. 20 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Hillsdale County dairyman Ivan K. Maystead succeeds Fred Meyer as MMPA’s president in 1944. Previously a member of the Detroit Sales Committee, he serves as a member of the MMPA board for 21 years. The third president of MMPA, his term is marked by rapid growth for the cooperative. He leaves his role with MMPA in 1955 to become president of the American Dairy Association, the organization responsible for promoting U.S. milk products to consumers through advertising and retail promotions.

Ivan K. Maystead Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 21


History Notes 1932

MMPA offices move The headquarters relocates to 406 Stephenson Building on the south side of Grand Boulevard, directly across the street from the General Motors Building in downtown Detroit.

1936

Rural Michigan lights up With help from a New Deal agency called the Rural Electrification Administration, Michigan farmers form consumer-owned cooperatives to bring affordable electricity to country homes. Michigan dairy farms begin enjoying the productivity benefits of lighted barns and electric-powered equipment.

Hollywood starlet Linda Ware, far left, took a goodwill flight to inaugurate Michigan Milk Month in June 1940. Flying in the Dairy Queen of Michigan, she made promotional appearances throughout the state. Giving a milking demonstration is the daughter of MMPA member Percy Read. Read was president of the Grand Rapids Producers Association in 1940.

Perennial state milking champion Matilda Rinke, daughter of MMPA member Frank Rinke of Warren, represents Michigan in a national milking contest held in conjunction with the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1933. She takes second place.

Milk products were among the many agricultural commodities in greater demand by the military and for the civilian populations of allies. Production was encouraged and prices and markets were under tight federal control.

Though state and federal governments attempted to stem the nondairy substitute trend with legislation such as the Federal Filled Milk Act, dairymen’s concerns were validated. Food manufacturers began successfully marketing a variety of substitute dairy products in the decades to come. The dairy industry countered in 1980 by introducing the “REAL” seal and a national program to help consumers identify genuine dairy products. MMPA grows Despite wartime challenges, MMPA’s membership grew significantly between 1941 and 1945. The addition of “outstate” markets such as Flint and Grand Rapids brought in new members. Membership growth, along with the stations, transportation and processing capability developed during the Depression, resulted in MMPA controlling a very significant and growing percentage of the total pounds of milk flowing into the Detroit market when World War II ended in September 1945. Soldiers returning home to their Michigan dairy farms found their milk marketing association larger and stronger. MMPA was poised to tackle an explosive postwar era.

Fred Meyer becomes MMPA’s second president when Nathan Hull steps down in 1936. A board member since 1921, he began serving as treasurer in 1929. The St. Clair County dairy farmer operates a 160-acre farm near Fair Haven. Meyer leads MMPA through the difficult war years and also temporarily serves as general manager in 1941 and 1942. He retires from the presidency in 1944.

Fred Meyer After joining MMPA as a butterfat tester in 1925, Howard F. Simmons is named general manager in 1940. He is instrumental in merging most major local milk markets in Michigan into a single, effective statewide organization during an 18year tenure. He is also a key figure in the development of MMPA’s member-owned system for receiving, hauling and manufacturing milk that emerged during and after World War II.

Government contracts for milk powder, which could be shipped to warfronts, escalated. The MPDC responded by expanding the Adrian plant and increasing its milk powder manufacturing capabilities by 30 percent. MMPA member milk that was normally bottled was instead funneled into the plant to make powder. To secure enough milk production, the War Food Administration derived two new milk marketing concepts — price ceilings and subsidies. A milk subsidy was paid to dairy farmers to help keep their income up while holding prices and general inflationary pressure down. The subsidies were initiated in October 1943 and paid through June 1946.

Howard Simmons

A perfect storm The dairy industry’s many years of working to increase milk consumption created a perfect storm during the war years. Consumers now wanted more dairy products, but most of the milk produced was being used by the military. To avoid a milk shortage, the government rationed butter and froze fluid milk sales. This gave rise to a new problem: dairy product substitutes. Food manufacturers looking to meet consumer demand for dairy products began marketing filled milk (a mixture of condensed skim milk with vegetable oil replacing the natural butterfat) and vegetable oil-based oleo margarine. Milk producers worried that these substitutes might become more popular than real dairy products. 20 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Hillsdale County dairyman Ivan K. Maystead succeeds Fred Meyer as MMPA’s president in 1944. Previously a member of the Detroit Sales Committee, he serves as a member of the MMPA board for 21 years. The third president of MMPA, his term is marked by rapid growth for the cooperative. He leaves his role with MMPA in 1955 to become president of the American Dairy Association, the organization responsible for promoting U.S. milk products to consumers through advertising and retail promotions.

Ivan K. Maystead Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 21


CHAPTER

3

Leading the way

I

n the years following World War II, change came to practically every aspect of dairy farming and milk marketing in Michigan and across the country. Soldiers, exposed to new ideas and practices while in service, returned to their farms with greater expectations and plans for improvement. The age of the modern dairy farm was rooted in their aspirations. MMPA’s membership soared to more than 17,000 in 1954 before decreasing dramatically over the next two decades. The cooperative, like the entire dairy industry, contracted as families exited the dairying lifestyle.

17,000 Peak MMPA

membership

The farms that remained grew larger and more specialized. The average dairy herd size and milk production per cow climbed. Milk quality changed too as more producers shifted away from uninspected manufacturing grade milk in favor of the premium-priced inspected Class I milk. The availability of affordable rural electricity combined with equipment innovations quickly brought the era of three-legged stools, open buckets, milk cans and cream separators to a close on the majority of MMPA farms by the mid 1950s. In 1955 MMPA hastened the conversion from milk cans to electrified bulk tanks by offering premiums to members and selling them bulk tanks at wholesale prices. In just a year, more than 600 producers in the Detroit market alone were using bulk deliveries. Rounding out When MMPA reached its 30th year, Michigan milk markets were largely defined. “The largest market was Detroit, which included the downriver area to Wyandotte, north to Pontiac and northeast along the river to Port Huron,” explained former secretary-manager Jack Barnes. “The Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area was considered a separate market as were Flint, Saginaw, Bay City, Midland, Jackson, Lansing, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids and Muskegon.” There was no effective marketing in the Upstate (northern Lower Peninsula) until the 1950s when farmers selling to processors from Manistee to Cheboygan were organized into local MMPA associations.

Finally, a cooperative Glenn Lake, left, pictured with his brothers Clare, right, and Charles, begins his first term as MMPA president in 1955. The North Branch dairy farmer is elected to nine consecutive three-year terms as an at-large representative before retiring from the board in 1981. A Michigan Milk Messenger article reporting his retirement calls him a “statesman, communicator and shaper of opinion and policy.”

When MMPA was formed in 1916, bargaining cooperatives were considered to be in violation of federal antitrust laws. The founders therefore elected to form a member corporation, an organization allowed by law. Cooperative activity was legalized with passage of the Capper-Volstead Act in 1922. MMPA became a full-fledged cooperative in 1946 when its charter was renewed and delegates voted to adopt new bylaws. The change, however, was largely a technicality since MMPA had been a dairy farmer-owned and governed organization from the start.

22 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 23


CHAPTER

3

Leading the way

I

n the years following World War II, change came to practically every aspect of dairy farming and milk marketing in Michigan and across the country. Soldiers, exposed to new ideas and practices while in service, returned to their farms with greater expectations and plans for improvement. The age of the modern dairy farm was rooted in their aspirations. MMPA’s membership soared to more than 17,000 in 1954 before decreasing dramatically over the next two decades. The cooperative, like the entire dairy industry, contracted as families exited the dairying lifestyle.

17,000 Peak MMPA

membership

The farms that remained grew larger and more specialized. The average dairy herd size and milk production per cow climbed. Milk quality changed too as more producers shifted away from uninspected manufacturing grade milk in favor of the premium-priced inspected Class I milk. The availability of affordable rural electricity combined with equipment innovations quickly brought the era of three-legged stools, open buckets, milk cans and cream separators to a close on the majority of MMPA farms by the mid 1950s. In 1955 MMPA hastened the conversion from milk cans to electrified bulk tanks by offering premiums to members and selling them bulk tanks at wholesale prices. In just a year, more than 600 producers in the Detroit market alone were using bulk deliveries. Rounding out When MMPA reached its 30th year, Michigan milk markets were largely defined. “The largest market was Detroit, which included the downriver area to Wyandotte, north to Pontiac and northeast along the river to Port Huron,” explained former secretary-manager Jack Barnes. “The Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area was considered a separate market as were Flint, Saginaw, Bay City, Midland, Jackson, Lansing, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids and Muskegon.” There was no effective marketing in the Upstate (northern Lower Peninsula) until the 1950s when farmers selling to processors from Manistee to Cheboygan were organized into local MMPA associations.

Finally, a cooperative Glenn Lake, left, pictured with his brothers Clare, right, and Charles, begins his first term as MMPA president in 1955. The North Branch dairy farmer is elected to nine consecutive three-year terms as an at-large representative before retiring from the board in 1981. A Michigan Milk Messenger article reporting his retirement calls him a “statesman, communicator and shaper of opinion and policy.”

When MMPA was formed in 1916, bargaining cooperatives were considered to be in violation of federal antitrust laws. The founders therefore elected to form a member corporation, an organization allowed by law. Cooperative activity was legalized with passage of the Capper-Volstead Act in 1922. MMPA became a full-fledged cooperative in 1946 when its charter was renewed and delegates voted to adopt new bylaws. The change, however, was largely a technicality since MMPA had been a dairy farmer-owned and governed organization from the start.

22 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 23


On Aug. 14, 1952, members gather at a local park for a basket picnic and entertainment as part of an open house celebration at MMPA’s Elsie plant.

“MMPA was without any question the pioneer.”

— Jack Barnes, former MMPA general manager

Dairy farmers in the Upper Peninsula first sought affiliation in 1954. Marquette was the first market in the region to join the cooperative. A local formed in Chippewa County in 1956 increased MMPA’s presence there.

A 1958 map details MMPA’s markets and facilities.

In 1954, dairy farmers serving Jackson who had their own cooperative, the Southern Michigan Milk Producers, affiliated with MMPA. In 1967 the leaders of the Kalamazoo Milk Producers Cooperative sought the protection of a larger cooperative. They joined as a cooperative but later became an MMPA local after the co-op dissolved in 1973. The Lansing area, MMPA’s birthplace and home to its first president, proved a tougher nut to crack. No formal marketing plan was in effect in that area until 1959, following a seven-year struggle to establish. “This rounded MMPA out geographically,” Barnes said. Pricing pioneers From the co-op’s earliest days, MMPA leaders blazed new trails in pricing to meet the mission of helping members maximize financial returns on their milk. In 1922, MMPA first came to the forefront in pricing innovation by developing a system where milk was sold on the basis for which it was used. This classification method replaced the “flat prices” milk buyers had previously paid. The co-op led the way again in 1923 with the introduction of an innovative base-excess plan to solve production-consumption imbalances in the Detroit market. Except for government wartime programs, this plan remained largely unchanged until 1951 when federal milk marketing orders (FMMO) were first implemented in Detroit and other Michigan markets. But even the federal plan had MMPA influence because it used the classified pricing system pioneered by the cooperative. MMPA was also the birthplace of a marketing practice known as “super pooling.” When FMMO prices dropped sharply between 1952 and 1954, MMPA leaders devised a system to establish a premium price higher than the FMMO Class I price. Under this system MMPA negotiated over-order pricing on behalf of both its members and those of other Michigan milk marketing cooperatives, thus creating a “super pool” of available milk.

Jack Barnes joins MMPA in 1946 as a fieldman after rising to the rank of captain in the Army during World War II. Reared on a dairy farm near Coldwater in southern Michigan, he is a graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in dairy production. He is promoted to director of field services only a few months after joining MMPA and becomes assistant secretary-manager in 1955. He serves as MMPA’s secretary-manager from 1959 to 1985. 24 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 25


On Aug. 14, 1952, members gather at a local park for a basket picnic and entertainment as part of an open house celebration at MMPA’s Elsie plant.

“MMPA was without any question the pioneer.”

— Jack Barnes, former MMPA general manager

Dairy farmers in the Upper Peninsula first sought affiliation in 1954. Marquette was the first market in the region to join the cooperative. A local formed in Chippewa County in 1956 increased MMPA’s presence there.

A 1958 map details MMPA’s markets and facilities.

In 1954, dairy farmers serving Jackson who had their own cooperative, the Southern Michigan Milk Producers, affiliated with MMPA. In 1967 the leaders of the Kalamazoo Milk Producers Cooperative sought the protection of a larger cooperative. They joined as a cooperative but later became an MMPA local after the co-op dissolved in 1973. The Lansing area, MMPA’s birthplace and home to its first president, proved a tougher nut to crack. No formal marketing plan was in effect in that area until 1959, following a seven-year struggle to establish. “This rounded MMPA out geographically,” Barnes said. Pricing pioneers From the co-op’s earliest days, MMPA leaders blazed new trails in pricing to meet the mission of helping members maximize financial returns on their milk. In 1922, MMPA first came to the forefront in pricing innovation by developing a system where milk was sold on the basis for which it was used. This classification method replaced the “flat prices” milk buyers had previously paid. The co-op led the way again in 1923 with the introduction of an innovative base-excess plan to solve production-consumption imbalances in the Detroit market. Except for government wartime programs, this plan remained largely unchanged until 1951 when federal milk marketing orders (FMMO) were first implemented in Detroit and other Michigan markets. But even the federal plan had MMPA influence because it used the classified pricing system pioneered by the cooperative. MMPA was also the birthplace of a marketing practice known as “super pooling.” When FMMO prices dropped sharply between 1952 and 1954, MMPA leaders devised a system to establish a premium price higher than the FMMO Class I price. Under this system MMPA negotiated over-order pricing on behalf of both its members and those of other Michigan milk marketing cooperatives, thus creating a “super pool” of available milk.

Jack Barnes joins MMPA in 1946 as a fieldman after rising to the rank of captain in the Army during World War II. Reared on a dairy farm near Coldwater in southern Michigan, he is a graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in dairy production. He is promoted to director of field services only a few months after joining MMPA and becomes assistant secretary-manager in 1955. He serves as MMPA’s secretary-manager from 1959 to 1985. 24 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 25


History Notes

The 1957 Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators. Alice and James Schwass, far left, are the oldest recipients of the award present at a 2015 reunion picnic for past winners. Attendees included, front, from left: Alice Schwass, Diane Horning, Gloria Crandall, Patti Jandernoa, Summer Werth, Dianne Cook, Susan Dick, Louisa Westendorp, Jennifer Lewis, Lynda Horning, Lisa Larsen and Betty Kran. Back: James Schwass, Aaron Gasper, Pete Bontekoe, Tony Jandernoa, Jeremy Werth, Tom Cook, Gordon Dick, Al Nichol, Mary Nichol, Doug Westendorp, Bruce Lewis, Ken and Liz Nobis, Jeff Horning, Burke Larsen, Ann and Dave Pyle and Bob Kran.

1950 Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperator program begins Though “Young” wouldn’t be added until later, the first MMPA couple honored for dairy farming excellence and cooperative leadership is Anthony and Mary Kreiner of Brown City. They represent the cooperative at the National Milk Producers Federation annual meeting in Minneapolis.

In 1959, Robin Carr, a MMPA charter member in 1916, ceremonially signs contract number 100,001 — the first in a new series put into use by the association. At left is Field Service Director Lowell Allen and right is District 4 Director Andy Jackson.

In 1957, the first complete year of over-order premiums, $7.2 million was added to the income of Michigan dairy farmers. Cooperatives in other markets quickly adopted over-order pricing based on the MMPA model. “This all seems so simple now, and one could easily say ‘no big deal.’ But it was a high step and was a ‘big deal.’ MMPA was without any question the pioneer,” Barnes said.

1955-56 “Fair Share” days In late 1955 and early 1956, a rogue group called the Fair Share Bargaining Association threatened to divide MMPA. Organizers attempted to recruit MMPA members by claiming to have a strong alliance with labor unions and a deal with the Teamsters Union that would ensure higher milk prices. When that strategy failed to work, the group turned to violence. After becoming MMPA’s president in 1955, Glenn Lake was able to calm concern and rebuild trust in the association.

Delivering a surprise The success of the Michigan Super Pool led to the establishment of the Great Lakes Milk Marketing Federation. MMPA and five milk marketing cooperatives serving dairy farmers in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana agreed to incorporate as a single marketing and bargaining organization. In August 1966, the group announced a schedule of aligned Class I prices. The southern Michigan price was a hefty $1.10 over the federal order price. “Again the milk marketing world was shocked!” Barnes recalled. “MMPA had led the way in area pricing across several markets.” Soon after this action, cooperative participation spread, eventually reaching from the Great Lakes region to the southern tip of Florida. Appropriately, the organization name changed to Great Lakes–Southern Milk Inc. The group continued price coordination until the mid 1980s.

