Staying focused on maximizing members’ returns helped Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) achieve positive results in 2011. Leaders announced Monday the dairy marketing cooperative owned by 3,000 Upper Midwest dairy farmers achieved sales of $2-billion last year.
Though weak milk volume challenged all dairy manufacturers in the region last year, the cooperative’s diversified manufacturing network increased returns in key areas.
“Our cheese-packaging plant in Portage, Wis., and the New Ulm, Minn., butter plant contributed stellar returns to the bottom line,” AMPI President and CEO Ed Welch told some 400 delegates and guests gathered for the co-op’s annual meeting at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, Bloomington, Minn.
The 2011 performance marks the fifth consecutive year of growth in both consumer-packaged butter and cheese. The cooperative’s butter business increased 22 percent and packaged cheese sales climbed 43 percent in five years.
Following a performance review, AMPI Chairman of the Board Steve Schlangen focused on the future, talking about the cooperative’s advocacy related to the 2012 Farm Bill. “We want legislation that includes growth management to reduce market volatility and supports America’s dairy farm families, not just milk volume,” he said.
The annual meeting culminates today (Tuesday) with delegates considering resolutions and reviewing the cooperative’s legislative priorities.