Co-op leaders review solid performance at annual meeting
NEW ULM, Minn. (Mar. 10, 2020) – The dairy farmer-owners of Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) will be receiving their share of nearly $2 million in cash payments, a return on their dairy cooperative investment.
AMPI Chairman of the Board Steve Schlangen, a dairy farmer from Albany, Minn., announced the scheduled payment to the more than 300 dairy farmer-owners who gathered to celebrate AMPI’s 50th annual meeting and review the company’s 2019 performance in February.
The cash payment is a portion of the $15.8 million of 2019 earnings that are a result of the cooperative’s solid performance. Driving revenue of $1.7 billion were the cooperative’s cheese and butter sales.
“Consumers are consistently enjoying more cheese and butter each year,” said Sheryl Meshke, AMPI co-president and CEO. “In fact, total dairy product consumption is at a 56-year high.”
Per capita, Americans now eat an average 39 pounds of cheese per person, with Cheddar representing 11 pounds. AMPI took advantage of the trend with 2019 cheese production surpassing 650 million pounds. Butter production was 120 million pounds.
New in 2019, the co-op launched the Dinner Bell Creamery brand and accompanying Co-op Crafted promise to more boldly tell AMPI’s farmer-owned story.
“We are Co-op Crafted,” Schlangen said. “This is our competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace. We are a co-op of dairy farmers crafting quality dairy products.”
A commitment to quality has positioned AMPI as a premier manufacturer of cheese, he added. The makers of AMPI cheese, butter and powdered dairy products are recognized among the industry’s best at national and international contests, tallying 21 top-three finishes in 2019. More recently, AMPI cheese and buttermakers brought home nine medals from the World Championship Cheese Contest.
Demand for AMPI dairy products, improved dairy product market prices and renewed international trade agreements supported milk prices through the second half of 2019, said AMPI Co-President and CEO Donn DeVelder. “AMPI members can be proud of the investments their co-op has made in manufacturing to respond to products with growing demand,” DeVelder said.
AMPI is headquartered in New Ulm, Minn., and owned by dairy farm families from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. The cooperative’s award-winning cheese, butter and powdered dairy products are marketed to foodservice, retail and food ingredient customers.