26 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Velmar Green, longtime MMPA treasurer, recalls witnessing this riot scene when “fair share” supporters tried to intimidate loyal co-op members by attacking milk trucks arriving at the Elsie plant. Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 27


History Notes

The 1957 Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators. Alice and James Schwass, far left, are the oldest recipients of the award present at a 2015 reunion picnic for past winners. Attendees included, front, from left: Alice Schwass, Diane Horning, Gloria Crandall, Patti Jandernoa, Summer Werth, Dianne Cook, Susan Dick, Louisa Westendorp, Jennifer Lewis, Lynda Horning, Lisa Larsen and Betty Kran. Back: James Schwass, Aaron Gasper, Pete Bontekoe, Tony Jandernoa, Jeremy Werth, Tom Cook, Gordon Dick, Al Nichol, Mary Nichol, Doug Westendorp, Bruce Lewis, Ken and Liz Nobis, Jeff Horning, Burke Larsen, Ann and Dave Pyle and Bob Kran.

1950 Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperator program begins Though “Young” wouldn’t be added until later, the first MMPA couple honored for dairy farming excellence and cooperative leadership is Anthony and Mary Kreiner of Brown City. They represent the cooperative at the National Milk Producers Federation annual meeting in Minneapolis.

In 1959, Robin Carr, a MMPA charter member in 1916, ceremonially signs contract number 100,001 — the first in a new series put into use by the association. At left is Field Service Director Lowell Allen and right is District 4 Director Andy Jackson.

In 1957, the first complete year of over-order premiums, $7.2 million was added to the income of Michigan dairy farmers. Cooperatives in other markets quickly adopted over-order pricing based on the MMPA model. “This all seems so simple now, and one could easily say ‘no big deal.’ But it was a high step and was a ‘big deal.’ MMPA was without any question the pioneer,” Barnes said.

1955-56 “Fair Share” days In late 1955 and early 1956, a rogue group called the Fair Share Bargaining Association threatened to divide MMPA. Organizers attempted to recruit MMPA members by claiming to have a strong alliance with labor unions and a deal with the Teamsters Union that would ensure higher milk prices. When that strategy failed to work, the group turned to violence. After becoming MMPA’s president in 1955, Glenn Lake was able to calm concern and rebuild trust in the association.

Delivering a surprise The success of the Michigan Super Pool led to the establishment of the Great Lakes Milk Marketing Federation. MMPA and five milk marketing cooperatives serving dairy farmers in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana agreed to incorporate as a single marketing and bargaining organization. In August 1966, the group announced a schedule of aligned Class I prices. The southern Michigan price was a hefty $1.10 over the federal order price. “Again the milk marketing world was shocked!” Barnes recalled. “MMPA had led the way in area pricing across several markets.” Soon after this action, cooperative participation spread, eventually reaching from the Great Lakes region to the southern tip of Florida. Appropriately, the organization name changed to Great Lakes–Southern Milk Inc. The group continued price coordination until the mid 1980s.

26 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Velmar Green, longtime MMPA treasurer, recalls witnessing this riot scene when “fair share” supporters tried to intimidate loyal co-op members by attacking milk trucks arriving at the Elsie plant. Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 27


coincided with the conversion from 10-gallon cans to bulk farm tanks beginning in the mid 1950s. After that, the country receiving stations were no longer needed and closed. Replacing them were pump-over stations where milk was transferred from smaller farm bulk pick-up trucks to larger over-the-road tankers. At the same time, advances in refrigeration accompanied by improved roads allowed milk to move longer distances whether raw or processed. Small dairy processors couldn’t compete and started going out of business. The elements were all in place for dramatic changes in what was considered a market. Processor plants closed and consolidated. Companies like MMPA customers Sealtest and Borden consolidated production into large, centralized facilities and closed their plants in outlying areas.

Moving Milk In the early 1960s, the cooperative’s hauling fleet includes larger tractors and trailers, making it possible to transport milk more efficiently from receiving stations to customers or co-op plants.

MMPA was selling milk to about

175

processors in 1946.

In the early 1960s, chain supermarkets (supplied by large regional processing plants) became major players in milk retailing. Home delivery of milk began phasing out; the quart bottle gave way to the half-gallon container. Over a relatively short time — no more than five or six years — the milkman disappeared. With him went the local nature of markets. It became obvious that there was no longer a system of markets but, in fact, one market.

Jack Barnes, former MMPA general manager, explains how milk moved from farms to consumers in the two decades following World War II. MMPA and its members were selling to about 175 processors in 1946. Yes, this seems high, but there were eight in the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area and five in Pontiac. Plus, there were at least 60 separate processors in Grand Rapids and about the same number in Detroit. Milk was delivered directly to processor plants in the so-called secondary markets, but nearly all the milk for Detroit processors was delivered in cans to MMPA receiving stations scattered across southern Michigan. From the receiving stations, the milk was loaded into over-the-road tankers for shipment to the processing plant. MMPA had established a hauling operation during the Great Depression to move milk from the country stations to market. In the 1950s, changes in processing and distribution of milk as well as in consumer tastes profoundly affected how and where milk moved. The most dramatic change

Milk cans ready to be returned to farms are lined up behind the Ovid receiving station in the 1950s. The last can of MMPA member milk was delivered in early 1967, but most farms had long since made the switch. 28 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

In just a few years’ time, the milkman disappears as consumer shopping habits shifted to large grocery stores.

When members convert to bulk tanks, haulers begin using hoses to move milk from on-farm storage to transport vehicles. Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 29


coincided with the conversion from 10-gallon cans to bulk farm tanks beginning in the mid 1950s. After that, the country receiving stations were no longer needed and closed. Replacing them were pump-over stations where milk was transferred from smaller farm bulk pick-up trucks to larger over-the-road tankers. At the same time, advances in refrigeration accompanied by improved roads allowed milk to move longer distances whether raw or processed. Small dairy processors couldn’t compete and started going out of business. The elements were all in place for dramatic changes in what was considered a market. Processor plants closed and consolidated. Companies like MMPA customers Sealtest and Borden consolidated production into large, centralized facilities and closed their plants in outlying areas.

Moving Milk In the early 1960s, the cooperative’s hauling fleet includes larger tractors and trailers, making it possible to transport milk more efficiently from receiving stations to customers or co-op plants.

MMPA was selling milk to about

175

processors in 1946.

In the early 1960s, chain supermarkets (supplied by large regional processing plants) became major players in milk retailing. Home delivery of milk began phasing out; the quart bottle gave way to the half-gallon container. Over a relatively short time — no more than five or six years — the milkman disappeared. With him went the local nature of markets. It became obvious that there was no longer a system of markets but, in fact, one market.

Jack Barnes, former MMPA general manager, explains how milk moved from farms to consumers in the two decades following World War II. MMPA and its members were selling to about 175 processors in 1946. Yes, this seems high, but there were eight in the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area and five in Pontiac. Plus, there were at least 60 separate processors in Grand Rapids and about the same number in Detroit. Milk was delivered directly to processor plants in the so-called secondary markets, but nearly all the milk for Detroit processors was delivered in cans to MMPA receiving stations scattered across southern Michigan. From the receiving stations, the milk was loaded into over-the-road tankers for shipment to the processing plant. MMPA had established a hauling operation during the Great Depression to move milk from the country stations to market. In the 1950s, changes in processing and distribution of milk as well as in consumer tastes profoundly affected how and where milk moved. The most dramatic change

Milk cans ready to be returned to farms are lined up behind the Ovid receiving station in the 1950s. The last can of MMPA member milk was delivered in early 1967, but most farms had long since made the switch. 28 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

In just a few years’ time, the milkman disappears as consumer shopping habits shifted to large grocery stores.

When members convert to bulk tanks, haulers begin using hoses to move milk from on-farm storage to transport vehicles. Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 29


Ending on a high note MMPA ended the 1950s in record-breaking fashion. Before a record crowd of state delegates at the 1960 MMPA Annual Meeting, General Manager Jack Barnes reported the association had, in 1959, marketed more milk for more money than ever before in its history. In fact, MMPA had achieved new records in practically every field in which it was active, Barnes said. Milk numbers were up 3 percent over the previous year and average dollar returns per member rose 7.5 percent. The positive news continued into the next decade when the Michigan Milk Messenger declared 1962 the “growingest” year in MMPA history. The cooperative marketed 2.75 billion pounds of milk for members, an increase of more than 250 million pounds over the previous year.

A newly constructed office northwest of downtown Detroit becomes MMPA’s new headquarters in 1958.

In 1962, MMPA marketed

2.75 billion pounds of milk, up 250

million

pounds over the previous year.

In 1960, a record annual meeting crowd hears new general manager Jack Barnes deliver good news about the cooperative’s business performance.

A new home In 1958 the cooperative’s main office moved from leased space in downtown Detroit to a newly constructed home near the intersection of Telegraph and Seven Mile roads. The new headquarters, described as “modern yet highly functional quarters,” was the first corporate office building the association owned. Members were invited to visit the new headquarters during an open house held on Dec. 13 and 14, 1958.

30 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 31


Ending on a high note MMPA ended the 1950s in record-breaking fashion. Before a record crowd of state delegates at the 1960 MMPA Annual Meeting, General Manager Jack Barnes reported the association had, in 1959, marketed more milk for more money than ever before in its history. In fact, MMPA had achieved new records in practically every field in which it was active, Barnes said. Milk numbers were up 3 percent over the previous year and average dollar returns per member rose 7.5 percent. The positive news continued into the next decade when the Michigan Milk Messenger declared 1962 the “growingest” year in MMPA history. The cooperative marketed 2.75 billion pounds of milk for members, an increase of more than 250 million pounds over the previous year.

A newly constructed office northwest of downtown Detroit becomes MMPA’s new headquarters in 1958.

In 1962, MMPA marketed

2.75 billion pounds of milk, up 250

million

pounds over the previous year.

In 1960, a record annual meeting crowd hears new general manager Jack Barnes deliver good news about the cooperative’s business performance.

A new home In 1958 the cooperative’s main office moved from leased space in downtown Detroit to a newly constructed home near the intersection of Telegraph and Seven Mile roads. The new headquarters, described as “modern yet highly functional quarters,” was the first corporate office building the association owned. Members were invited to visit the new headquarters during an open house held on Dec. 13 and 14, 1958.

30 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 31


Processing and Manufacturing Milestones

1950–1963

Milk carton line at Dairyland, 1960s

1957

A cottage cheese plant in Ovid is purchased from Sealtest. MMPA becomes a third-party supplier of cottage cheese for a dozen brand names.

1960

MMPA becomes directly involved in milk bottling business by acquiring the assets of the Dairyland Cooperative Creamery.

1961

A small milk processing facility is purchased from Litchfield Dairy Association and merged with Dairyland operation in Carson City.

1961 Scottville plant, 1953

Moving butter at the Ovid plant, about 1965

1962

MMPA’s marketing strength became even more powerful with post-war acquisitions and cooperative mergers that cemented its commitment to milk processing and dairy products manufacturing.

Installing a new evaporator at Imlay City and a butter churn at Ovid increase the co-op’s surplus milk disposal capacity by 600,000 pounds a day.

1952

1963

Elsie Cooperative sells its entire assets, including a dry milk and cream plant, to MMPA’s Detroit market members. The plant is converted to a fluid milk bottling operation and is the cooperative’s first processing facility to operate year round.

MMPA trades the Dairyland operation for a manufacturing plant in Saranac owned by processor Wilson Company. Terms of the agreement include a full-supply contract for MMPA to continue supplying milk to Dairyland. This was the first such agreement between a major Michigan processor and MMPA.

1953

MMPA answers the Michigan governor’s appeal to purchase closing plant in Scottville, preserving market for several hundred farmers. Members selling to the Muskegon, Saginaw, Bay City, Midland, Grand Rapids and Upstate markets help finance the purchase to ensure an outlet for their surplus milk.

Butter packaging line at Elsie, 1956

32 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

East Jordan manufacturing plant is acquired when Jordan Valley Cooperative merges with MMPA.

Crystal Falls in the Upper Peninsula was among the last of MMPA’s receiving stations to convert to bulk hauling. Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 33


Processing and Manufacturing Milestones

1950–1963

Milk carton line at Dairyland, 1960s

1957

A cottage cheese plant in Ovid is purchased from Sealtest. MMPA becomes a third-party supplier of cottage cheese for a dozen brand names.

1960

MMPA becomes directly involved in milk bottling business by acquiring the assets of the Dairyland Cooperative Creamery.

1961

A small milk processing facility is purchased from Litchfield Dairy Association and merged with Dairyland operation in Carson City.

1961 Scottville plant, 1953

Moving butter at the Ovid plant, about 1965

1962

MMPA’s marketing strength became even more powerful with post-war acquisitions and cooperative mergers that cemented its commitment to milk processing and dairy products manufacturing.

Installing a new evaporator at Imlay City and a butter churn at Ovid increase the co-op’s surplus milk disposal capacity by 600,000 pounds a day.

1952

1963

Elsie Cooperative sells its entire assets, including a dry milk and cream plant, to MMPA’s Detroit market members. The plant is converted to a fluid milk bottling operation and is the cooperative’s first processing facility to operate year round.

MMPA trades the Dairyland operation for a manufacturing plant in Saranac owned by processor Wilson Company. Terms of the agreement include a full-supply contract for MMPA to continue supplying milk to Dairyland. This was the first such agreement between a major Michigan processor and MMPA.

1953

MMPA answers the Michigan governor’s appeal to purchase closing plant in Scottville, preserving market for several hundred farmers. Members selling to the Muskegon, Saginaw, Bay City, Midland, Grand Rapids and Upstate markets help finance the purchase to ensure an outlet for their surplus milk.

Butter packaging line at Elsie, 1956

32 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

East Jordan manufacturing plant is acquired when Jordan Valley Cooperative merges with MMPA.

Crystal Falls in the Upper Peninsula was among the last of MMPA’s receiving stations to convert to bulk hauling. Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 33


4

CHAPTER

Signs of the times

T

hough MMPA’s markets encompassed a much larger area, the fortunes of the people of Detroit and the fate of co-op members remained closely intertwined when the 1960s debuted. The Motor City’s population climbed right along with automobile industry sales, causing a housing shortage that sent workers sprawling from the city center in search of homes. Farmland disappeared as new residential neighborhoods sprouted where dairy cows had grazed. The suburbs were born. A similar exodus occurred throughout the state as families looked beyond the city limits for room to grow. Everywhere, the lines between town and country began to blur. Housewives’ shopping habits changed along with their addresses. New kitchens equipped with spacious refrigerators eliminated the need for daily deliveries of milk and other dairy products. Instead, there were weekly grocery-buying trips to large, chain supermarkets that often anchored new retail shopping centers. Grocery lists modified as well. Increasingly, milk was sharing space in the grocery cart with soft drinks and other beverages. Fluid milk consumption began a dramatic decent. As the cooperative approached its 50th year in business, MMPA leaders kept a close watch on consumers because their choices affected the co-op’s future. Adjustments, advocacy and advertising would be key to keeping the company viable for the next half century. MMPA makeover Milk marketing was primarily a function of local associations when MMPA’s operational and governance structure was established in 1916. Things were different by the end of the 1950s. Local markets were fast disappearing and milk marketing was being conducted over large areas. This reality led to a MMPA makeover approved by 1961 annual meeting delegates. Adjustments in the cooperative’s political and operation structure intended to improve marketing and bargaining efficiency included: forming a single operating department for the Lower Peninsula, creating a new department to oversee MMPA’s manufacturing and bottling operations, and replacing local sales committees with a single market committee.

In 1964, Harold and Lillian Gremel of Starward Farms in Sebewaing enjoy a cold glass of milk with their children Walter, Cathy and Marie. The Gremels were MMPA’s 1964 Outstanding Young Dairy Couple.

In 1970, MMPA tractors, trailers and trucks display a new, uniform design that includes the co-op’s logo and a wide blue, black and white stripe running down the sides.

A year later, the Upper Peninsula would also experience a makeover when five dairy cooperatives representing 850 producers voted to form a single, large cooperative and affiliate with MMPA. At its height in 1965, MMPA’s transportation department was operating 53 bulk trucks, 27 tractors and 79 bulk trailers for hauling producer milk. The fleet declined in the 1970s and 1980s when contract hauling became the standard.

34 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 35


4

CHAPTER

Signs of the times

T

hough MMPA’s markets encompassed a much larger area, the fortunes of the people of Detroit and the fate of co-op members remained closely intertwined when the 1960s debuted. The Motor City’s population climbed right along with automobile industry sales, causing a housing shortage that sent workers sprawling from the city center in search of homes. Farmland disappeared as new residential neighborhoods sprouted where dairy cows had grazed. The suburbs were born. A similar exodus occurred throughout the state as families looked beyond the city limits for room to grow. Everywhere, the lines between town and country began to blur. Housewives’ shopping habits changed along with their addresses. New kitchens equipped with spacious refrigerators eliminated the need for daily deliveries of milk and other dairy products. Instead, there were weekly grocery-buying trips to large, chain supermarkets that often anchored new retail shopping centers. Grocery lists modified as well. Increasingly, milk was sharing space in the grocery cart with soft drinks and other beverages. Fluid milk consumption began a dramatic decent. As the cooperative approached its 50th year in business, MMPA leaders kept a close watch on consumers because their choices affected the co-op’s future. Adjustments, advocacy and advertising would be key to keeping the company viable for the next half century. MMPA makeover Milk marketing was primarily a function of local associations when MMPA’s operational and governance structure was established in 1916. Things were different by the end of the 1950s. Local markets were fast disappearing and milk marketing was being conducted over large areas. This reality led to a MMPA makeover approved by 1961 annual meeting delegates. Adjustments in the cooperative’s political and operation structure intended to improve marketing and bargaining efficiency included: forming a single operating department for the Lower Peninsula, creating a new department to oversee MMPA’s manufacturing and bottling operations, and replacing local sales committees with a single market committee.

