October 7th, 2020The FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative board of directors made the tough decision to move it’s district member meetings from 17 in-person meetings throughout its seven state membership region to a single-day virtual format due to concerns and uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual meeting will be on Wednesday, December 2, 2020.
September 30th, 2020Thanks to FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative’s disaster benefit program, cooperative members facing milk income loss on their dairy operations were able to receive some financial coverage from their loss through the cooperative’s program. Three FarmFirst members were directly impacted by the derecho on August 11 in Benton County, Iowa and in total received more than $40,000 for various damages negatively impacting their milk income.
September 24th, 2020FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative is seeking nominations from interested members to serve in various leadership roles, including serving as a delegate, a member of the Districting and Resolutions Committee and on the Board of Directors. The deadline is quickly approaching as nominations will be accepted until October 1st. Members can submit nominations on the FarmFirst website (www.FarmFirstDairyCooperative.com) or by contacting the FarmFirst office (608-244-3373).
July 13th, 2020Jeff Thompson recently joined the management team at FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative as the Director of Accounting and Finance. Jeff began his duties on March 30. He previously worked for AgSource Cooperative and Cooperative Resources International (CRI).
July 8th, 2020FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative is proud to award $21,000 in scholarships to 27 deserving individuals for this year. Since 2013, FarmFirst has been generously providing scholarships to 192 individuals, awarding more than $166,000 throughout the past eight years.
July 1st, 2020FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative recognizes the forward progress the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) continues to make as the agreement officially enters into force today. However, FarmFirst also recognizes the need for steadfast attention to details so the agreement is fully implemented as written.
May 27th, 2020FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative applauds the introduction of the Food Supply Protection Act by Senator Stabenow (D-MI) and her efforts to bridge the gap between the food that America’s farmers produce to those desperately in need of it at their dinner table during this global pandemic.
May 19th, 2020FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative commends the Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and the USDA on their direct payment plan under the $16 billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) for U.S. producers, which is open for sign-ups at Farm Service Agencies (FSA) beginning on May 26th.
May 8th, 2020FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative approves of the latest pledge from USDA to buy $317 million in dairy products as part of its Farmers to Families Food Box Program.
Latest Disaster Package Provides Much Needed Relief for Farmers, FarmFirst Urges Distribution of Funds As Quickly As Possible
April 17th, 2020FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative approves of the $19 billion-dollar agriculture disaster assistance package released today, providing much needed financial support to U.S. dairy farmers.
“Every day, dairy farmers have continued to get up and do their job to their best ability, day in and day out, producing a wholesome, nutritious product for consumers across the world,” says John Rettler, dairy farmer from Neosho, Wis. and President of FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative. “And every day, dairy farmers have wondered how much further the markets will drop and how much more their bottom line can erode after already making it through the past five years of challenging markets.”
April 7th, 2020FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative commends the teamwork approach by two leading dairy organizations, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), for their proposal to national leaders on how best to support the dairy industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.
April 3rd, 2020FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative joined with other Midwest dairy cooperatives to send a letter to Secretary Sonny Perdue on April 1, urging him to exercise all of his previously existing and new authorities to provide additional means of support for U.S. dairy farmers.
FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative Approves of Latest CARES Legislation to Combat the Impacts of Coronavirus
March 27th, 2020“These are unprecedented times for everyone, calling for unprecedented support from our nation’s leaders,” says John Rettler, dairy farmer from Neosho, Wis. and president of FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative. “We extend our appreciation to our Congressional leaders and the President for quickly passing this massive bill to begin overcoming the negative economic impact of this coronavirus pandemic.”
March 25th, 2020FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative commends our Congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle for working together as they draft a bipartisan package to provide relief to all Americans during the coronavirus pandemic. FarmFirst would also like to extend its gratitude to those dedicated to keeping dairy’s supply chain going – processing plants, milk haulers, and especially dairy farmers – working through these uncertain times.
March 24th, 2020FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative urges Congress to explore every option available to provide financial and legislative support to dairy farmers during the coronavirus pandemic.
March 9th, 2020FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative scholarships for 2020 are once again available to membership youth pursuing a post-secondary education. The scholarship application deadline is March 31, 2020.
February 18th, 2020The board of directors consists of dairy farmers, one from each of the nine districts.
February 18th, 2020FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative members and delegates gathered on February 14-15 to learn more about hot industry topics, approve new public policy for 2020 and look back on the cooperative’s accomplishments during the past year at its eighth annual meeting in Oshkosh, Wis.
January 29th, 2020FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative welcomes dairy farmers to attend the cooperative’s Producer Discovery Workshop series as part of its 2020 Annual Meeting taking place on Friday, February 14, 2020 at the Premier Best Western Hotel & Convention Center in Oshkosh, Wis.
