February 2024 MilkLine Newsletter

FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative > News > MilkLine Newsletter > February 2024 MilkLine Newsletter

Over the past few decades, dairy farming has undergone significant transformations, driven by technological advancements and innovative management practices. Today’s young producers bring not only new methods but also a fresh perspective that is reshaping the industry. FarmFirst is fully committed to fostering opportunities for these young producers to enhance their skills as farm managers and grasp the full value of the cooperative’s advocacy efforts, programs, and services. This is the purpose of our Young Cooperator Program.

A highlight of the Young Cooperator program is the opportunity for its members to attend the NMPF YC Program Dairy Policy & Legislative Forum held annually in Washington D.C. This leadership program is a unique platform that combines discussions on political engagement and dairy policy issues with training on effective advocacy for the dairy sector. Attendees have the invaluable experience of visiting Capitol Hill to engage with members of Congress and their staff, advocating for issues that directly impact the dairy industry.

Nathan Wiese, a Young Cooperator and our Young Cooperator Board Representative shared a bit about his experience with the YC Program. “I didn’t expect to find learning about dairy policy to be something that would pique my interest. Thanks to FarmFirst’s Young Cooperator Program, I had the opportunity to attend the Dairy Policy & Legislative Forum in Washington D.C. There, I delved into the issues affecting the dairy industry and met with senators and congressmen,” said Wiese. “Now, I feel much more confident speaking about policies that directly and indirectly affect our farm. It is empowering to know what can be done to make positive changes for the industry as we move forward.”

When Covid 19 hit, our Young Cooperator programming and activities were brought to a halt. We have been working in recent months to build this program back up and to begin to give it a fresh start. We recently held a bowling event in Cadott, Wisconsin to bring young producers together to discuss their ideas for what they would like to see from this program. We also have five Young Cooperator events coming up throughout Wisconsin.

On February 29th, we will host an event at Knowlton House Distillery in Mosinee, Wisconsin. There will be a guided tour of the distillery as well as a tasting, where the intricate process of crafting spirits from pure milk sugar will be explained. There will also be a guest speaker from Nicolet National Bank to give insight into current trends in ag lending.

Our event on March 20th will be held at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Pioneer Farm in Platteville, Wisconsin. Here we will take a tour of the updated robot facilities at the farm and will also learn about the research projects being funded through the Dairy Innovation Hub.

On March 21st, we will be at the Food + Farm Exploration Center in Plover, Wisconsin. This event will showcase the center’s journey in creating a space for all to enjoy and gain a renewed perspective on food and the people who grow it. This event will be family friendly and you are invited to bring your children to experience the fun and educational experience that the Food + Farm Exploration Center offers. We will also hear about ag lending trends from a guest speaker fro Nicolet National Bank.

Hoard’s Dairyman Farm will be welcoming our Young Cooperator group for a guided tour on April 3rd in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, where one of the editors from Hoard’s Dairyman Magazine will discuss their latest projects. We will also hear about ag lending from a guest speaker from Lake Ridge Bank.

Our last scheduled event for the spring will be held on April 18th at American Foods Group, LLC in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This event will allow attendees to experience the workings of a meat processing plant to gain valuable insights into achieving the common goal of delivering a quality product to consumers.

These Young Cooperator events not only provide educational opportunities, but also a means to connect and network with other producers in our cooperative. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Member Service Representatives, Abby Walker or Barb Grzywinski.

FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative’s commitment to empowering young producers not only ensures the industry’s resilience but also creates a community of leaders actively shaping the future of dairy farming. Through our Young Cooperator Program, FarmFirst aims to develop the next generation of cooperative leaders through leadership, education and networking.

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FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative
4001 Nakoosa Trail, Suite 100
Madison, WI 53714-1381

Toll-Free: 1-800-525-7704
Phone: 608-244-3373
Fax: 608-244-3643

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