In 1964, Harold and Lillian Gremel of Starward Farms in Sebewaing enjoy a cold glass of milk with their children Walter, Cathy and Marie. The Gremels were MMPA’s 1964 Outstanding Young Dairy Couple.

In 1970, MMPA tractors, trailers and trucks display a new, uniform design that includes the co-op’s logo and a wide blue, black and white stripe running down the sides.

A year later, the Upper Peninsula would also experience a makeover when five dairy cooperatives representing 850 producers voted to form a single, large cooperative and affiliate with MMPA. At its height in 1965, MMPA’s transportation department was operating 53 bulk trucks, 27 tractors and 79 bulk trailers for hauling producer milk. The fleet declined in the 1970s and 1980s when contract hauling became the standard.

34 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 35


Faster and farther On its 50th anniversary in 1966, MMPA had about half as many members marketing 50 percent more milk than a decade earlier. Production climbed as member farm acres and cow numbers increased and more attention was given to genetics, nutrition and animal health practices.

1

Advocating for dairy From the founding days of the cooperative, MMPA members have understood the importance of having a voice in state and national policy decisions that can impact their industry and individual operations.

2

Glenn Lake, president from 1955 to 1981, was the third MMPA leader elected president of the National Milk Producers Federation, the advocacy group for the country’s dairy cooperatives. When he stepped down after 16 years of service, Lake was the longest-serving president in NMPF’s history. Milo Campbell, a charter member of MMPA, and Nathan Hull, MMPA’s first president, also served in the top office. Combined, MMPA leaders were dairy cooperatives’ top advocate for 31 years. 1. In September 1960, MMPA President Glenn Lake meets with presidential hopeful John F. Kennedy to talk about the candidate’s position on issues important to the dairy industry. 2. A  t the request of president-elect John F. Kennedy, Lake flies to New York City in late 1960 to confer on farm problems and ways to correct them.

3

3. L  ake personally shared the dairyman’s point of view to educate and influence six U.S. presidents as well as countless congressmen and legislators. At a legislative breakfast in the 1960s, he talks policy with fellow Michiganders Sen. Robert Griffin and Rep. Gerald Ford, a future U.S. president. 4. In 1973, Lake appears before a congressional committee in Washington, D.C., to object to “massive importations of lower quality dairy products that threaten to wreck dairy farmer income at a time when dairymen are facing record production costs.” Lester Jones, Interstate Milk Producers Cooperative, joins him.

The receiving station at Bad Axe is one of the last to close in the 1960s.

Thanks to President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s interstate highway project, MMPA bulk transporters could move the increasing volume of milk farther and faster. The 1959 opening of I-75 provided a direct route from Upstate farms to Detroit. I-94, completed in 1960, cut east to west through southern Michigan’s dairy country. Road improvements allowed MMPA to concentrate its milk handling and manufacturing into fewer, more efficient locations. Country receiving stations and smaller processing plants were the casualties of progress.

In 1966, MMPA

The board of directors closed the Elsie plant in 1964 and ceased operations at the Saranac cottage cheese plant and the Rapid River cheese plant in 1965. The Imlay City facility, once a major cog in the association’s surplus milk handling operation, permanently closed in 1972 after being operated on a standby basis from 1964 to 1969.

as many members

The last rural receiving stations, at Litchfield and Bad Axe, were gone by the end of 1966.

decade earlier.

had about 1/2 marketing 50% more milk than a

Turbulent times Much like milk prices, national emotions in the late 1960s ran to the extreme at times. Highlights, such as Neil Armstrong’s stroll on the moon, were overshadowed by race rioting in Detroit’s streets. While some Americans were spreading the “peace” message, others prayed that loved ones fighting in Vietnam were safe. MMPA members were isolated from much of the turbulence, safely watching the day’s events unfold on television. But even distance and a rural surrounding couldn’t protect them or their co-op from an economy on the brink of disaster. In a fall 1969 survey members said they worried about “inflation and the cost-price squeeze.” The majority admitted that, while milk prices were “about right,” they were uneasy over rising costs associated with milk production on the farm.

4

36 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 37


Faster and farther On its 50th anniversary in 1966, MMPA had about half as many members marketing 50 percent more milk than a decade earlier. Production climbed as member farm acres and cow numbers increased and more attention was given to genetics, nutrition and animal health practices.

1

Advocating for dairy From the founding days of the cooperative, MMPA members have understood the importance of having a voice in state and national policy decisions that can impact their industry and individual operations.

2

Glenn Lake, president from 1955 to 1981, was the third MMPA leader elected president of the National Milk Producers Federation, the advocacy group for the country’s dairy cooperatives. When he stepped down after 16 years of service, Lake was the longest-serving president in NMPF’s history. Milo Campbell, a charter member of MMPA, and Nathan Hull, MMPA’s first president, also served in the top office. Combined, MMPA leaders were dairy cooperatives’ top advocate for 31 years. 1. In September 1960, MMPA President Glenn Lake meets with presidential hopeful John F. Kennedy to talk about the candidate’s position on issues important to the dairy industry. 2. A  t the request of president-elect John F. Kennedy, Lake flies to New York City in late 1960 to confer on farm problems and ways to correct them.

3

3. L  ake personally shared the dairyman’s point of view to educate and influence six U.S. presidents as well as countless congressmen and legislators. At a legislative breakfast in the 1960s, he talks policy with fellow Michiganders Sen. Robert Griffin and Rep. Gerald Ford, a future U.S. president. 4. In 1973, Lake appears before a congressional committee in Washington, D.C., to object to “massive importations of lower quality dairy products that threaten to wreck dairy farmer income at a time when dairymen are facing record production costs.” Lester Jones, Interstate Milk Producers Cooperative, joins him.

The receiving station at Bad Axe is one of the last to close in the 1960s.

Thanks to President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s interstate highway project, MMPA bulk transporters could move the increasing volume of milk farther and faster. The 1959 opening of I-75 provided a direct route from Upstate farms to Detroit. I-94, completed in 1960, cut east to west through southern Michigan’s dairy country. Road improvements allowed MMPA to concentrate its milk handling and manufacturing into fewer, more efficient locations. Country receiving stations and smaller processing plants were the casualties of progress.

In 1966, MMPA

The board of directors closed the Elsie plant in 1964 and ceased operations at the Saranac cottage cheese plant and the Rapid River cheese plant in 1965. The Imlay City facility, once a major cog in the association’s surplus milk handling operation, permanently closed in 1972 after being operated on a standby basis from 1964 to 1969.

as many members

The last rural receiving stations, at Litchfield and Bad Axe, were gone by the end of 1966.

decade earlier.

had about 1/2 marketing 50% more milk than a

Turbulent times Much like milk prices, national emotions in the late 1960s ran to the extreme at times. Highlights, such as Neil Armstrong’s stroll on the moon, were overshadowed by race rioting in Detroit’s streets. While some Americans were spreading the “peace” message, others prayed that loved ones fighting in Vietnam were safe. MMPA members were isolated from much of the turbulence, safely watching the day’s events unfold on television. But even distance and a rural surrounding couldn’t protect them or their co-op from an economy on the brink of disaster. In a fall 1969 survey members said they worried about “inflation and the cost-price squeeze.” The majority admitted that, while milk prices were “about right,” they were uneasy over rising costs associated with milk production on the farm.

4

36 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 37


History Notes

Those concerns became reality as the next decade unfolded. Stagflation aggravated by an energy crisis led to a national recession. By 1974, costs of feed, equipment and supplies soared while a flood of imports and low support prices caused milk prices to plummet.

1963

New insurance pays After suffering the loss of his barn and herd of 28 cows, Floyd Jacobs of Manchester has the first claim paid under the association’s new disaster insurance program.

Paring down The need to remain competitive in an industry driven by increased efficiency and economic woes further reduced Michigan’s dairy cooperative numbers. Smaller milk marketing cooperatives merged with MMPA to benefit from its strength. Eventually, 15 Michigan co-ops became a part of MMPA.

1964

In 1969, the 600 members of the Constantine Cooperative Creamery joined MMPA. After operating under a marketing agreement for many years, MMPA acquired the Constantine plant in 1981. The acquisition would figure prominently in the association’s future.

Annual meeting date changes Delegates vote to move the annual meeting from November to March. The first March meeting is in 1966 when MMPA celebrates its 50th anniversary.

1966

Scholarship established MMPA establishes a full tuition scholarship for dairy students attending Michigan State University. In 1971, the cooperative also begins funding two scholarships awarded annually to children of MMPA members attending MSU’s agricultural technology program.

1974

Protesting prices A small group backed by a national consumer organization pickets in front of MMPA’s Detroit offices to protest increases in the retail price of milk.

1974

PBB contaminates feed The Michigan dairy industry, including many MMPA members, reel from the discovery of polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) in purchased feeds. An estimated 18,700 dairy and beef animals are destroyed in connection with the PBB contamination.

1975

MMPA gets tough on residue MMPA’s board of directors adopts a tough policy in response to concern about antibiotic residue in milk.

1976

MMPA joins National Council of Farmer Cooperatives While Americans celebrate the nation’s bicentennial year, MMPA joins the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives to strengthen defenses against attacks on farmer cooperatives in the name of “consumer interest.”

In 1973, Joan Beatty (pictured with husband Ron) breaks the gender barrier by becoming the first female elected as a local delegate. She represents producers from the Imlay City Local.

The truth about the consequences Flagging fluid milk consumption, combined with consumers’ shifting preferences, contributed to a rash of consolidations and closings among Michigan’s dairy processors. As a major milk supplier to many of these companies, MMPA and its dairy farmer-owners suffered the consequences of a shrinking market. Two incidents profoundly affected cooperative operations, recalled John Dilland, MMPA controller during the 1970s.

15

Michigan dairy co-ops merged with MMPA over the years

First was the merger of Twin Pines Dairy and United Dairy (UTP) in the early 1970s. It was a bad business deal quickly made worse by quality control problems. “This dairy was purchasing several million dollars of milk each month from MMPA, and operating losses quickly reduced their milk payments to MMPA,” Dilland said. In an attempt to recoup its losses, MMPA obtained a lien on UTP’s assets and tried to turn around the failing business, but the Detroit processor never recovered. MMPA sustained a significant financial loss, causing members to approve a 10year equity capital retain to restore the cooperative’s equity capital. The fluid milk processing industry’s struggles also created a problem for the McDonald Cooperative Dairy Company. When the cooperative lost its biggest customer in 1979, board members appealed to MMPA for assistance to ensure a market for their 800 members’ milk. A merger was not financially feasible, but MMPA took on the producers and purchased the co-op’s milk. The division struggled for several years until Walt Wosje became MMPA’s general manager in 1985. As part of a business realignment, the new general manager negotiated the sale of the McDonald Division in 1986. With that, MMPA exited the milk bottling business. It was the first of many adjustments Wosje would make to keep MMPA thriving in the 1980s.

1977

Members form political action committee Members establish the Michigan Milk Political Action Committee (MMPAC), giving them a direct connection with elected representatives to promote programs that are important to agriculture and dairy.

38 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 39


History Notes

Those concerns became reality as the next decade unfolded. Stagflation aggravated by an energy crisis led to a national recession. By 1974, costs of feed, equipment and supplies soared while a flood of imports and low support prices caused milk prices to plummet.

1963

New insurance pays After suffering the loss of his barn and herd of 28 cows, Floyd Jacobs of Manchester has the first claim paid under the association’s new disaster insurance program.

Paring down The need to remain competitive in an industry driven by increased efficiency and economic woes further reduced Michigan’s dairy cooperative numbers. Smaller milk marketing cooperatives merged with MMPA to benefit from its strength. Eventually, 15 Michigan co-ops became a part of MMPA.

1964

In 1969, the 600 members of the Constantine Cooperative Creamery joined MMPA. After operating under a marketing agreement for many years, MMPA acquired the Constantine plant in 1981. The acquisition would figure prominently in the association’s future.

Annual meeting date changes Delegates vote to move the annual meeting from November to March. The first March meeting is in 1966 when MMPA celebrates its 50th anniversary.

1966

Scholarship established MMPA establishes a full tuition scholarship for dairy students attending Michigan State University. In 1971, the cooperative also begins funding two scholarships awarded annually to children of MMPA members attending MSU’s agricultural technology program.

1974

Protesting prices A small group backed by a national consumer organization pickets in front of MMPA’s Detroit offices to protest increases in the retail price of milk.

1974

PBB contaminates feed The Michigan dairy industry, including many MMPA members, reel from the discovery of polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) in purchased feeds. An estimated 18,700 dairy and beef animals are destroyed in connection with the PBB contamination.

1975

MMPA gets tough on residue MMPA’s board of directors adopts a tough policy in response to concern about antibiotic residue in milk.

1976

MMPA joins National Council of Farmer Cooperatives While Americans celebrate the nation’s bicentennial year, MMPA joins the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives to strengthen defenses against attacks on farmer cooperatives in the name of “consumer interest.”

In 1973, Joan Beatty (pictured with husband Ron) breaks the gender barrier by becoming the first female elected as a local delegate. She represents producers from the Imlay City Local.

The truth about the consequences Flagging fluid milk consumption, combined with consumers’ shifting preferences, contributed to a rash of consolidations and closings among Michigan’s dairy processors. As a major milk supplier to many of these companies, MMPA and its dairy farmer-owners suffered the consequences of a shrinking market. Two incidents profoundly affected cooperative operations, recalled John Dilland, MMPA controller during the 1970s.

15

Michigan dairy co-ops merged with MMPA over the years

First was the merger of Twin Pines Dairy and United Dairy (UTP) in the early 1970s. It was a bad business deal quickly made worse by quality control problems. “This dairy was purchasing several million dollars of milk each month from MMPA, and operating losses quickly reduced their milk payments to MMPA,” Dilland said. In an attempt to recoup its losses, MMPA obtained a lien on UTP’s assets and tried to turn around the failing business, but the Detroit processor never recovered. MMPA sustained a significant financial loss, causing members to approve a 10year equity capital retain to restore the cooperative’s equity capital. The fluid milk processing industry’s struggles also created a problem for the McDonald Cooperative Dairy Company. When the cooperative lost its biggest customer in 1979, board members appealed to MMPA for assistance to ensure a market for their 800 members’ milk. A merger was not financially feasible, but MMPA took on the producers and purchased the co-op’s milk. The division struggled for several years until Walt Wosje became MMPA’s general manager in 1985. As part of a business realignment, the new general manager negotiated the sale of the McDonald Division in 1986. With that, MMPA exited the milk bottling business. It was the first of many adjustments Wosje would make to keep MMPA thriving in the 1980s.

1977

Members form political action committee Members establish the Michigan Milk Political Action Committee (MMPAC), giving them a direct connection with elected representatives to promote programs that are important to agriculture and dairy.

38 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 39


Milk Messages Until an advertising checkoff program was established in the 1983 farm bill, MMPA created and funded its own advertising and public relations campaigns to boost milk sales and educate consumers about the dairy industry. Beginning in 1939, the association funded extensive advertising campaigns, mostly targeting the Detroit market. A variety of special events complemented traditional advertising to convey “milk messages” to consumers in the 1960s and 1970s.

“A Cow in the Bedroom,” a television commercial created by MMPA’s advertising agency to sell more milk in 1962, becomes a national phenomenon when other milk marketing cooperatives pay to air the commercials in cities across the country.

Muskegon local members promote milk in a big way by hiring Dick Clark, of TV’s “American Bandstand,” to host a mammoth teen dance as part of the Seaway Festival in 1963. More than 2,700 teens rock and roll to records played by Clark.

Guests attending the 1962 New Year’s Eve inaugural ball for Gov. George Romney enjoy milk, ice cream, malts and cheese compliments of MMPA members. Pictured with the governor is, at left, 16-year-old son Mitt who would grow up to become a U.S. presidential candidate.

In 1972, MMPA member Jim McKiernan of Richmond and his nephew Ron are interviewed about dairy cows and milk by Bozo the Clown and Mr. Whoodini, stars of a popular children’s TV program airing in the Detroit market. 40 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Twelve-foot banners add a colorful note to the side of 125 Detroit city buses as part of the June Dairy Month campaign in 1960.

In 1968, MMPA is “thinking big” with a jumbo-sized sign accessorizing an elephant featured in performances of the Shrine Circus in Detroit. Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 41


Milk Messages Until an advertising checkoff program was established in the 1983 farm bill, MMPA created and funded its own advertising and public relations campaigns to boost milk sales and educate consumers about the dairy industry. Beginning in 1939, the association funded extensive advertising campaigns, mostly targeting the Detroit market. A variety of special events complemented traditional advertising to convey “milk messages” to consumers in the 1960s and 1970s.