January 29th, 2020FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative is calling on Congress to pass the DAIRY PRIDE Act soon and make providing clarity to consumers in the dairy case a priority. “Today’s consumers are inundated with ads and sales pitches, especially when it comes to purchasing products that support a healthy lifestyle and provide quality nutrition. Imitators of real dairy products are no exception to portraying themselves in this light, although they pale in comparison to the nutrition package and overall taste profile that real dairy provides,” says John Rettler, dairy farmer from Neosho, Wis. and president of FarmFirst.
January 29th, 2020FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative applauds the signing of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) by President Trump today.
January 16th, 2020FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative applauds today’s landslide passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement with the ending vote of 89 to 10.
January 7th, 2020FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative appreciates U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin announcing her support today for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and encourages other Senators from the Upper Midwest to support passage when it comes to a vote.
December 20th, 2019FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative applauds the House and Senate for passing a final Fiscal Year 2020 appropriation bill package that shows support for dairy farmers entering the new year.
December 19th, 2019“This trade agreement is important for U.S. trade, most particularly dairy. It is no secret that this trade agreement addressed several trade issues that have been concerning for U.S. dairy farmers, most notably the class 7 pricing issue and limited market access. Today’s passage of the USMCA in the House is a great step forward for all three countries,” says John Rettler, dairy farmer from Neosho, Wis. and president of FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative. “It is great to share some good news for dairy farmers.”
December 19th, 2019FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative is launching a new leadership program, ‘FarmFirst Future Dairy Leaders’ focused on enhancing members’ leadership skills and their understanding of cooperative business practices. Open to all members, this new program compliments FarmFirst’s Young Cooperator program which develops future cooperative leaders through educational, social and leadership events.
December 10th, 2019FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative applauds the agreement reached on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. FarmFirst urges lawmakers to work diligently on legislation that will lead to its passage yet this year.
December 2nd, 2019A few deadlines are fast approaching for dairy farmers, and FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative would like to remind farmers to take the time to visit the FSA office to not miss out on a payment that may be waiting for them.
October 14th, 2019Now is the time for members of FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative to begin making reservations to attend a fall district meeting near them. Kicking off this November, sixteen different meetings will be taking place across the cooperative’s seven-state membership.
September 19th, 2019FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative applauds the announcement made today by USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey, extending the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) sign-up period by an extra week, to September 27.
August 12th, 2019Nominations are now open for several leadership positions within FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative including serving as a delegate, a member of the Districting and Resolutions Committee and on the Board of Directors.
July 25th, 2019FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative approves of the improvements made to the latest trade mitigation package for farmers as details were shared today regarding sign-up and distribution of the funds.
June 20th, 2019FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative commends Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and the USDA for easing the cover crop harvest rules, providing greater flexibility to farmers in light of the unprecedented flooding and excessive rain experienced this spring.
June 13th, 2019Just days away from the program sign-up, FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative applauds the update made to the Dairy Margin Coverage program calculation reflecting a more accurate hay price by including 50% to blend premium and supreme alfalfa hay with the alfalfa hay price previously used in the margin calculation.
June 10th, 2019FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative endorses the newly-introduced Feed Emergency Enhancement During Disasters Act known as the FEEDD Act. Cosponsored by Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) and Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD), the FEEDD Act will give farmers and ranchers additional emergency flexibility to help alleviate feed concerns as well as promote conservation in years of excessive moisture, flooding and drought.
June 4th, 2019Eleven FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative members from Wisconsin, Iowa and South Dakota will be receiving a disaster claim payment for milk loss as a result of blocked roadways due to snow, barn collapse due to heavy snow and a barn fire. This wave of payments totals more than $21,000 bringing the grand total for disaster payments during 2019 to more than $45,000 for 44 cooperative members.
May 30th, 2019$18,000 awarded in 2019 and more than $145,000 awarded to member’s children to pursue higher education the last seven years
May 24th, 2019We encourage the USDA to use the resources available to them to provide meaningful support for U.S. dairy farmers as they continue to negotiate trade agreements that we hope will ultimately provide greater trade opportunities for U.S. dairy products.
May 17th, 2019FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative applauds the end of Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Mexico and Canada. We are eager to see Mexico respond by dropping their tariffs on U.S. dairy products and restore trade with our number one export market.
May 16th, 2019FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative participated in a roundtable discussion with Vice President Mike Pence during his visit at J&D Manufacturing in Eau Claire, Wis. on May 16. With a focus on trade, FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative board member and dairy farmer Wayne Gajewski, Athens, Wis. expressed the need to pass the U.S. Mexico Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) during this discussion.
May 2nd, 2019Thirty-three FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative members in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin will be receiving a disaster claim payment for milk loss as a result of the snowstorm that swept through the Upper Midwest February 23-24.
