Minnesota Milk Producers Association Elects New President
Awards, Scholarship Auction and Resolutions Take Place at Annual Meeting
BUFFALO, Minn. – Dave Buck, Goodhue, is the new president of the Minnesota Milk Producers Association, elected by the group’s board of directors at its meeting Nov. 30 during the Minnesota Milk Dairy Conference and Expo in St. Cloud. He replaces Pat Lunemann, a Clarissa dairy farmer who served in that role for the last nine years. Lunemann was recently elected chairman of the Minnesota AgriGrowth Council.
Additional officers elected were:
Shelly DePestel, Lewiston, vice president;
Marianne Peterson, Pine City, secretary; and
Kristine Spadgenske, Menahga, treasurer.
Kindra Carlson, Pennock, is newly elected to the Minnesota Milk Producers Association board. Incumbents Lunemann, Buck, Spadgenske and Bob Dombeck of Perham were re-elected to the board.
Other board members who continue to serve are: Cassie Czech, Foley; Jerry Jennissen, Brooten; Garrett Luthens, Hutchinson; Roger Peters, Tyler; Michael White, Pine Island; Rick Smith, Adams; and Craig Roerick, Swanville.
Awards Presented at Event’s Close
The family of Blake and Christine Otte of Square Deal Dairy at Randolph, Minnesota, was named Minnesota Milk’s 2016 Producer of the Year. As fourth-generation dairy farmers, Blake and Christine manage the farm with their son, Tyler, and his wife, Kelsey. Their son, Bret, and his fiancé, Kayla, assist while also holding off-farm jobs. The youngest son, Eric, is attending college. Twelve employees are involved with the family in running the 500-cow dairy and 1,500 acres of owned and rented land.
State Senator Lyle Koenen of Clara City, who served in the legislature for 14 years, was recognized as the Minnesota Milk Legislator of the Year. Koenen, who served as a state representative for eight years, won his Senate seat in 2012. A former dairy farmer, bus driver and milk truck driver, he offered valuable assistance to Minnesota Milk priorities.
The former CEO of Midwest Dairy Association, Mike Kruger, who retired in July after 35 years of service to dairy farmers, was chosen as the recipient of the Bruce Cottington Friend of Dairy award for 2016. His leadership continually placed Midwest dairy producer interests at the forefront of checkoff activities in the state and region, as well as nationally.
Auction Nets Dollars for Scholarships
During an auction headlined by award-winning butter and cheese through the Upper Midwest Dairy Industry Association, Minnesota Milk raised more than $11,000 designated for scholarships. Last year’s 10 scholarship winners were honored during the Expo festivities Nov. 30.
Resolutions to Guide 2017 Priorities
Members of Minnesota Milk Producers Association passed a package of resolutions during the Expo, covering topics that affect dairy farmers and the industry supporting them. Among the priorities established as key for 2017 are affordable health insurance, adjusting the level of stray current acceptable on dairy farms and continued support for dairy infrastructure.