“A Cow in the Bedroom,” a television commercial created by MMPA’s advertising agency to sell more milk in 1962, becomes a national phenomenon when other milk marketing cooperatives pay to air the commercials in cities across the country.

Muskegon local members promote milk in a big way by hiring Dick Clark, of TV’s “American Bandstand,” to host a mammoth teen dance as part of the Seaway Festival in 1963. More than 2,700 teens rock and roll to records played by Clark.

Guests attending the 1962 New Year’s Eve inaugural ball for Gov. George Romney enjoy milk, ice cream, malts and cheese compliments of MMPA members. Pictured with the governor is, at left, 16-year-old son Mitt who would grow up to become a U.S. presidential candidate.

In 1972, MMPA member Jim McKiernan of Richmond and his nephew Ron are interviewed about dairy cows and milk by Bozo the Clown and Mr. Whoodini, stars of a popular children’s TV program airing in the Detroit market. 40 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Twelve-foot banners add a colorful note to the side of 125 Detroit city buses as part of the June Dairy Month campaign in 1960.

In 1968, MMPA is “thinking big” with a jumbo-sized sign accessorizing an elephant featured in performances of the Shrine Circus in Detroit. Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 41


5

CHAPTER

New directions

B

y 1985, MMPA was, by far, the largest dairy cooperative headquartered in Michigan. Sales of $553 million earned the company a coveted spot on the Fortune 500 (number 438) for the second consecutive year. That year, members marketed 3.3 billion pounds from just 4,000 farms. Tankers moved that milk over long distances to reach a handful of cooperative-owned processing facilities.

4,000

MMPA farms marketed 3.3 billion pounds of milk in 1985

MMPA had formed a Milk Products Division in 1982 to better manage the milk flowing into manufacturing. The division included plants acquired in a merger with the Michigan Producers Dairy Company (Adrian, Sebewaing) as well as Constantine and Ovid. The McDonald Division remained a separate operation. Walt Wosje trained a practiced businessman’s eye on processing facilities when he succeeded Jack Barnes as the co-op’s general manager. Red ink was flowing from the cooperative-owned plants, and he meant to stop it.

MMPA’s 1987 deal with Denver-based Leprino Foods Co. included plans to build the world’s biggest mozzarella cheese manufacturing plant in Allendale. The plant opens in 1989, employing 200 workers who annually process 450 million pounds of milk into cheese.

MMPA headquarters relocate in 1981 to a larger, leased space in Southfield, a Detroit suburb about four miles northeast of the co-op’s Seven Mile Road address. The move accommodates skyrocketing workspace needs after employee numbers swell from about 200 to more than 800 when the McDonald Division is created. At the same time, a search begins for land on which to build a permanent headquarters.

Elwood Kirkpatrick, a Kinde dairy farmer, becomes MMPA president in 1981 and serves until his retirement in 2007. He is also vice president of the National Milk Producers Federation for 20 years. When the U.S. Dairy Export Council forms, he is elected as its first chairman.

42 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 43


5

CHAPTER

New directions

B

y 1985, MMPA was, by far, the largest dairy cooperative headquartered in Michigan. Sales of $553 million earned the company a coveted spot on the Fortune 500 (number 438) for the second consecutive year. That year, members marketed 3.3 billion pounds from just 4,000 farms. Tankers moved that milk over long distances to reach a handful of cooperative-owned processing facilities.

4,000

MMPA farms marketed 3.3 billion pounds of milk in 1985

MMPA had formed a Milk Products Division in 1982 to better manage the milk flowing into manufacturing. The division included plants acquired in a merger with the Michigan Producers Dairy Company (Adrian, Sebewaing) as well as Constantine and Ovid. The McDonald Division remained a separate operation. Walt Wosje trained a practiced businessman’s eye on processing facilities when he succeeded Jack Barnes as the co-op’s general manager. Red ink was flowing from the cooperative-owned plants, and he meant to stop it.

MMPA’s 1987 deal with Denver-based Leprino Foods Co. included plans to build the world’s biggest mozzarella cheese manufacturing plant in Allendale. The plant opens in 1989, employing 200 workers who annually process 450 million pounds of milk into cheese.

MMPA headquarters relocate in 1981 to a larger, leased space in Southfield, a Detroit suburb about four miles northeast of the co-op’s Seven Mile Road address. The move accommodates skyrocketing workspace needs after employee numbers swell from about 200 to more than 800 when the McDonald Division is created. At the same time, a search begins for land on which to build a permanent headquarters.

Elwood Kirkpatrick, a Kinde dairy farmer, becomes MMPA president in 1981 and serves until his retirement in 2007. He is also vice president of the National Milk Producers Federation for 20 years. When the U.S. Dairy Export Council forms, he is elected as its first chairman.

42 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 43


Bold moves Wosje diagnosed MMPA’s problem as inefficiencies caused by decentralized milk processing and manufacturing operations. This was costing members’ money and driving away fluid milk customers. The new general manager wasted no time in setting a course of action to regain MMPA’s strength as a competitive, highly profitable company for its dairy farmer-owners. First, Wosje got MMPA out of the milk bottling business. On Oct. 1, 1986, the McDonald Division was sold to Country Fresh Inc. of Grand Rapids. The move immediately eliminated the considerable losses associated with the fluid milk business. What he did next solidified the manager’s legacy at MMPA. He solved the “Remus problem.” In the early 1980s, MMPA leaders felt it was time to get into the increasingly lucrative Cheddar cheese manufacturing business. The Remus butter plant was purchased in 1983 and converted into a cheese plant. Manufacturing commenced there in October 1984 with considerable fanfare. The plant could process up to 600,000 pounds of milk daily, resulting in an impressive 20 million pounds of cheese a year. There was just one sticking point, Wosje recalled: “There was no plan or provision in place for the marketing of the cheese.”

A masterful consensus builder and mediator, MMPA President Elwood Kirkpatrick was called to Washington numerous times to represent the views of dairy producers. In 1982, he testifies before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry.

Dairy dilemma Milk production in the early and mid 1980s in Michigan and nationally was growing faster than consumer sales. The government was buying substantial volumes of butter and milk powder under the farm bill’s support program.

A large number of visitors attend a 1984 open house to get a glimpse of MMPA’s first cheese-making plant.

The financial performance of the new plant was dismal from the beginning. Wosje and MMPA President Elwood Kirkpatrick had to look beyond Michigan’s borders to find a cure.

In 1983, the Dairy Production Stabilization Act was passed by Congress, which provided a payment to dairy producers for voluntary reduction of milk production. The program is marginally successful in Michigan with about 14 percent of the state’s producers enrolling in the program. To move the existing oversupply of milk, Congress also approved a dairy checkoff program to fund promotion and education projects. Legislation provided for a whole herd buyout program in 1986 to reduce the U.S. dairy herd and rebalance milk production with demand. A total of 846 of Michigan’s dairy producers dispersed their herds. The buyout reduced the volume of milk MMPA had available for manufacturing. The timing wasn’t ideal since negotiations were under way to bring the world’s largest mozzarella manufacturing facility to Michigan. “Even so, MMPA supported those programs in an effort to remove the national excess and to hopefully improve overall milk prices,” former manager John Dilland said.

Walt Wosje grew up on a South Dakota farm, then honed his leadership skills while earning a degree in agriculture from South Dakota State University and serving in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam era. He went on to work for farmer cooperatives after earning a master’s degree. Prior to joining MMPA, he was the general manager of the northern division of MidAmerica Dairymen in St. Paul, Minn.

44 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

A television crew records footage showing some of the first cheese made at MMPA’s Remus plant in 1984.

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 45


Bold moves Wosje diagnosed MMPA’s problem as inefficiencies caused by decentralized milk processing and manufacturing operations. This was costing members’ money and driving away fluid milk customers. The new general manager wasted no time in setting a course of action to regain MMPA’s strength as a competitive, highly profitable company for its dairy farmer-owners. First, Wosje got MMPA out of the milk bottling business. On Oct. 1, 1986, the McDonald Division was sold to Country Fresh Inc. of Grand Rapids. The move immediately eliminated the considerable losses associated with the fluid milk business. What he did next solidified the manager’s legacy at MMPA. He solved the “Remus problem.” In the early 1980s, MMPA leaders felt it was time to get into the increasingly lucrative Cheddar cheese manufacturing business. The Remus butter plant was purchased in 1983 and converted into a cheese plant. Manufacturing commenced there in October 1984 with considerable fanfare. The plant could process up to 600,000 pounds of milk daily, resulting in an impressive 20 million pounds of cheese a year. There was just one sticking point, Wosje recalled: “There was no plan or provision in place for the marketing of the cheese.”

A masterful consensus builder and mediator, MMPA President Elwood Kirkpatrick was called to Washington numerous times to represent the views of dairy producers. In 1982, he testifies before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry.

Dairy dilemma Milk production in the early and mid 1980s in Michigan and nationally was growing faster than consumer sales. The government was buying substantial volumes of butter and milk powder under the farm bill’s support program.

A large number of visitors attend a 1984 open house to get a glimpse of MMPA’s first cheese-making plant.

The financial performance of the new plant was dismal from the beginning. Wosje and MMPA President Elwood Kirkpatrick had to look beyond Michigan’s borders to find a cure.

In 1983, the Dairy Production Stabilization Act was passed by Congress, which provided a payment to dairy producers for voluntary reduction of milk production. The program is marginally successful in Michigan with about 14 percent of the state’s producers enrolling in the program. To move the existing oversupply of milk, Congress also approved a dairy checkoff program to fund promotion and education projects. Legislation provided for a whole herd buyout program in 1986 to reduce the U.S. dairy herd and rebalance milk production with demand. A total of 846 of Michigan’s dairy producers dispersed their herds. The buyout reduced the volume of milk MMPA had available for manufacturing. The timing wasn’t ideal since negotiations were under way to bring the world’s largest mozzarella manufacturing facility to Michigan. “Even so, MMPA supported those programs in an effort to remove the national excess and to hopefully improve overall milk prices,” former manager John Dilland said.

Walt Wosje grew up on a South Dakota farm, then honed his leadership skills while earning a degree in agriculture from South Dakota State University and serving in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam era. He went on to work for farmer cooperatives after earning a master’s degree. Prior to joining MMPA, he was the general manager of the northern division of MidAmerica Dairymen in St. Paul, Minn.

44 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

A television crew records footage showing some of the first cheese made at MMPA’s Remus plant in 1984.

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 45


Pizza equals profit America’s growing love for pizza — and pizza makers’ need for mozzarella cheese to top their pies — provided the answer MMPA needed. On Oct. 1, 1987, MMPA leaders inked a deal with Denver-based Leprino Foods Co., which supplied mozzarella cheese to four of the top pizza chains in the country. The agreement established one of the world’s largest mozzarella cheese plants in Allendale and turned the management and sales of the Remus plant over to Leprino. The deal gave MMPA a 20-year milk supply contract, lease income from the Remus plant and profit sharing from sales of mozzarella made there. The deal resulted in an immediate turnaround in the financial performance of the Remus plant. It also provided an additional long-term outlet for the large volume of MMPA member milk that needed to be manufactured. Construction began on the “ultra-modern” mozzarella cheese plant in Allendale Township in Ottawa County in the spring of 1988. Leprino had never built an entirely new cheese plant before. Their first one would be massive, receiving about two million pounds of milk per day.

450 million Pounds of MMPA

When it opened in 1989, the facility processed 450 million pounds of milk per year into mozzarella cheese. The plant initially employed 200 people. The Leprino partnership was so successful that, in 2005, the mozzarella maker negotiated an early renewal of the initial agreement. Leprino bought out the cooperative’s remaining interest in its assets and extended the milk supply agreement, ensuring a market for MMPA member milk for an additional 24 years. Redirecting milk Committing to supply two million pounds of milk to a new customer had its repercussions, said John Dilland, who succeeded Wosje as manager. MMPA had to adjust its manufacturing portfolio to redirect milk. Subsequently, the butter-powder plant in Sebewaing, which was acquired in a merger with the Michigan Milk Producers Dairy Company in 1982, was shut down. The MPDC plant at Adrian continued to operate for a few years, but was also eventually closed.

In 2005, MMPA negotiated a new 24-year milk supply agreement with Leprino Foods Co.

“These changes caused a significant reduction in employee numbers and the layoff of a lot of good people,” Dilland recalled. “Those were tough days for all of us.” The cumulative effect of the voluntary milk diversion program, the whole-herd buyout program, the sale of McDonald and the closure of the two MPDC facilities brought MMPA employee numbers back to around 200. The employee headcount had been as high as 800 for nearly a decade when the McDonald Division was operational.

milk processed into mozzarella cheese at Allendale plant in 1989

After prolonged negotiations MMPA and Leprino Foods of Denver enter into a long-term partnership that continues in 2016. At the groundbreaking event for the cheese plant in Allendale, Michigan Gov. Jim Blanchard, right, thanks MMPA President Elwood Kirkpatrick for the coop’s economy-boosting efforts. 46 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

MMPA members Richard and Martha Godfrey prepare to fly a flag declaring their family farm’s 150th anniversary. In 1987, the Godfreys received the Sesquicentennial Dairy Farm award presented by the American Dairy Association of Michigan.

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 47


Pizza equals profit America’s growing love for pizza — and pizza makers’ need for mozzarella cheese to top their pies — provided the answer MMPA needed. On Oct. 1, 1987, MMPA leaders inked a deal with Denver-based Leprino Foods Co., which supplied mozzarella cheese to four of the top pizza chains in the country. The agreement established one of the world’s largest mozzarella cheese plants in Allendale and turned the management and sales of the Remus plant over to Leprino. The deal gave MMPA a 20-year milk supply contract, lease income from the Remus plant and profit sharing from sales of mozzarella made there. The deal resulted in an immediate turnaround in the financial performance of the Remus plant. It also provided an additional long-term outlet for the large volume of MMPA member milk that needed to be manufactured. Construction began on the “ultra-modern” mozzarella cheese plant in Allendale Township in Ottawa County in the spring of 1988. Leprino had never built an entirely new cheese plant before. Their first one would be massive, receiving about two million pounds of milk per day.

450 million Pounds of MMPA

When it opened in 1989, the facility processed 450 million pounds of milk per year into mozzarella cheese. The plant initially employed 200 people. The Leprino partnership was so successful that, in 2005, the mozzarella maker negotiated an early renewal of the initial agreement. Leprino bought out the cooperative’s remaining interest in its assets and extended the milk supply agreement, ensuring a market for MMPA member milk for an additional 24 years. Redirecting milk Committing to supply two million pounds of milk to a new customer had its repercussions, said John Dilland, who succeeded Wosje as manager. MMPA had to adjust its manufacturing portfolio to redirect milk. Subsequently, the butter-powder plant in Sebewaing, which was acquired in a merger with the Michigan Milk Producers Dairy Company in 1982, was shut down. The MPDC plant at Adrian continued to operate for a few years, but was also eventually closed.

In 2005, MMPA negotiated a new 24-year milk supply agreement with Leprino Foods Co.

“These changes caused a significant reduction in employee numbers and the layoff of a lot of good people,” Dilland recalled. “Those were tough days for all of us.” The cumulative effect of the voluntary milk diversion program, the whole-herd buyout program, the sale of McDonald and the closure of the two MPDC facilities brought MMPA employee numbers back to around 200. The employee headcount had been as high as 800 for nearly a decade when the McDonald Division was operational.

milk processed into mozzarella cheese at Allendale plant in 1989

After prolonged negotiations MMPA and Leprino Foods of Denver enter into a long-term partnership that continues in 2016. At the groundbreaking event for the cheese plant in Allendale, Michigan Gov. Jim Blanchard, right, thanks MMPA President Elwood Kirkpatrick for the coop’s economy-boosting efforts. 46 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

MMPA members Richard and Martha Godfrey prepare to fly a flag declaring their family farm’s 150th anniversary. In 1987, the Godfreys received the Sesquicentennial Dairy Farm award presented by the American Dairy Association of Michigan.

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 47


More manufacturing, more value MMPA turned an important corner with the Leprino Foods deal. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. Initial concerns about having enough milk to supply the mozzarella plant were unfounded as fluid milk sales continued to decline. Longtime MMPA fluid milk customers shuttered operations, leaving the co-op with a record amount of milk and fewer buyers for it.

“A concentrated effort was made to diversify the manufacturing plants for ‘enhanced value’ production.” — Walt Wosje, former general manager

The Leprino agreement brought manufacturing to the forefront. It was no longer regarded as simply a way to dispose of milk not sold for fluid consumption, but rather a chief profit center. A major portion of MMPA milk began flowing into cooperative-owned facilities.

MMPA members Pete and Pam Bontekoe, along with their children, Doug, Mark, Karen and Carol, are breakfast guests at the White House on March 20, 1984, for Agriculture Day. They dine with the president and First Lady Nancy Reagan, Agriculture Secretary Block and three other farm families.