April 23rd, 2019Norbert Hardtke, Director of Milk Marketing for the Family Dairies USA division of FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative, will retire on April 30, 2019, after a career dedicated to serving the milk marketing needs of dairy farmers across the Midwest. As he prepares for retirement, Mick Homb is set to take the reins as the new director of milk marketing for the cooperative’s Family Dairies USA division.
April 1st, 2019FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative is adamantly opposed to the Trump administration’s proposal to close the U.S. southern border with Mexico.
March 15th, 2019FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative fully supports the reintroduction of the Dairy Pride Act, by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Jim Risch (R-ID.) The Dairy Pride Act prohibits non-dairy products from using dairy terms on their labeling and forces the agency to resolve the issue within 90 days of its passage.
February 27th, 2019John Rettler of Neosho, Wis. was re-elected as president of FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative at the cooperative’s 7th Annual Meeting, held February 22-23 in Onalaska, WI.
February 26th, 2019During the cooperative’s seventh annual meeting held on February 22-23 in Onalaska, Wis., cooperative delegates set dairy policy directives for the organization.
February 25th, 2019Delegates were ‘Focused on the Future’ during FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative’s seventh annual member meeting on February 22-23, 2019 in Onalaska, Wis., discussing issues pertinent to the future of their dairy farms and expanding their knowledge on a variety of topics.
February 20th, 2019FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative Encourages Media to Join Conference Call
February 4th, 2019Dairy farmers are invited to attend FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative’s Producer Discovery Workshops as part of the cooperative’s 2019 Annual Meeting on Friday, February 22, 2019 at the Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center in Onalaska, Wis.
January 25th, 2019After 35 days of the government shutdown, FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative welcomes its reopening and for immediate implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill.
January 2nd, 2019Scholarship applications are once again available for FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative membership youth pursuing a post-secondary education.
December 21st, 2018“Brad has a history of working with all groups for the betterment of agriculture,” according to Lyon, “He understands the importance of animal health, food safety, ag resource management and agriculture’s role as an economic driver in the state.”
December 20th, 2018“For the first time since 1990, Congress has passed a new farm bill in the same year that the legislation was introduced,” says John Rettler, president of FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative. “Members of Congress heard our concerns for dairy farmers and they listened by including several of the reforms we sought. Passage of the 2018 Farm Bill provides a bit of certainty during these challenging times for dairy farmers.”
December 20th, 2018With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the Dairy Forward Pricing Program is reauthorized, once again allowing proprietary plants who offer forward pricing to not pay minimum Federal Order prices for farmers’ pooled milk.
December 18th, 2018FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative was hopeful that the administration would heed our concerns for these trade mitigation payments to more accurately reflect the costs dairy farmers are experiencing due to this trade war. However, we acknowledge their effort to help offset these losses.
December 11th, 2018FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative applauds the work of the Congressional leaders as the final conference report for the 2018 Farm Bill has been released.
December 11th, 2018FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative applauds Senate passage of the 2018 Farm Bill by an 87-13 margin. The bipartisan support in the Senate demonstrates the Senate’s recognition of the importance of agriculture and the challenges being faced by our farmers.
December 6th, 2018FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative is elated by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s actions of returning low-fat (1%) flavored milk back into schools by making it a permanent part of the National School Lunch and School Breakfast program.
November 30th, 2018FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative is pleased with the signing of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and applaud the Trump Administration for their timely effort on its passage.
November 9th, 2018FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative sent a letter to Secretary Perdue today on behalf its dairy farmer members across the Midwest, requesting that the mitigation payments to U.S. dairy farmers more accurately reflect the cost of the retaliatory tariffs placed on U.S. dairy products.
October 22nd, 2018Members of FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative can begin making reservations to attend their fall member district meetings, taking place across the cooperative’s seven-state membership during the month of November.
October 12th, 2018FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative, and other members of the Midwest Dairy Coalition, submitted comments to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) suggesting that the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) be utilized by the agency when determining when the term “healthy” can be used on dairy food labels.
October 1st, 2018This trilateral trade agreement continues a great trade partnership between these three countries, and it is a sign of all parties’ interest in long-term progress and growth to see these trade relationships continue.
September 27th, 2018FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative continues to be encouraged by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and their most recent action to receive public comments on the labeling of plant-based products with names that include the names of dairy foods such as “milk,” “cultured milk,” “yogurt,” and “cheese.”
September 25th, 2018FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative recently sent a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting greater financial support to U.S. dairy farmers in light of the retaliatory tariffs from Mexico, China and other countries.
August 13th, 2018Malin began her role on July 30.
