Dairy farmer-owners review cooperative performance at annual meeting
NEW ULM, Minn. (March 28, 2017) — Growing demand for AMPI cheese contributed to pre-tax earnings of $9 million for Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) in 2016. The annual business meeting of the cooperative owned by 2,100 Upper Midwest dairy farmers concludes tomorrow at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bloomington, Minn.
“Natural and processed cheese production reached 645 million pounds in 2016, allowing AMPI to meet increasing demand for AMPI-made products,” Donn DeVelder, AMPI co-president and CEO, told some 300 annual meeting attendees. “Cheese accounted for nearly 60 percent of the cooperative’s sales last year.”
Foodservice sector sales pushed the cooperative’s consumer-packaged cheese plant to record production during the year. The processed and shredded cheese business climbed 8 percent.
AMPI-made cheese was named the industry’s best in three prestigious contests. Among the awards were dual championships in the Cheddar and Italian categories of the National Milk Producers Federation Championship Cheese Contest, marking the first time both divisions were won by a single cooperative in the same year.
“Making award-worthy cheese is the daily standard at AMPI, but this recognition confirms our products are second to none,” said Sheryl Meshke, co-president and CEO.
AMPI Chairman of the Board Steve Schlangen, a dairy farmer from Albany, Minn., offered details about the strategic business plan that maps out the largest overall growth in internal processing capacity in AMPI’s history.
“This plan is dedicated to achieving smart growth, balancing consumer demand with manufacturing capabilities and milk produced on AMPI member farms,” Schlangen told fellow cooperative owners. “The result will be a more productive AMPI — yielding a higher return on our cooperative investment.”
The annual meeting culminates with delegates considering resolutions and reviewing the cooperative’s legislative priorities for the coming year.
AMPI is headquartered in New Ulm, Minn., and owned by dairy farm families from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. AMPI members marketed 5.5 billion pounds of milk, resulting in $1.6 billion in sales for the cooperative in 2016.
AMPI owns 10 Midwest-based manufacturing plants where 10 percent of the nation’s American-type cheese, butter, dried whey and sliced American cheese is produced. The cooperative’s award-winning cheese, butter and powdered dairy products are marketed to foodservice, retail and food ingredient customers.