“A concentrated effort was made to diversify the manufacturing plants for ‘enhanced value’ production,” Wosje said. The diversification led to MMPA becoming a preferred provider of dairy ingredients to brand-name food companies. MMPA became the sole supplier of condensed milk and cream for a national ice cream brand in July 1989. In the first six months alone, the new customer bought more than $3 million of product from MMPA, confirming the cooperative had found another profitable outlet for its products. Other well-known food companies would also become MMPA food ingredient customers. By refining MMPA’s manufacturing capabilities, Wosje achieved what he set out to do for MMPA members in 1985. “These efforts resulted in enhanced margins from the manufacturing plants and provided additional revenue so that MMPA would be a leader in pay prices and year-end earnings,” he said. MMPA’s commitment to manufacturing did not go unnoticed by Michigan’s dairy producers. By the time Wosje retired in 2003, the cooperative was once again “a very attractive market to expanding dairy farmers.” This created a new, yet welcomed, problem for MMPA: a need for greater capacity to handle an increasing volume of milk.

History Notes 1980

Dues change Member dues and capital investment in MMPA begin being based on the gross value of milk sold by each member, rather than a flat rate per hundredweight.

1981

Unique system debuts The world’s first nonfat dry milk delivery system using a bulk transport trailer is introduced at the Ovid plant. A single employee using a new air conveyor system can move 45,000 pounds of milk powder from plant storage hoppers to load a bulk trailer in about three hours.

1982

Members distribute CCC cheese Dairy farmers representing many MMPA local associations volunteer to help distribute free cheese to Michigan’s low-income families. The giveaway is a federal government effort to reduce stockpiles of Commodity Credit Corporation surplus dairy products.

1985

Component pricing begins MMPA moves to a component pricing program for milk payments.

1985

Sales move in-house MMPA employees begin handling sales of the co-op’s dairy products after the marketing cooperative to which it belonged is dissolved.

MMPA’s corporate office moves to a newly constructed building in Novi, a suburb northwest of Detroit, in 1987.

48 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

1988

Quality premium program launches MMPA initiates a quality premium program to improve the overall quality of the milk being shipped and to help producers pay for the cost of producing higherquality milk.

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 49


More manufacturing, more value MMPA turned an important corner with the Leprino Foods deal. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. Initial concerns about having enough milk to supply the mozzarella plant were unfounded as fluid milk sales continued to decline. Longtime MMPA fluid milk customers shuttered operations, leaving the co-op with a record amount of milk and fewer buyers for it.

“A concentrated effort was made to diversify the manufacturing plants for ‘enhanced value’ production.” — Walt Wosje, former general manager

The Leprino agreement brought manufacturing to the forefront. It was no longer regarded as simply a way to dispose of milk not sold for fluid consumption, but rather a chief profit center. A major portion of MMPA milk began flowing into cooperative-owned facilities.

MMPA members Pete and Pam Bontekoe, along with their children, Doug, Mark, Karen and Carol, are breakfast guests at the White House on March 20, 1984, for Agriculture Day. They dine with the president and First Lady Nancy Reagan, Agriculture Secretary Block and three other farm families.

“A concentrated effort was made to diversify the manufacturing plants for ‘enhanced value’ production,” Wosje said. The diversification led to MMPA becoming a preferred provider of dairy ingredients to brand-name food companies. MMPA became the sole supplier of condensed milk and cream for a national ice cream brand in July 1989. In the first six months alone, the new customer bought more than $3 million of product from MMPA, confirming the cooperative had found another profitable outlet for its products. Other well-known food companies would also become MMPA food ingredient customers. By refining MMPA’s manufacturing capabilities, Wosje achieved what he set out to do for MMPA members in 1985. “These efforts resulted in enhanced margins from the manufacturing plants and provided additional revenue so that MMPA would be a leader in pay prices and year-end earnings,” he said. MMPA’s commitment to manufacturing did not go unnoticed by Michigan’s dairy producers. By the time Wosje retired in 2003, the cooperative was once again “a very attractive market to expanding dairy farmers.” This created a new, yet welcomed, problem for MMPA: a need for greater capacity to handle an increasing volume of milk.

History Notes 1980

Dues change Member dues and capital investment in MMPA begin being based on the gross value of milk sold by each member, rather than a flat rate per hundredweight.

1981

Unique system debuts The world’s first nonfat dry milk delivery system using a bulk transport trailer is introduced at the Ovid plant. A single employee using a new air conveyor system can move 45,000 pounds of milk powder from plant storage hoppers to load a bulk trailer in about three hours.

1982

Members distribute CCC cheese Dairy farmers representing many MMPA local associations volunteer to help distribute free cheese to Michigan’s low-income families. The giveaway is a federal government effort to reduce stockpiles of Commodity Credit Corporation surplus dairy products.

1985

Component pricing begins MMPA moves to a component pricing program for milk payments.

1985

Sales move in-house MMPA employees begin handling sales of the co-op’s dairy products after the marketing cooperative to which it belonged is dissolved.

MMPA’s corporate office moves to a newly constructed building in Novi, a suburb northwest of Detroit, in 1987.

48 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

1988

Quality premium program launches MMPA initiates a quality premium program to improve the overall quality of the milk being shipped and to help producers pay for the cost of producing higherquality milk.

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 49


6

CHAPTER

MMPA turns 75

I

t looked as though MMPA’s 75th anniversary in 1991 would be bittersweet. The USDA was predicting a year “characterized by sharply lower prices, continued expansion in milk production and increased commercial sales.” By spring, the predictions played out with the lowest milk prices in 13 years. MMPA President Elwood Kirkpatrick called on members to write their congressmen and President George Bush to urge dairy policy changes. “It is vital that the legislative body know of the crisis at hand,” he wrote in his monthly column. General Manager Walt Wosje was more upbeat by the time members gathered for the annual meeting in 1992. He reported that the cooperative had helped members remain financially stable by paying the highest ever over-order premiums in 1991. MMPA distributed $14 million above the Federal Order price to members. Flagging product sales picked up in the second half of the year to further help the financial situation. “When the dust settled and the sun went down on our fiscal year, we had managed to accumulate earnings of almost $3 million,” he said. A year later, MMPA reported record-breaking profits due largely to the positive impact of its renovated manufacturing plants.

When MMPA celebrates its 75th anniversary in 1991, the William Bamber family of Howell is recognized for 75 years of membership.

75 Years of Membership

When MMPA celebrates its 75th anniversary in 1991, Michigan dairy farmers continue to govern their milk marketing business through strong local associations.

The Gordon Greer family of Augusta is honored in 1991 for maintaining MMPA membership for 75 years.

During its 75th anniversary, MMPA honors Harold Drake of Ann Arbor as having the longest-held membership in the association. He joined the co-op in 1936 when he was milking 14 cows by hand. By 1991, the 55-year member was farming 550 acres where he raised hogs and managed a 65-cow milking herd. “In 55 years I have always gotten my milk check, except for the time it got lost in the mail,” Drake recalled. 50 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 51


6

CHAPTER

MMPA turns 75

I

t looked as though MMPA’s 75th anniversary in 1991 would be bittersweet. The USDA was predicting a year “characterized by sharply lower prices, continued expansion in milk production and increased commercial sales.” By spring, the predictions played out with the lowest milk prices in 13 years. MMPA President Elwood Kirkpatrick called on members to write their congressmen and President George Bush to urge dairy policy changes. “It is vital that the legislative body know of the crisis at hand,” he wrote in his monthly column. General Manager Walt Wosje was more upbeat by the time members gathered for the annual meeting in 1992. He reported that the cooperative had helped members remain financially stable by paying the highest ever over-order premiums in 1991. MMPA distributed $14 million above the Federal Order price to members. Flagging product sales picked up in the second half of the year to further help the financial situation. “When the dust settled and the sun went down on our fiscal year, we had managed to accumulate earnings of almost $3 million,” he said. A year later, MMPA reported record-breaking profits due largely to the positive impact of its renovated manufacturing plants.

When MMPA celebrates its 75th anniversary in 1991, the William Bamber family of Howell is recognized for 75 years of membership.

75 Years of Membership

When MMPA celebrates its 75th anniversary in 1991, Michigan dairy farmers continue to govern their milk marketing business through strong local associations.

The Gordon Greer family of Augusta is honored in 1991 for maintaining MMPA membership for 75 years.

During its 75th anniversary, MMPA honors Harold Drake of Ann Arbor as having the longest-held membership in the association. He joined the co-op in 1936 when he was milking 14 cows by hand. By 1991, the 55-year member was farming 550 acres where he raised hogs and managed a 65-cow milking herd. “In 55 years I have always gotten my milk check, except for the time it got lost in the mail,” Drake recalled. 50 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 51


A family tradition When MMPA celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1991, the Michigan Milk Messenger spotlighted the Traver family. Four generations of the family had hauled milk for dairy farmers in the Williamston area. Here are excerpts from the story. The long line of haulers began with George Traver in 1904. He used a horse and wagon to pick up neighbors’ milk. He was followed by his son, Marc Traver, who carried on the hauling duties for the majority of his life. The 87-year-old recalled experiencing much of the history of milk marketing in Michigan and MMPA’s role in it. Marc took over his father’s route in 1927, hauling in a wagon that held 20 cans of milk, each weighing 10 gallons. “When I started, everybody had one or two cows. The largest farms shipped eight or 10 cans a day, and the average farm shipped two to four cans. My grandson now hauls, in one day, what we used to haul in one month,” he said.

Michigan State Fair attendees line up for a 25-cent, bottomless glass of chocolate milk in 1991.

More than

Expanding markets When more than 1,000 people toured the renovated Ovid plant in November 1992, they saw more than new equipment and upgraded facilities. They also got a glimpse of the cooperative’s future in the form of new products that met changing consumer tastes and a growing global demand for dairy protein. By developing new products and value-added ingredients, MMPA was shifting its manufacturing emphasis to more profitable ingredients. Open house attendees tasted a variety of new products being developed at the plant. Among them was ice cream made from a dried mix.

1,000

About a year later, the “ice cream in a bag” product was ready for consumers. A marketing company, TeaCo. International, was formed to sell the mix in the Pacific Rim and niche markets in the U.S. In February 1994, the first container of dried ice cream shipped out of the Ovid plant. It was bound for China packed with 33,000 pounds of mix.

Ovid plant in 1992

The cooperative was also using its enhanced manufacturing capabilities to make inroads in the domestic foodservice market. Member milk was used to make soups, ice cream and salad dressings for a popular restaurant chain.

people tour renovated

“My grandson now hauls, in one day, what we used to haul in one month.” — Marc Traver

He delivered milk to a condenser in Webberville. “In 1920, I saw the first of many times when MMPA would get the money for producers from plants which had gone broke. In 1920, the association had to take over the loads going into the condenser and route them into Melrose. When the plant defaulted, MMPA collected the money and the farmers didn’t lose any money,” Marc said. In the 1930s Marc delivered farmers’ checks when he picked up their milk. When the banks in Detroit took an unscheduled “holiday,” the milk hauler, who had cashed his own check earlier, floated small loans to those on his route who couldn’t cash their checks. The big change for dairy farming was when farms switched to bulk tanks. “The bulk tank brought all of the modernization of dairy farming together. We had the electricity, the pipelines and pumps. Switching to bulk tanks was just a natural progression,” Marc observed. Marc’s grandson Marc Paul took over operations in 1974. His route included stops at MMPA member farms his grandfather had long served.

In 1991, 87-year-old Marc Traver talks about his family’s legacy as both MMPA members and milk haulers for dairy farmers in the Williamston area.

The Traver family’s commitment to the dairy industry and MMPA extends beyond milk hauling. The family joined the association in 1929, selling milk to the Detroit market. In the 1950s they were known for having an excellent Jersey herd, but lost those cows in a tragic barn fire in 1956. The family’s legacy with MMPA continued through the years. Marc’s son Richard was among MMPA’s first fieldmen. Richard’s son Kirk and his wife Julie were named the cooperative’s 1990 Outstanding Young Dairy Couple.

Improvements made in 1992 at the Ovid plant allow MMPA to develop and market new products to meet changing consumer tastes. 52 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

A 1960s-era photo shows Marc Traver with an unidentified MMPA member during a stop on his milk-hauling route. Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 53


A family tradition When MMPA celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1991, the Michigan Milk Messenger spotlighted the Traver family. Four generations of the family had hauled milk for dairy farmers in the Williamston area. Here are excerpts from the story. The long line of haulers began with George Traver in 1904. He used a horse and wagon to pick up neighbors’ milk. He was followed by his son, Marc Traver, who carried on the hauling duties for the majority of his life. The 87-year-old recalled experiencing much of the history of milk marketing in Michigan and MMPA’s role in it. Marc took over his father’s route in 1927, hauling in a wagon that held 20 cans of milk, each weighing 10 gallons. “When I started, everybody had one or two cows. The largest farms shipped eight or 10 cans a day, and the average farm shipped two to four cans. My grandson now hauls, in one day, what we used to haul in one month,” he said.

Michigan State Fair attendees line up for a 25-cent, bottomless glass of chocolate milk in 1991.

More than

Expanding markets When more than 1,000 people toured the renovated Ovid plant in November 1992, they saw more than new equipment and upgraded facilities. They also got a glimpse of the cooperative’s future in the form of new products that met changing consumer tastes and a growing global demand for dairy protein. By developing new products and value-added ingredients, MMPA was shifting its manufacturing emphasis to more profitable ingredients. Open house attendees tasted a variety of new products being developed at the plant. Among them was ice cream made from a dried mix.

1,000

About a year later, the “ice cream in a bag” product was ready for consumers. A marketing company, TeaCo. International, was formed to sell the mix in the Pacific Rim and niche markets in the U.S. In February 1994, the first container of dried ice cream shipped out of the Ovid plant. It was bound for China packed with 33,000 pounds of mix.

Ovid plant in 1992

The cooperative was also using its enhanced manufacturing capabilities to make inroads in the domestic foodservice market. Member milk was used to make soups, ice cream and salad dressings for a popular restaurant chain.

people tour renovated

“My grandson now hauls, in one day, what we used to haul in one month.” — Marc Traver

He delivered milk to a condenser in Webberville. “In 1920, I saw the first of many times when MMPA would get the money for producers from plants which had gone broke. In 1920, the association had to take over the loads going into the condenser and route them into Melrose. When the plant defaulted, MMPA collected the money and the farmers didn’t lose any money,” Marc said. In the 1930s Marc delivered farmers’ checks when he picked up their milk. When the banks in Detroit took an unscheduled “holiday,” the milk hauler, who had cashed his own check earlier, floated small loans to those on his route who couldn’t cash their checks. The big change for dairy farming was when farms switched to bulk tanks. “The bulk tank brought all of the modernization of dairy farming together. We had the electricity, the pipelines and pumps. Switching to bulk tanks was just a natural progression,” Marc observed. Marc’s grandson Marc Paul took over operations in 1974. His route included stops at MMPA member farms his grandfather had long served.

In 1991, 87-year-old Marc Traver talks about his family’s legacy as both MMPA members and milk haulers for dairy farmers in the Williamston area.

The Traver family’s commitment to the dairy industry and MMPA extends beyond milk hauling. The family joined the association in 1929, selling milk to the Detroit market. In the 1950s they were known for having an excellent Jersey herd, but lost those cows in a tragic barn fire in 1956. The family’s legacy with MMPA continued through the years. Marc’s son Richard was among MMPA’s first fieldmen. Richard’s son Kirk and his wife Julie were named the cooperative’s 1990 Outstanding Young Dairy Couple.

Improvements made in 1992 at the Ovid plant allow MMPA to develop and market new products to meet changing consumer tastes. 52 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

A 1960s-era photo shows Marc Traver with an unidentified MMPA member during a stop on his milk-hauling route. Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 53


History Notes Cars and cows In 1994, an article in the Michigan Milk Messenger observed that “Michigan doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the Midwest.” The state’s dairy farms had restructured decades earlier to larger, highly efficient herds. Most producers in other Midwest states were only beginning to think about similar operations in the mid 1990s. Michigan was the only Midwest state with a herd average equaling the national average. It also had more herds with 200 or more cows than any other Great Lake State. MMPA District 1 board member Remus Rigg is called up from the “farm team” to throw out the first pitch during Dairy Day at the Detroit Tigers game in 1990. Tiger catcher Mike Heath congratulates the Branch County dairy farmer.

How did all this happen? Dairy farmers had the auto industry to thank. High-paying manufacturing jobs in the 1950s and 1960s — mostly building cars —lured low-income producers away from the farm. At the same time, progressive producers had incentive to switch their operations to match the lifestyle of autoworkers. In Michigan, cars and cows proved to be a winning combination. Traveling the superhighway By 1995, dairy farming and cyber technology had found common ground as MMPA personnel and farmers learned how terms such as “online” and ”email” could improve their productivity. Technology changed information dissemination. “…now, with faxes, modems and online services installed in virtually all personal computers, we have an unprecedented amount of information available at our fingertips,” a 1995 Michigan Milk Messenger article noted. Personal computers, which had been on office desks for about a decade, went mobile as MMPA field staff began using laptop computers. Now, the latest test results and other data were easily accessible while visiting member farms. In January 1998, MMPA debuted its site on the World Wide Web. The new site’s biggest benefit to members was immediate access to quality and component testing results. Over the years, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms would be added as communication tools.

1992

Per cow production climbs Michigan cows produce an average 19,262 pounds for the year, an increase of 386 pounds per cow over the previous year.

