AMPI sales growth continues

Delegates review co-op performance, policies at annual meeting
Sales growth continued in 2010 for Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI), a dairy marketing cooperative owned by 3,000 Midwest dairy producers.

More than half of the cooperative’s $1.7 billion in sales came from consumer-packaged dairy products. AMPI processes milk, manufactures dairy products and packages them for customers at 12 plants throughout the Upper Midwest.

“AMPI product sales have grown for five consecutive years,” AMPI President and CEO Ed Welch told some 400 delegates and guests gathered for the co-op’s annual meeting at the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel, Bloomington, Minn.

Sales of packaged and processed cheese grew 5%, and butter sales were up 7%. Other areas of increased product sales included pudding and cheese sauce, 10%; and ice cream mix, 19%.

In detailing AMPI’s 2010 results, Welch said the industry saw increased global demand for dairy proteins, which led to improved milk prices following the depressed markets of 2009. AMPI sold more than 28 percent of its powdered dairy products internationally.

Despite strong sales and profitable operations, a year-end market drop devalued product inventory and resulted in a $1.5 million loss for the cooperative. AMPI members still shared $12.9 million from the previous year’s earnings and member equity.

Following the performance review, AMPI Chairman of the Board Paul Toft outlined the cooperative’s policy priorities. “We stepped up our policy-making efforts this past year, urging lawmakers to enact legislation that would decrease milk price volatility and increase dairy farmer profitability,” he said.

Additional AMPI 2010 operational highlights:

·       Producing 6 billion pounds of milk, matching quantity with ever-increasing quality.
·       Investing in the cooperative’s manufacturing network, upgrading whey drying, cheese processing and butter packaging equipment.
·       Serving customers like McDonalds, Sysco and ALDI who continue to rely on AMPI to make the product marketed under their label.

New leadership

Steve Schlangen, a dairy farmer from Albany, Minn., will lead AMPI. He was elected chairman by the board of directors immediately following the close of the dairy marketing cooperative’s annual meeting. Schlangen owns and operates a 65-cow dairy farm and has served on the AMPI Board of Directors since 2001 and has been an elected official for 20 years. Schlangen succeeds Paul Toft, who retired after serving as AMPI chairman for the past decade. Toft farms near Rice Lake, Wis.

The AMPI Board of Directors also elected the following members to serve as officers of the board: Doug Temme, Wayne, Neb., vice president; Phil Johnson, Holmen, Wis., secretary; and Brad Nevin, Rice Lake, Wis., treasurer. In addition to the officers, other executive committee members include: Bruce Brockshus, Ocheyedan, Iowa; John Grafenberg, West Union, Iowa; Bruce Maas, Walnut Grove, Minn.; Harvey Phelps, Cornell, Wis.; and Dave VanderKooi, Worthington, Minn.

Joining the AMPI Board of Directors in 2011 are Mark Kaeding, Augusta, Wis.; James Koser, Almena, Wis.; and Dave Sullivan, Oelwein, Iowa.

About AMPI: Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) is a dairy marketing cooperative with 3,000 member farms, 6 billion lbs. of milk and $1.7 billion in annual sales. Members operate dairy farms located throughout the Midwest states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. They own 12 manufacturing plants and market a full line of consumer-packaged dairy products, including the Cass-Clay® brand. For more information about AMPI, visit the cooperative’s website at