August 1st, 2018FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative applauds the U.S. Senate’s passage of the $7 million in funding for the Dairy Innovation Act. Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin introduced the legislation in June as a way to support dairy product innovation, develop new products and expand markets.
August 1st, 2018Such strong opposition to the amendment is also sending a message to the FDA – that there is support for enforcing its standards of identity, and that there is concern in maintaining a fair marketplace.
July 26th, 2018FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative is encouraged by Commissioner Gottlieb’s comments, as he reiterated the same concerns the cooperative has regarding public health and misleading food labels.
July 24th, 2018FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative is encouraged by President Trump’s decision to authorize $12 billion in economic assistance to help farmers that are facing the impact of retaliatory tariffs. We are pleased that our repeated concerns have not fallen on deaf ears.
July 19th, 2018Our comments are being heard, as FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative has been focusing on this issue for quite some time.
July 11th, 2018Nearly $130,000 has been awarded to member’s children to pursue higher education the last six years
June 13th, 2018Latest draft of Farm Bill includes several positive provisions
June 12th, 2018Lund began her role on May 1
May 24th, 2018Nineteen FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative members, five in South Dakota and 14 in Wisconsin were affected by impassable roads during the snowstorm, however, because of their membership with FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative they received a disaster payment for their lost milk.
March 7th, 2018Applications are due by March 30
February 12th, 2018Three New Board Members Join Cooperative Leadership
January 30th, 2018Young Cooperators Welcome all Dairy Producers to Attend
January 25th, 2018FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative welcomes Jeff Lyon to the role of General Manager. He begins serving in this role on February 1, 2018.
December 19th, 2017This internship would expose a young individual to various aspects of the dairy industry and the cooperative’s role serving processing plants and producers across the Midwest.
December 8th, 2017FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative announced today the resignation of its general manager, David Cooper, from the organization to be effective December 31st, 2017. A true, dedicated professional to all dairy farmers and industry professionals, his resignation marks a new chapter to refocus on his family.
August 4th, 2017Plans for a second picnic are underway, as Young Cooperators Bryanna and Dylan Handel are set to host the second FarmFirst summer picnic on their farm in Barneveld, Wis. on Tuesday, August 22.
July 24th, 2017Over $115,000 has been awarded to member’s children to pursue higher education in the last five years
June 7th, 2017Plans set for their first YC picnic taking place this summer, held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, June 22 at Misty Hollow Farms in Athens, Wis.
May 26th, 2017FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative Board of Directors have authorized return of fiscal year 2016 patronage equity to its members.
May 16th, 2017Full agenda for Lighthizer when it comes to dairy
May 3rd, 2017FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative spoke in Washington, D.C. this week at a national trade policy rally to represent Midwest dairy farmers and stress the importance of free and fair trade on the dairy industry.
May 1st, 2017Today, May 1st, brought to a close a very long month of April for several dairy farmers. It marks the end of some of the longest weeks for these dairy farmers, as the dairy community rallied around to support these affected farmers and work to find a solution leading up to this market day deadline.
May 1st, 2017Announcement Returns 1% Flavored Milk to School Lunch Programs
April 8th, 2017As many of you know, several dairy farmers were given notice that they no longer would have a market for their milk with Grassland beginning on May 1st. At a time when volumes are high and markets are stressed, this notification couldn’t have come at a more difficult moment...
February 21st, 2017This year’s annual meeting theme was ‘Connecting and Engaging on Common Ground’ as the challenges that exist in the marketplace have become a top concern among dairy farmers everywhere.
January 18th, 2017Dairy farmers are welcome and encouraged to attend the Producer Discovery Workshop series taking place on Friday, February 10 at Chula Vista Resort in the Wisconsin Dells, Wis. as part of FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative’s Annual Member Meeting.
January 12th, 2017Bill Prompts FDA to Enforce Existing Milk Labeling Standards
July 15th, 2016Over $23,000 was awarded to member's children to pursue higher education
June 23rd, 2016FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative is pleased to see a compromise agreement reached on the federal biotech food labeling legislation, thanks to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow.
February 18th, 2016Clark, Leahy to lead Young Cooperator committee and program efforts
February 17th, 2016Members take time to prepare for future dairy prices and transition challenges
February 2nd, 2016Applicants are reminded to submit scholarships before March 1st deadline
January 19th, 2016All dairy producers are welcome to attend Producer Discovery Workshops
October 16th, 2015Third season of District Member Meetings marks the end of the cooperative’s three-year transition
October 6th, 2015The Trans-Pacific Partnership discussions concluded on October 5, and is being presented as a landmark agreement that will ‘liberalize trade across 40% of the global economy.’
September 9th, 2015Extension and new payment plan provides flexible planning for U.S. dairy farmers
June 10th, 2015Over $21,000 was awarded to member's children to pursue higher education