1993

Residue penalties increase The Pasteurized Milk Ordinance is signed into law, increasing the civil penalties for milk shipments containing drug residues.

1993

Growth hormone approved Bovine somatotropin, first product of biotechnology for animals, is approved by the FDA.

1994

Associations consolidate United Dairy Association and the National Dairy Board merge to make Dairy Management Inc., bringing promotion, research and education for the dairy industry into a single organization to use farmers’ checkoff dollars more efficiently.

Daisy, the name suggested by Mark Campbell of Campbells’ Hillside Dairy in Deckerville, is the winner in a 1992 contest to name the MMPA mascot.

1995

Component pricing begins USDA approves the multiple component pricing (MCP) system for milk orders in Michigan. Members’ milk checks now showed exactly the value of all the components of the milk they marketed through the co-op.

1997

Members receive volume premiums MMPA initiates volume premium payments to members. In 1995, MMPA Member Representative Larry Phinney, far right, explains to the Benjamin family how his new personal laptop computer helps him quickly access herd and farm information. Learning about the new laptop program are, from left, Loretta, Joyce, Bob and Todd Benjamin. 54 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

MMPA member Ken Gasper keeps a close watch on his herd’s health records in the 1990s.

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 55


History Notes Cars and cows In 1994, an article in the Michigan Milk Messenger observed that “Michigan doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the Midwest.” The state’s dairy farms had restructured decades earlier to larger, highly efficient herds. Most producers in other Midwest states were only beginning to think about similar operations in the mid 1990s. Michigan was the only Midwest state with a herd average equaling the national average. It also had more herds with 200 or more cows than any other Great Lake State. MMPA District 1 board member Remus Rigg is called up from the “farm team” to throw out the first pitch during Dairy Day at the Detroit Tigers game in 1990. Tiger catcher Mike Heath congratulates the Branch County dairy farmer.

How did all this happen? Dairy farmers had the auto industry to thank. High-paying manufacturing jobs in the 1950s and 1960s — mostly building cars —lured low-income producers away from the farm. At the same time, progressive producers had incentive to switch their operations to match the lifestyle of autoworkers. In Michigan, cars and cows proved to be a winning combination. Traveling the superhighway By 1995, dairy farming and cyber technology had found common ground as MMPA personnel and farmers learned how terms such as “online” and ”email” could improve their productivity. Technology changed information dissemination. “…now, with faxes, modems and online services installed in virtually all personal computers, we have an unprecedented amount of information available at our fingertips,” a 1995 Michigan Milk Messenger article noted. Personal computers, which had been on office desks for about a decade, went mobile as MMPA field staff began using laptop computers. Now, the latest test results and other data were easily accessible while visiting member farms. In January 1998, MMPA debuted its site on the World Wide Web. The new site’s biggest benefit to members was immediate access to quality and component testing results. Over the years, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms would be added as communication tools.

1992

Per cow production climbs Michigan cows produce an average 19,262 pounds for the year, an increase of 386 pounds per cow over the previous year.

1993

Residue penalties increase The Pasteurized Milk Ordinance is signed into law, increasing the civil penalties for milk shipments containing drug residues.

1993

Growth hormone approved Bovine somatotropin, first product of biotechnology for animals, is approved by the FDA.

1994

Associations consolidate United Dairy Association and the National Dairy Board merge to make Dairy Management Inc., bringing promotion, research and education for the dairy industry into a single organization to use farmers’ checkoff dollars more efficiently.

Daisy, the name suggested by Mark Campbell of Campbells’ Hillside Dairy in Deckerville, is the winner in a 1992 contest to name the MMPA mascot.

1995

Component pricing begins USDA approves the multiple component pricing (MCP) system for milk orders in Michigan. Members’ milk checks now showed exactly the value of all the components of the milk they marketed through the co-op.

1997

Members receive volume premiums MMPA initiates volume premium payments to members. In 1995, MMPA Member Representative Larry Phinney, far right, explains to the Benjamin family how his new personal laptop computer helps him quickly access herd and farm information. Learning about the new laptop program are, from left, Loretta, Joyce, Bob and Todd Benjamin. 54 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

MMPA member Ken Gasper keeps a close watch on his herd’s health records in the 1990s.

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 55


7

CHAPTER

The greatest advantage

A

s the clock struck midnight and a new century dawned, Americans breathed a collective sigh of relief when predictions of chaos due to a computer bug failed to materialize. For Michigan’s dairy farmers, the new millennium began with an old story; erratic milk prices continued to be the norm. But MMPA countered every swing of the pricing pendulum, executing strategic moves aimed at achieving the co-op’s mission of marketing members’ milk to the greatest advantage possible. The day the world changed In 2000, producers nationwide coped with depressed milk prices. Prognosticators expected more of the same in 2001. MMPA’s members again looked to dairy policy to stabilize volatile markets.

#26

MMPA’s ranking by revenue among all U.S. cooperatives in 2014, climbing from #71 in 2001

Just as Congress prepared to vote on a highly anticipated farm bill package containing renewal of the dairy price support program, the events of Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, unfolded. Terrorist attacks on U.S. landmarks claimed the lives of 2,996 people, did $3 trillion in damage and changed the course of history. The attacks reverberated even on Michigan’s dairy farms. In the aftermath of 9-11, farm bill voting — and the needed safety net— was delayed almost a year. Dairy sales declined and dairy product consumption dropped as the U.S. economy weakened. “When times are tight, there is less money for pizza, cheeseburgers and convenience items like single-serve bottles of milk,” President Elwood Kirkpatrick said in his 2002 report to members. “As more of our product consumption is built around meals eaten away from home, we will continue to be more closely tied to the economy, as we witnessed this past year.”

Celebrating 25 years In early 2004, nearly 40 MMPA Dairy Communicators celebrated the program’s 25th anniversary. Elected or appointed by fellow farmers in their local associations, Dairy Communicators conduct dairy promotion activities in their areas. Though farms were fewer, milk production in Michigan was increasing every year and exceeding the national growth rate at the dawn of the new millennium.

Mid-Michigan Local member Carla Wardin uses skills learned in Dairy Communicator workshops to teach children about the origins of milk.

56 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 57


7

CHAPTER

The greatest advantage

A

s the clock struck midnight and a new century dawned, Americans breathed a collective sigh of relief when predictions of chaos due to a computer bug failed to materialize. For Michigan’s dairy farmers, the new millennium began with an old story; erratic milk prices continued to be the norm. But MMPA countered every swing of the pricing pendulum, executing strategic moves aimed at achieving the co-op’s mission of marketing members’ milk to the greatest advantage possible. The day the world changed In 2000, producers nationwide coped with depressed milk prices. Prognosticators expected more of the same in 2001. MMPA’s members again looked to dairy policy to stabilize volatile markets.

#26

MMPA’s ranking by revenue among all U.S. cooperatives in 2014, climbing from #71 in 2001

Just as Congress prepared to vote on a highly anticipated farm bill package containing renewal of the dairy price support program, the events of Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, unfolded. Terrorist attacks on U.S. landmarks claimed the lives of 2,996 people, did $3 trillion in damage and changed the course of history. The attacks reverberated even on Michigan’s dairy farms. In the aftermath of 9-11, farm bill voting — and the needed safety net— was delayed almost a year. Dairy sales declined and dairy product consumption dropped as the U.S. economy weakened. “When times are tight, there is less money for pizza, cheeseburgers and convenience items like single-serve bottles of milk,” President Elwood Kirkpatrick said in his 2002 report to members. “As more of our product consumption is built around meals eaten away from home, we will continue to be more closely tied to the economy, as we witnessed this past year.”

Celebrating 25 years In early 2004, nearly 40 MMPA Dairy Communicators celebrated the program’s 25th anniversary. Elected or appointed by fellow farmers in their local associations, Dairy Communicators conduct dairy promotion activities in their areas. Though farms were fewer, milk production in Michigan was increasing every year and exceeding the national growth rate at the dawn of the new millennium.

Mid-Michigan Local member Carla Wardin uses skills learned in Dairy Communicator workshops to teach children about the origins of milk.

56 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 57


Changing of the guard MMPA experienced changes in the boardroom and in the general manager’s office in the early 2000s.

John Dilland

The first of these transitions occurred in 2003 when Walt Wosje retired after 18 years as MMPA’s general manager. John Dilland, a MMPA employee for nearly 30 years, became the next manager. He had served as director of finance and controller since 1975. Before joining MMPA, Dilland was a credit officer with the St. Paul Bank for Cooperatives responsible for serving the bank’s co-op clients in Michigan. Though his tenure with the cooperative spanned 35 years, Dilland stepped down after only seven years in the top spot. He made good on a promise to work only until his scheduled retirement at age 65 in 2010. Another major leadership change occurred in 2007. Ken Nobis, a MMPA board member since 1992 and vice president for seven years, succeeded Elwood Kirkpatrick as president. The current MMPA president operates a family dairy farm in St. Johns. Like his predecessors, Nobis continues the tradition of representing Michigan dairy producers as a leader of national organizations such as the National Milk Producers Federation.

Ken Nobis

More milk The number of dairy farms in the U.S. dropped by 50 percent between 1992 and 2002. Michigan’s farms mirrored the trend with fewer yet larger operations. Though farms were fewer, milk production in Michigan was increasing every year. It exceeded the national growth rate and the state’s existing processing capacity. Having more milk than manufacturing capacity forced MMPA to seek additional customers. Excess milk had to be shipped to distant markets at a distressed price. In 2003, shipments from the Ovid and Constantine plants went to dairy processors in numerous states outside of Michigan. In 2007, growing international demand for U.S.-produced dairy products provided a new outlet for MMPA members’ milk. The cooperative exported 20 percent of the butter and 10 percent of the nonfat dry milk powder manufactured in the coop’s plants that year. Ultimately, cooperative leaders looked closer to home for the most effective milk marketing solutions. Expanding the capabilities and capacity at the co-op’s two member-owned plants promised the best return on investment.

Upon John Dilland’s retirement in 2010, Clay Galarneau was tapped for the top management spot. The 25-year employee had experience in accounting, sales and plant operations. He was director of manufactured sales and plant operations before becoming general manager. In 2014, Joe Diglio was named general manager by the board of directors after Galarneau resigned. A 23-year employee in the Accounting Department, Diglio became the director of finance and controller when John Dilland was promoted to general manager in 2003. He now leads the cooperative’s 200-plus employee team providing milk marketing services to dairy farmers in the Great Lakes region and operating milk processing facilities in Ovid and Constantine.

Clay Galarneau

Joe Diglio Nearly 500 people tour the newly renovated Ovid processing facility during an open house in 2010. The International Dairy Foods Association named the renovated facility as its 2010 Plant of the Year.

58 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 59


Changing of the guard MMPA experienced changes in the boardroom and in the general manager’s office in the early 2000s.

John Dilland

The first of these transitions occurred in 2003 when Walt Wosje retired after 18 years as MMPA’s general manager. John Dilland, a MMPA employee for nearly 30 years, became the next manager. He had served as director of finance and controller since 1975. Before joining MMPA, Dilland was a credit officer with the St. Paul Bank for Cooperatives responsible for serving the bank’s co-op clients in Michigan. Though his tenure with the cooperative spanned 35 years, Dilland stepped down after only seven years in the top spot. He made good on a promise to work only until his scheduled retirement at age 65 in 2010. Another major leadership change occurred in 2007. Ken Nobis, a MMPA board member since 1992 and vice president for seven years, succeeded Elwood Kirkpatrick as president. The current MMPA president operates a family dairy farm in St. Johns. Like his predecessors, Nobis continues the tradition of representing Michigan dairy producers as a leader of national organizations such as the National Milk Producers Federation.

Ken Nobis

More milk The number of dairy farms in the U.S. dropped by 50 percent between 1992 and 2002. Michigan’s farms mirrored the trend with fewer yet larger operations. Though farms were fewer, milk production in Michigan was increasing every year. It exceeded the national growth rate and the state’s existing processing capacity. Having more milk than manufacturing capacity forced MMPA to seek additional customers. Excess milk had to be shipped to distant markets at a distressed price. In 2003, shipments from the Ovid and Constantine plants went to dairy processors in numerous states outside of Michigan. In 2007, growing international demand for U.S.-produced dairy products provided a new outlet for MMPA members’ milk. The cooperative exported 20 percent of the butter and 10 percent of the nonfat dry milk powder manufactured in the coop’s plants that year. Ultimately, cooperative leaders looked closer to home for the most effective milk marketing solutions. Expanding the capabilities and capacity at the co-op’s two member-owned plants promised the best return on investment.

Upon John Dilland’s retirement in 2010, Clay Galarneau was tapped for the top management spot. The 25-year employee had experience in accounting, sales and plant operations. He was director of manufactured sales and plant operations before becoming general manager. In 2014, Joe Diglio was named general manager by the board of directors after Galarneau resigned. A 23-year employee in the Accounting Department, Diglio became the director of finance and controller when John Dilland was promoted to general manager in 2003. He now leads the cooperative’s 200-plus employee team providing milk marketing services to dairy farmers in the Great Lakes region and operating milk processing facilities in Ovid and Constantine.

Clay Galarneau

Joe Diglio Nearly 500 people tour the newly renovated Ovid processing facility during an open house in 2010. The International Dairy Foods Association named the renovated facility as its 2010 Plant of the Year.

58 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 59


Funneling milk into manufacturing Negotiations to finance a $62 million expansion of the Ovid plant began in the summer of 2008. In August, the lender, Chase Bank, “expressed a sense of urgency to close the documentation as soon as possible,” said John Dilland, MMPA’s general manager at that time. The deal was accelerated and completed just days before the collapse of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, which ignited a global financial wildfire that froze credit and triggered a U.S. recession.

Michigan’s milk supply is increasing

3 4 to

%

annually

In 2012, guests line up at Choates Belly Acres in Jackson County for one of five Breakfast on the Farm events hosted by MMPA member families to connect consumers with farmers. Held in conjunction with MSU Extension and industry businesses, the events attracted between 2,000 and 3,000 people per farm. Also hosting breakfasts in 2012 are Goma Dairy, Marlette; Gingrich Meadows, Leroy; VanDrese Farms, Cornell; and Judge Dairy Farm, Shepherd.

Despite the recession, the Ovid improvements were completed on schedule in 2010. They included a new dryer capable of processing 5,000 pounds of milk per hour into a variety of value-added dairy protein products. The expansion nearly doubled the plant’s capacity and quickly proved its value. Three years after the expansion’s completion, it had already generated a 150 percent return on investment. In 2012, the Constantine plant added new cream storage and handling equipment that allowed the cooperative to more fully use its butter churning capacity. The investment proved to be another case of good timing as U.S. butter consumption reached a 40-year high in 2014. MMPA used a $100,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to install an oxygen-free milk powder packaging system at Ovid in 2013. The cooperative was the first whole milk powder manufacturer in the nation to use the system. To keep pace with Michigan’s milk supply, which is currently increasing 3 to 4 percent annually, the cooperative formed a strategic alliance with Foremost Farms USA in 2014. The two cooperatives jointly invested in reverse osmosis technology installed at MMPA’s Constantine plant. The equipment concentrates three loads of milk into one by removing water and condensing milk solids. This reduces the cost of milk transportation, which helps to maximize returns for MMPA’s dairy farmerowners.

MMPA member Earl Horning explains how a milking machine works to a group of “mommy bloggers,” Michigan mothers who write on topics of nutrition and food for families. Horning’s farm was one stop on a daylong tour to give these women a better understanding of the source of the dairy products they feed their families.

60 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Making policy a priority Though the Michigan Milk Political Action Committee (MMPAC) had been supporting pro-dairy and ag candidates’ campaigns since 1977, its importance became more pronounced in the 2000s as regulatory and federal policy pressures mounted. In 2013, President Ken Nobis urged members to contribute to the MMPAC to “cut through the static” when communicating with lawmakers. “It’s not a matter of if lawmakers will make decisions impacting Michigan dairy farms. It’s a matter of when and which way they’ll vote,” he said. “The MMPAC gives us a seat at the table and gives us a chance to educate legislators about modern dairy operations and build lasting relationships. If we don’t tell our story, someone else will.”

MMPA President Ken Nobis takes Sen. Debbie Stabenow, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, on a tour of his farm. Dairy farmers nationwide were appreciative of the Michigan senator’s persistence in passing the 2014 Farm Bill.

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 61


Funneling milk into manufacturing Negotiations to finance a $62 million expansion of the Ovid plant began in the summer of 2008. In August, the lender, Chase Bank, “expressed a sense of urgency to close the documentation as soon as possible,” said John Dilland, MMPA’s general manager at that time. The deal was accelerated and completed just days before the collapse of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, which ignited a global financial wildfire that froze credit and triggered a U.S. recession.

Michigan’s milk supply is increasing

3 4 to

%

annually

In 2012, guests line up at Choates Belly Acres in Jackson County for one of five Breakfast on the Farm events hosted by MMPA member families to connect consumers with farmers. Held in conjunction with MSU Extension and industry businesses, the events attracted between 2,000 and 3,000 people per farm. Also hosting breakfasts in 2012 are Goma Dairy, Marlette; Gingrich Meadows, Leroy; VanDrese Farms, Cornell; and Judge Dairy Farm, Shepherd.

