Four of the six producers recently announced as National Dairy Quality Award Program platinum winners belong to the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA). In total, 19 MMPA members are among only 51 producers across the country receiving recognition through this program. Of those 19 members, four are platinum winners, 10 are gold winners and 5 are silver winners.
"Our members take pride in producing high-quality, wholesome milk," says Clay Galarneau, MMPA general manager. "Such a strong showing with 19 national quality awards clearly demonstrates that MMPA members are dedicated to excellence and produce some of the highest quality milk in the country. We couldn't be more proud of our member's tireless commitment to quality."
Producers from 15 cooperatives received awards with MMPA being the best represented. Other top award winning co-ops included Dairy Farmers of America with nine awards and Upstate Niagra Co-op, Inc. and Land O'Lakes, Inc. with four.
The National Dairy Quality Award Winners were selected from nearly 200 applicants. The winning operations stood out for having produced high-quality milk consistently. Applications were evaluated for measures of quality, systems of monitoring udder health, milking routine, protocols for detection and treatment of clinical and subclinical cases of mastitis and strategies for overall herd health and welfare. MMPA winners were nominated by their Member Representatives.
The MMPA members receiving awards include:
Platinum Winners: Don Beattie, Holton; Ryan and Charina Dellar, Harrisville; Bradley, Robert and Deborah Kartes, West Branch; and Michigan State University Dairy, East Lansing.
Gold Winners: Charles and Julie Nelkie, and Abigail O'Farrell, West Branch; Tim Berry and Dale Armbrustmacher, Fowler; Jeremy Beebe, Whittemore; Crandall Dairy Farm, Battle Creek; Gordon Dick, McBain; Randy and Cindy Dragt, Howard City; Timothy and Janice Mater, Deckerville; Duane and Janet Molhoek, Falmouth; Edward, Clara, Carl and William Stakenas, Free Soil; and Brent, Nancy and Tyler Wilson, Carson City.
Silver Winners: Michael Bosscher, McBain; Mark Diemer, McBain; Ron, Beth and Kevin Litwiller, Perrinton; Mark and Robert Rau, West Branch; and David and Karen VanderZanden, Casnovia.
To help producers, MMPA offers a portfolio of member services. Christy Dinsmoore, MMPA mastitis management specialist, explains, "From nationally recognized Milker Training Schools to on-farm equipment evaluation and individual mastitis management programs, MMPA works closely with members to achieve high quality milk."
"We are fortunate to have so many members striving for top quality milk production," says MMPA Mastitis Management Supervisor Tom Herremans. "We offer a lot of services and training, but ultimately it is up to the producer to implement the programs and do the right things every day at every milking."
MMPA also offers a quality premium incentive for its members, paying out $14.8 million in 2012 for higher quality milk.
MMPA is the milk marketing partner for over 2,000 dairy farmer members in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.