Despite the recession, the Ovid improvements were completed on schedule in 2010. They included a new dryer capable of processing 5,000 pounds of milk per hour into a variety of value-added dairy protein products. The expansion nearly doubled the plant’s capacity and quickly proved its value. Three years after the expansion’s completion, it had already generated a 150 percent return on investment. In 2012, the Constantine plant added new cream storage and handling equipment that allowed the cooperative to more fully use its butter churning capacity. The investment proved to be another case of good timing as U.S. butter consumption reached a 40-year high in 2014. MMPA used a $100,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to install an oxygen-free milk powder packaging system at Ovid in 2013. The cooperative was the first whole milk powder manufacturer in the nation to use the system. To keep pace with Michigan’s milk supply, which is currently increasing 3 to 4 percent annually, the cooperative formed a strategic alliance with Foremost Farms USA in 2014. The two cooperatives jointly invested in reverse osmosis technology installed at MMPA’s Constantine plant. The equipment concentrates three loads of milk into one by removing water and condensing milk solids. This reduces the cost of milk transportation, which helps to maximize returns for MMPA’s dairy farmerowners.

MMPA member Earl Horning explains how a milking machine works to a group of “mommy bloggers,” Michigan mothers who write on topics of nutrition and food for families. Horning’s farm was one stop on a daylong tour to give these women a better understanding of the source of the dairy products they feed their families.

60 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Making policy a priority Though the Michigan Milk Political Action Committee (MMPAC) had been supporting pro-dairy and ag candidates’ campaigns since 1977, its importance became more pronounced in the 2000s as regulatory and federal policy pressures mounted. In 2013, President Ken Nobis urged members to contribute to the MMPAC to “cut through the static” when communicating with lawmakers. “It’s not a matter of if lawmakers will make decisions impacting Michigan dairy farms. It’s a matter of when and which way they’ll vote,” he said. “The MMPAC gives us a seat at the table and gives us a chance to educate legislators about modern dairy operations and build lasting relationships. If we don’t tell our story, someone else will.”

MMPA President Ken Nobis takes Sen. Debbie Stabenow, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, on a tour of his farm. Dairy farmers nationwide were appreciative of the Michigan senator’s persistence in passing the 2014 Farm Bill.

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 61


Dairy Quality awards this year,” a proud Joe Diglio, MMPA’s general manager, announced in January 2016. “This achievement demonstrates the superior quality of our members’ milk and each farm’s dedication and commitment to excellence.” In 2008, MMPA responded to the wishes of fluid milk consumers and began marketing only hormone-free milk. The step was one of several food quality responses to modern consumers, who were demonstrating greater interest in the origins of their food.

MMPA member Richard Thomas, far left, of Middlebury, Ind., is the “milkman” for the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He presents a cold bottle of milk to winner Dan Wheldon in Victory Circle. Prior to the race, Thomas and his wife appear in local and national TV and radio spots and give media tours to show the link from the farm to the bottle of milk presented to the winner.

During the 4-H Milk Marketing Tour in 2006 held at the cooperative’s headquarters in Novi, students learn more about how milk produced on Michigan farms has value added through marketing.

In 2014, the Platinum National Milk Quality Award was given to six producers in the nation, three of them MMPA members. Gordon Dick of Dick Haven Farm in McBain was one of the winners. Farm team members who contributed to the farm’s milk quality success are, front row from left, Allison Dorman, Jennier Purgil, Lynnae Dick, Rachel Dick and Susan Dick. Standing in back are, from left, Desiree Williams, Carl Fisher, Mark Dick, Dale Dick, David Dick and Gordon Dick.

Investing in dairy’s future Michigan’s two-day 4-H Milk Marketing Tour is the longest-running event of its kind in existence. It allows students to learn more about how milk is marketed and dairy products are manufactured from the milk produced on Michigan farms. MMPA became the primary tour sponsor in 1935, the same year former MMPA general manager Jack Barnes was a teenage participant. Tour highlights 1922: First 4-H Milk Marketing Tour is held 1939: Students are awakened at 2 a.m. to ride MMPA milk truck routes 1947: Participants watch the Detroit Tigers play the New York Yankees 1950: Tour participants appear on a WWJ television program 1961: Largest attendance, 120 4-Hers 1974: Girls join the tour for the first time Committed to quality MMPA members produce some of the highest quality milk in the country.

A century of progress May 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the meeting called by some frustrated Livingston County dairymen who wanted more money for their milk. That day, hundreds of dairy farmers agreed on one simple principle: unifying was the best way to market their milk to the greatest advantage possible. Since then, the Michigan Milk Producers Association has survived and thrived throughout a century characterized by extraordinary progress.

Cooperative members consistently average somatic cell counts of less than 200,000. The average somatic cell count among members in December 2015 reached a record low of 151,000. Producers’ diligence in on-farm practices, reliable testing by cooperative labs and quality-assurance services such as mastitis management and milker training all contribute to a consistently superior milk supply.

From a simple bargaining association with no assets, MMPA has grown to be the nation’s 26th largest agricultural cooperative and the 10th largest dairy cooperative. The cooperative’s dairy farmer-owners care for cows and steward the land on over 1,200 farms spread across Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. Annual sales exceed $1 billion and members market more than 4.4 billion pounds of milk each year.

A collective dedication to quality has resulted in MMPA members routinely capturing the lion’s share of National Dairy Quality Awards presented annually. In 2015, MMPA members collected nearly half — 20 of 41 — of all the awards given in the competition that recognizes the country’s very best producers of milk. Four of the seven producers announced as platinum — the very highest honor — award recipients were MMPA members.

Though science and technology have significantly altered how milk is produced and dairy products are made, MMPA remains unaltered at its very core. Through good times and turbulent times, the cooperative spirit has endured as a testament to what can be achieved through loyalty and commitment.

The co-op’s members turned in another impressive finish in 2016, capturing 12 of the 36 awards presented. This included half of the platinum awards given.

#10

2015 ranking among U.S. dairy cooperatives

In 2016 as in 1916, the belief that dairy producers can be stronger and achieve more by working together remains the solid foundation upon which MMPA stands firm.

“We are the 10th largest dairy cooperative in the United States, yet our members captured half of the platinum awards and over 30 percent of the total National 62 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 63


Dairy Quality awards this year,” a proud Joe Diglio, MMPA’s general manager, announced in January 2016. “This achievement demonstrates the superior quality of our members’ milk and each farm’s dedication and commitment to excellence.” In 2008, MMPA responded to the wishes of fluid milk consumers and began marketing only hormone-free milk. The step was one of several food quality responses to modern consumers, who were demonstrating greater interest in the origins of their food.

MMPA member Richard Thomas, far left, of Middlebury, Ind., is the “milkman” for the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He presents a cold bottle of milk to winner Dan Wheldon in Victory Circle. Prior to the race, Thomas and his wife appear in local and national TV and radio spots and give media tours to show the link from the farm to the bottle of milk presented to the winner.

During the 4-H Milk Marketing Tour in 2006 held at the cooperative’s headquarters in Novi, students learn more about how milk produced on Michigan farms has value added through marketing.

In 2014, the Platinum National Milk Quality Award was given to six producers in the nation, three of them MMPA members. Gordon Dick of Dick Haven Farm in McBain was one of the winners. Farm team members who contributed to the farm’s milk quality success are, front row from left, Allison Dorman, Jennier Purgil, Lynnae Dick, Rachel Dick and Susan Dick. Standing in back are, from left, Desiree Williams, Carl Fisher, Mark Dick, Dale Dick, David Dick and Gordon Dick.

Investing in dairy’s future Michigan’s two-day 4-H Milk Marketing Tour is the longest-running event of its kind in existence. It allows students to learn more about how milk is marketed and dairy products are manufactured from the milk produced on Michigan farms. MMPA became the primary tour sponsor in 1935, the same year former MMPA general manager Jack Barnes was a teenage participant. Tour highlights 1922: First 4-H Milk Marketing Tour is held 1939: Students are awakened at 2 a.m. to ride MMPA milk truck routes 1947: Participants watch the Detroit Tigers play the New York Yankees 1950: Tour participants appear on a WWJ television program 1961: Largest attendance, 120 4-Hers 1974: Girls join the tour for the first time Committed to quality MMPA members produce some of the highest quality milk in the country.

A century of progress May 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the meeting called by some frustrated Livingston County dairymen who wanted more money for their milk. That day, hundreds of dairy farmers agreed on one simple principle: unifying was the best way to market their milk to the greatest advantage possible. Since then, the Michigan Milk Producers Association has survived and thrived throughout a century characterized by extraordinary progress.

Cooperative members consistently average somatic cell counts of less than 200,000. The average somatic cell count among members in December 2015 reached a record low of 151,000. Producers’ diligence in on-farm practices, reliable testing by cooperative labs and quality-assurance services such as mastitis management and milker training all contribute to a consistently superior milk supply.

From a simple bargaining association with no assets, MMPA has grown to be the nation’s 26th largest agricultural cooperative and the 10th largest dairy cooperative. The cooperative’s dairy farmer-owners care for cows and steward the land on over 1,200 farms spread across Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. Annual sales exceed $1 billion and members market more than 4.4 billion pounds of milk each year.

A collective dedication to quality has resulted in MMPA members routinely capturing the lion’s share of National Dairy Quality Awards presented annually. In 2015, MMPA members collected nearly half — 20 of 41 — of all the awards given in the competition that recognizes the country’s very best producers of milk. Four of the seven producers announced as platinum — the very highest honor — award recipients were MMPA members.

Though science and technology have significantly altered how milk is produced and dairy products are made, MMPA remains unaltered at its very core. Through good times and turbulent times, the cooperative spirit has endured as a testament to what can be achieved through loyalty and commitment.

The co-op’s members turned in another impressive finish in 2016, capturing 12 of the 36 awards presented. This included half of the platinum awards given.

#10

2015 ranking among U.S. dairy cooperatives

In 2016 as in 1916, the belief that dairy producers can be stronger and achieve more by working together remains the solid foundation upon which MMPA stands firm.

“We are the 10th largest dairy cooperative in the United States, yet our members captured half of the platinum awards and over 30 percent of the total National 62 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 63


History Notes 2000

TB found in Michigan herds A Michigan dairy herd tests positive for bovine tuberculosis, beginning years of stringent testing, quarantines and strict regulations for dairy farmers.

2002

Milkers train in Spanish MMPA presents its first Milker Training School in Spanish.

2002 In 2010, Deanna Stamp, MMPA’s first and only female director, retires from the board after 24 years of service. She represented District 8.

Districts realign For the first time since 1972, the number of MMPA districts is reduced due to a shift in the location of dairy farms and milk production. District 9 is dissolved, leaving 10 districts. In 2014, MMPA districts were realigned again to the existing eight.

Epilogue Stronger. Together. The changes that have occurred in the dairy industry in the last 100 years are truly phenomenal. I don’t think the people who formed MMPA in 1916 could have imagined the dairy farm or dairy processing facility of today. We have the capability to produce a shelf-stable milk and we’ve incorporated dairy protein in a wide variety of products that didn’t even exist 100 years ago. Cows wear computer chips and might be milked by robots. Whether you reflect on the changes on the farm or on the manufacturing side, the technological advances are astounding. We’ve been to the moon, and we now know for certain it isn’t made of green cheese.

2008

Even with all the developments, though, one aspect of our business hasn’t changed: the need to join together to bargain for a fair milk price for our member-owners. MMPA has never strayed from our founders’ goal “to market our members’ milk to the greatest advantage possible.” This focus has served our members well over the last 100 years and will be the cornerstone of our success in the next 100 years.

2014

As practices changed, MMPA kept pace. Business practices that worked 100 years ago have been tweaked and augmented to meet demands. In 1916, the market for milk was restricted to a close proximity of our farms and plants, but we won’t be successful in 2016 if we don’t look for markets around the globe.

2016

We comply with much stricter quality standards than existed 100 years ago. We have accepted the fact that today’s consumers want to be more connected with the source of their food than was true for past generations. We have become more transparent about the steps in the journey of milk from the cow to the consumer, and we are proud to tell the story.

Governor speaks at annual meeting Gov. Jennifer Granholm addresses delegates at the 92nd Annual Meeting of the MMPA and says the dairy sector is contributing $5 billion to the state’s economy.

Record highs Class III milk prices hit record highs, driving a boom in U.S. milk production. Domestic milk, cheese and butter consumption also reach historic levels.

Concern for community MMPA and The Kroger Co. of Michigan team deliver 12,000 gallons of calciumrich milk to families in Flint, where a lead-contaminated water supply endangered public health.

Gathered at Halbert Dairy Farm in Battle Creek for the June 2015 announcement of MMPA members’ donation of 22,700 gallons of milk to Michigan food banks are, from left, Joe Risdon, Prairie Farms; Mark Halbert, MMPA vice president; Ken Nobis, MMPA president; Philip Knight and Keith Williamson, food bank representatives; and Heather Wing, MMPA member.

64 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

To survive and prosper for 100 years as a business—with the same name as the day it started—indicates a business that began with a solid foundation and has continued to build on that foundation. MMPA’s history includes a litany of successes. I believe we are still adding to that list today because we have built on the past. Each succeeding generation has accepted the responsibility to focus on what is best for the members, and as long as future generations adhere to that goal MMPA will continue to be successful in the years ahead.

Ken Nobis MMPA President

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 65


History Notes 2000

TB found in Michigan herds A Michigan dairy herd tests positive for bovine tuberculosis, beginning years of stringent testing, quarantines and strict regulations for dairy farmers.

2002

Milkers train in Spanish MMPA presents its first Milker Training School in Spanish.

2002 In 2010, Deanna Stamp, MMPA’s first and only female director, retires from the board after 24 years of service. She represented District 8.

Districts realign For the first time since 1972, the number of MMPA districts is reduced due to a shift in the location of dairy farms and milk production. District 9 is dissolved, leaving 10 districts. In 2014, MMPA districts were realigned again to the existing eight.

Epilogue Stronger. Together. The changes that have occurred in the dairy industry in the last 100 years are truly phenomenal. I don’t think the people who formed MMPA in 1916 could have imagined the dairy farm or dairy processing facility of today. We have the capability to produce a shelf-stable milk and we’ve incorporated dairy protein in a wide variety of products that didn’t even exist 100 years ago. Cows wear computer chips and might be milked by robots. Whether you reflect on the changes on the farm or on the manufacturing side, the technological advances are astounding. We’ve been to the moon, and we now know for certain it isn’t made of green cheese.

2008

Even with all the developments, though, one aspect of our business hasn’t changed: the need to join together to bargain for a fair milk price for our member-owners. MMPA has never strayed from our founders’ goal “to market our members’ milk to the greatest advantage possible.” This focus has served our members well over the last 100 years and will be the cornerstone of our success in the next 100 years.

2014

As practices changed, MMPA kept pace. Business practices that worked 100 years ago have been tweaked and augmented to meet demands. In 1916, the market for milk was restricted to a close proximity of our farms and plants, but we won’t be successful in 2016 if we don’t look for markets around the globe.

2016

We comply with much stricter quality standards than existed 100 years ago. We have accepted the fact that today’s consumers want to be more connected with the source of their food than was true for past generations. We have become more transparent about the steps in the journey of milk from the cow to the consumer, and we are proud to tell the story.

Governor speaks at annual meeting Gov. Jennifer Granholm addresses delegates at the 92nd Annual Meeting of the MMPA and says the dairy sector is contributing $5 billion to the state’s economy.

Record highs Class III milk prices hit record highs, driving a boom in U.S. milk production. Domestic milk, cheese and butter consumption also reach historic levels.

Concern for community MMPA and The Kroger Co. of Michigan team deliver 12,000 gallons of calciumrich milk to families in Flint, where a lead-contaminated water supply endangered public health.

Gathered at Halbert Dairy Farm in Battle Creek for the June 2015 announcement of MMPA members’ donation of 22,700 gallons of milk to Michigan food banks are, from left, Joe Risdon, Prairie Farms; Mark Halbert, MMPA vice president; Ken Nobis, MMPA president; Philip Knight and Keith Williamson, food bank representatives; and Heather Wing, MMPA member.

64 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

To survive and prosper for 100 years as a business—with the same name as the day it started—indicates a business that began with a solid foundation and has continued to build on that foundation. MMPA’s history includes a litany of successes. I believe we are still adding to that list today because we have built on the past. Each succeeding generation has accepted the responsibility to focus on what is best for the members, and as long as future generations adhere to that goal MMPA will continue to be successful in the years ahead.

Ken Nobis MMPA President

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 65


Name

Michigan Milk Producers Association Board of Directors

1916 - 2016 Name

Hometown

John Hull Lansing James Keer Brighton J.N. McBride East Lansing A.L. Chandler Lansing M.S. Godfry Howell Silas Munsell Howell A.R. Harrington Howell Milo D. Campbell Coldwater R.C. Reed Howell H.W. Norton Howell J.C. Near Flat Rock M.L. Noon Jackson N.P. Hull Lansing Ray Potts Romeo Cyrus Hunsburger Saginaw Fred Shubell St. Joseph C.S. Bartlett Pontiac F.F. Consaul Mt. Pleasant John C. Ketcham Hastings Charles Evans Belleville M.W. Willard Grand Rapids W.J. Barnard Paw Paw A.M. Eckles Plymouth James Brankenberry Bad Axe W.C. McKinney Davisburg Lyman Harwood Adrian Fred W. Meyer Fair Haven B.F. Beach Howell

Years Served 1916–1917 1916–1917 1916–1917 1916–1918 1916–1918 1916–1918 1916–1919 1916–1922 1916–1923 1916–1929 1916–1932 1916–1934 1916–1936 1916–1937 1917–1918 1917–1918 1917–1919 1917–1919 1917–1919 1918–1919 1918–1921 1919–1923 1919–1923 1919–1929 1919–1929 1919–1940 1921–1952 1923–1941

66 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Name C. R. Watson William J. Thomas Elmer Powers R.L. Taylor Fred G. Beardsley W. H. Hunter Harry Calkins Anthony Huyser Alex R. Solley Oliver M. Wood William Bristow B.F. Clothier I.K. Maystead A.H. Dafoe John Haas Carroll Johnson Ed Hyne Jack Harvey Walter Christenson George Knisel Howard Wilson H.F. Simmons Walter Carven C. D. Parsons Theodore Laursen M.D. Lynch E.J. Pierson Harvey Allen

Hometown

Years Served

Imlay City Grand Rapids Clio Lapeer Oxford Sandusky Fowlerville Caldonia Clarkston Marlette Flat Rock North Branch Osseo Yale Ann Arbor Casnovia Brighton Utica Holton Blissfield Milford Pontiac Mason Fowlerville Marlette Silverwood Goodrich Corunna

1924–1926 1924–1929 1924–1946 1927–1933 1929–1932 1929–1932 1929–1937 1930–1936 1932–1935 1932–1935 1932–1956 1933–1954 1934–1956 1935–1945 1935–1950 1936–1939 1937–1945 1937–1957 1939–1962 1940–1945 1941–1950 1941–1959 1945–1948 1945–1954 1945–1963 1946–1950 1948–1956 1949–1956

Byron Ruhstorfer Ward Eagle Clay Croll John D. Horst Roy Poth Arnold C. Tessin Glenn Lake Cecil Gallagher Andrew Jackson Ernest Girbach Elmer Anderson Douglas Carmichael Fritz Olson George Austin Ernest Miller Gerald Memmer John Weiland Jesse Hoddinott Thad Holmes Harold Blaylock Floyd Dale Dale Fast Bernard Doll Eugene Erskine William Van Frank Ervin Haskell Glenn Hanson Marvin Lott Harold Wood Owen Betz John Gilbert Max Graybiel Frederick Halbert Robert Lamoreaux Velmar Green Mike Renn, Jr. Henry Gleason Arthur Lucas Robert Martus

Hometown

Years Served

Kawkawlin Farmington Britton Akron Brown City Freeland North Branch Traverse City Howell Saline Milan Swartz Creek Greenville Ovid Bad Axe Grass Lake Charlevoix Adrian New Haven Vassar Marlette Albion Dafter Hemlock Montague Lapeer Gregory Mason Marlette Marshall Ithaca Capac Battle Creek Belding Elsie Elkton Three Rivers Coopersville Brown City

1949–1958 1950–1956 1950–1958 1951–1956 1952–1955 953–1958 1954–1980 1955–1957 1955–1964 1955–1985 1956–1958 1956–1962 1956–1964 1956–1969 1956–1970 1957–1960 1957–1961 1957–1967 1957–1973 1957–1979 1958–1964 1959–1965 1959–1976 1959–1976 1962–1969 1962–1972 1964–1966 1964–1983 1964–1986 1965–1969 1965–1983 1966–1971 1969–1982 1969–1983 1969–2011 1970–1983 1971–1973 1971–1980 1972–1975

Name Harold Ward Wilferd Wardin Frank Lipinski Arthur Forbush, Jr. Elwood Kirkpatrick Michael J. Walsh Carl G. Kline Gerald Surbrook Hal C. Benner Wilfred Binder Arthur G. Rice Jerry E. Good Wayne Pennock Joel Chapin Theron Van Rhee Harold Gremel, Jr. Remus Rigg William Bamber Deanna Stamp Harold Cnossen Wayne Bancroft Ken Nobis Richard Kleinhardt James Reid Dan Javor John Kronemeyer Earl Horning Robert Kran Tim Hood Rodney Daniels Eric Frahm Mark Halbert Brent Wilson Leonard Brown Brad Ritter Hank Choate Tony Jandernoa Dave Pyle Corby Werth

Hometown

Years Served

Romeo Hemlock Buckley Gaines Kinde Ubly White Pigeon Rives Junction Clayton Bad Axe Centreville Caledonia Nashville Remus Holland Sebewaing Coldwater Howell Marlette Falmouth Buckley St. Johns Clare Jeddo Hastings Clare Manchester Freesoil Paw Paw Whittemore Frankenmuth Battle Creek Carson City Sandusky Byron Cement City Fowler Zeeland Alpena

1975–1996 1976–1993 1976–2000 1979–1980 1979–2007 1980–1981 1980–1992 1981–1990 1982–1985 1982–1985 1982–1985 1982–1990 1983–1986 1983–1988 1983–2000 1983–2004 1985–2000 1986–1997 1986–2009 1988–2007 1990–2005 1992–present 1993–2006 1996–present 1997–2016 1998–2015 2000–2012 2000–2015 2005–present 2006–present 2006–present 2007–present 2007–2016 2009–present 2011–2014 2012–present 2014–present 2015–present 2015–present

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 67


Name

Michigan Milk Producers Association Board of Directors

1916 - 2016 Name

Hometown

John Hull Lansing James Keer Brighton J.N. McBride East Lansing A.L. Chandler Lansing M.S. Godfry Howell Silas Munsell Howell A.R. Harrington Howell Milo D. Campbell Coldwater R.C. Reed Howell H.W. Norton Howell J.C. Near Flat Rock M.L. Noon Jackson N.P. Hull Lansing Ray Potts Romeo Cyrus Hunsburger Saginaw Fred Shubell St. Joseph C.S. Bartlett Pontiac F.F. Consaul Mt. Pleasant John C. Ketcham Hastings Charles Evans Belleville M.W. Willard Grand Rapids W.J. Barnard Paw Paw A.M. Eckles Plymouth James Brankenberry Bad Axe W.C. McKinney Davisburg Lyman Harwood Adrian Fred W. Meyer Fair Haven B.F. Beach Howell

Years Served 1916–1917 1916–1917 1916–1917 1916–1918 1916–1918 1916–1918 1916–1919 1916–1922 1916–1923 1916–1929 1916–1932 1916–1934 1916–1936 1916–1937 1917–1918 1917–1918 1917–1919 1917–1919 1917–1919 1918–1919 1918–1921 1919–1923 1919–1923 1919–1929 1919–1929 1919–1940 1921–1952 1923–1941

66 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Name C. R. Watson William J. Thomas Elmer Powers R.L. Taylor Fred G. Beardsley W. H. Hunter Harry Calkins Anthony Huyser Alex R. Solley Oliver M. Wood William Bristow B.F. Clothier I.K. Maystead A.H. Dafoe John Haas Carroll Johnson Ed Hyne Jack Harvey Walter Christenson George Knisel Howard Wilson H.F. Simmons Walter Carven C. D. Parsons Theodore Laursen M.D. Lynch E.J. Pierson Harvey Allen

Hometown

Years Served

Imlay City Grand Rapids Clio Lapeer Oxford Sandusky Fowlerville Caldonia Clarkston Marlette Flat Rock North Branch Osseo Yale Ann Arbor Casnovia Brighton Utica Holton Blissfield Milford Pontiac Mason Fowlerville Marlette Silverwood Goodrich Corunna

1924–1926 1924–1929 1924–1946 1927–1933 1929–1932 1929–1932 1929–1937 1930–1936 1932–1935 1932–1935 1932–1956 1933–1954 1934–1956 1935–1945 1935–1950 1936–1939 1937–1945 1937–1957 1939–1962 1940–1945 1941–1950 1941–1959 1945–1948 1945–1954 1945–1963 1946–1950 1948–1956 1949–1956

Byron Ruhstorfer Ward Eagle Clay Croll John D. Horst Roy Poth Arnold C. Tessin Glenn Lake Cecil Gallagher Andrew Jackson Ernest Girbach Elmer Anderson Douglas Carmichael Fritz Olson George Austin Ernest Miller Gerald Memmer John Weiland Jesse Hoddinott Thad Holmes Harold Blaylock Floyd Dale Dale Fast Bernard Doll Eugene Erskine William Van Frank Ervin Haskell Glenn Hanson Marvin Lott Harold Wood Owen Betz John Gilbert Max Graybiel Frederick Halbert Robert Lamoreaux Velmar Green Mike Renn, Jr. Henry Gleason Arthur Lucas Robert Martus

Hometown

Years Served

Kawkawlin Farmington Britton Akron Brown City Freeland North Branch Traverse City Howell Saline Milan Swartz Creek Greenville Ovid Bad Axe Grass Lake Charlevoix Adrian New Haven Vassar Marlette Albion Dafter Hemlock Montague Lapeer Gregory Mason Marlette Marshall Ithaca Capac Battle Creek Belding Elsie Elkton Three Rivers Coopersville Brown City

1949–1958 1950–1956 1950–1958 1951–1956 1952–1955 953–1958 1954–1980 1955–1957 1955–1964 1955–1985 1956–1958 1956–1962 1956–1964 1956–1969 1956–1970 1957–1960 1957–1961 1957–1967 1957–1973 1957–1979 1958–1964 1959–1965 1959–1976 1959–1976 1962–1969 1962–1972 1964–1966 1964–1983 1964–1986 1965–1969 1965–1983 1966–1971 1969–1982 1969–1983 1969–2011 1970–1983 1971–1973 1971–1980 1972–1975

Name Harold Ward Wilferd Wardin Frank Lipinski Arthur Forbush, Jr. Elwood Kirkpatrick Michael J. Walsh Carl G. Kline Gerald Surbrook Hal C. Benner Wilfred Binder Arthur G. Rice Jerry E. Good Wayne Pennock Joel Chapin Theron Van Rhee Harold Gremel, Jr. Remus Rigg William Bamber Deanna Stamp Harold Cnossen Wayne Bancroft Ken Nobis Richard Kleinhardt James Reid Dan Javor John Kronemeyer Earl Horning Robert Kran Tim Hood Rodney Daniels Eric Frahm Mark Halbert Brent Wilson Leonard Brown Brad Ritter Hank Choate Tony Jandernoa Dave Pyle Corby Werth

Hometown

Years Served

Romeo Hemlock Buckley Gaines Kinde Ubly White Pigeon Rives Junction Clayton Bad Axe Centreville Caledonia Nashville Remus Holland Sebewaing Coldwater Howell Marlette Falmouth Buckley St. Johns Clare Jeddo Hastings Clare Manchester Freesoil Paw Paw Whittemore Frankenmuth Battle Creek Carson City Sandusky Byron Cement City Fowler Zeeland Alpena

1975–1996 1976–1993 1976–2000 1979–1980 1979–2007 1980–1981 1980–1992 1981–1990 1982–1985 1982–1985 1982–1985 1982–1990 1983–1986 1983–1988 1983–2000 1983–2004 1985–2000 1986–1997 1986–2009 1988–2007 1990–2005 1992–present 1993–2006 1996–present 1997–2016 1998–2015 2000–2012 2000–2015 2005–present 2006–present 2006–present 2007–present 2007–2016 2009–present 2011–2014 2012–present 2014–present 2015–present 2015–present

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 67


Acknowledgments

Sources

In celebration of achieving 100 years, the member relations department sought to produce a memento for all the people — members, employees and partners of the organization — who make the Michigan Milk Producers Association the outstanding cooperative it is today. We are proud of the ending result: a history book encompassing 100 years of MMPA.

The majority of the photographs and artifacts appearing in this book are from Michigan Milk Producers Association’s archive of photographs, publications and historical items. The primary resource was the Michigan Milk Messenger, MMPA’s member publication published since 1919.

As you can imagine, compiling 100 years of historical information is a big undertaking. It took a strong team to pull a century of information together and develop it into the book before you today. While not every detail of MMPA’s century of existence could be included in the book, we hope the key milestones have been reflected. Hundreds of photos were sifted through and scanned and a multitude of Michigan Milk Messenger articles were reviewed and documented for crucial historical information. In addition to Donna Abernathy and Chip Payne for their excellent work in writing and designing this book, we want to extend a warm thanks to Melissa Hart, with assistance by Lori Hull, for their efforts in pulling the information together, helping identify photos and securing the necessary information during the writing process. Thank you to Nicole Williamson and Emily Helsen for their help in gathering photographs. And finally, we are grateful to three former MMPA general managers — Jack Barnes, Walt Wosje and John Dilland — who wrote historical accounts of their respective periods of leadership at MMPA to help provide the historical framework for the book. The countless hours and hard work of each individual proved invaluable in developing the history book we are proud to share. As our collective history demonstrates, MMPA is and has been Stronger. Together.

The author and researchers wish to especially thank MMPA former managers Jack Barnes, John Dilland and Walt Wosje for sharing their recollections, which provided the framework for much of this book. Additional Sources American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, Inc. Dairy Management Inc. Detroit Public Library Federal Reserve System (www.federalreserve.gov) Ford Motor Company Velmar Green Hoard’s Dairyman Indianapolis Motor Speedway Art Jaeger “Legacy of Leadership: 100 Years of the National Milk Producers Federation” “Milk Pricing in the United States,” Alden C. Manchester and Don P. Blayney Economic Research Service, USDA Michigan Ag Council Michigan State University “Motor City: The Story of Detroit,” Thomas J. Sugrue National Cooperative Bank Co-op 100

Sheila Burkhardt Senior Director of Member and Government Relations

National Milk Producers Federation Ken Nobis “The Evolution of Milk Pricing and Government Intervention in Dairy Markets,”

Eric M. Erba and Andrew M. Novakovic

“The History and Role of Dairy Cooperatives,” Bob Cropp and Truman Graff Allison Stuby Communications Coordinator

United Dairy Industry of Michigan U.S. Census Bureau USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service USDA Rural Development

68 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 69


Acknowledgments

Sources

In celebration of achieving 100 years, the member relations department sought to produce a memento for all the people — members, employees and partners of the organization — who make the Michigan Milk Producers Association the outstanding cooperative it is today. We are proud of the ending result: a history book encompassing 100 years of MMPA.

The majority of the photographs and artifacts appearing in this book are from Michigan Milk Producers Association’s archive of photographs, publications and historical items. The primary resource was the Michigan Milk Messenger, MMPA’s member publication published since 1919.

As you can imagine, compiling 100 years of historical information is a big undertaking. It took a strong team to pull a century of information together and develop it into the book before you today. While not every detail of MMPA’s century of existence could be included in the book, we hope the key milestones have been reflected. Hundreds of photos were sifted through and scanned and a multitude of Michigan Milk Messenger articles were reviewed and documented for crucial historical information. In addition to Donna Abernathy and Chip Payne for their excellent work in writing and designing this book, we want to extend a warm thanks to Melissa Hart, with assistance by Lori Hull, for their efforts in pulling the information together, helping identify photos and securing the necessary information during the writing process. Thank you to Nicole Williamson and Emily Helsen for their help in gathering photographs. And finally, we are grateful to three former MMPA general managers — Jack Barnes, Walt Wosje and John Dilland — who wrote historical accounts of their respective periods of leadership at MMPA to help provide the historical framework for the book. The countless hours and hard work of each individual proved invaluable in developing the history book we are proud to share. As our collective history demonstrates, MMPA is and has been Stronger. Together.

The author and researchers wish to especially thank MMPA former managers Jack Barnes, John Dilland and Walt Wosje for sharing their recollections, which provided the framework for much of this book. Additional Sources American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, Inc. Dairy Management Inc. Detroit Public Library Federal Reserve System (www.federalreserve.gov) Ford Motor Company Velmar Green Hoard’s Dairyman Indianapolis Motor Speedway Art Jaeger “Legacy of Leadership: 100 Years of the National Milk Producers Federation” “Milk Pricing in the United States,” Alden C. Manchester and Don P. Blayney Economic Research Service, USDA Michigan Ag Council Michigan State University “Motor City: The Story of Detroit,” Thomas J. Sugrue National Cooperative Bank Co-op 100

Sheila Burkhardt Senior Director of Member and Government Relations

National Milk Producers Federation Ken Nobis “The Evolution of Milk Pricing and Government Intervention in Dairy Markets,”

Eric M. Erba and Andrew M. Novakovic

“The History and Role of Dairy Cooperatives,” Bob Cropp and Truman Graff Allison Stuby Communications Coordinator

United Dairy Industry of Michigan U.S. Census Bureau USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service USDA Rural Development

68 | Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association

Celebrating 100 Years of Michigan Milk Producers Association | 69


41310 Bridge Street, Novi, MI 48375 >> 248-474-6672 >> mimilk.com

Stronger. Together.  

Celebrating 100 Years of the Michigan Milk Producers Association

Stronger. Together.  

Celebrating 100 Years of the Michigan Milk Producers Association

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