St. Paul, Minn. — Minnesota Milk, the state’s leading dairy advocacy group, brought dairy farmers and supporters together for its annual business meeting and Dairy Day at the Capitol. More than 100 attendees participated in the combined events held in St. Paul over the two-day program.

For the group’s annual advocacy visit, attendees headed to the state capitol to meet with legislators and call for proactive dairy policies and investment. Minnesota Milk members met with more than 65 legislators throughout the day, making a powerful impact on behalf of the state’s dairy farmers.

Both the Senate Agriculture, Broadband and Rural Development and House Agriculture, Finance and Policy Committees hosted the Minnesota Milk Producers of the Year for a video presentation highlighting the Mursu family and their farm, Mursu Dairy of New York Mills.

Executive Director Lucas Sjostrom provided comments on behalf of Minnesota Milk, followed by a dialogue between committee members and members of the Mursu family.

During the annual meeting, three board seats were up for election. Newly elected members to the board of directors include Eliot Epple of Czeck Roadside Acres, Foley; Tom Walsh of Riverview LLP, DeGraff. Re-elected as an incumbent was Sadie Fredricks of Blue Diamond Dairy, Melrose.

Additional information about newly elected board members:

  • Elliot Epple is the dairy herd manager at Czech’s Roadside Acres. He has worked there since 2009 and enjoys working with people. He hopes to continue moving animal agriculture forward by combining his on-farm experience with positive policy advocacy, especially for dairy.
  • Tom Walsh is a farmer, partner and employee with Riverview LLP, growing feed and accepting manure for the dairy on his home farmland. He plans to grow his advocacy efforts and ensure Minnesota continues to be a great place to milk cows for all types of dairy farmers. 

The Executive Committee, elected by the board of directors for 2023-2024, will be led by President Shelly DePestel, Daley Farm of Lewiston LLP, Lewiston; Vice President Garrett Luthens, Skyview Dairy, Hutchinson; newly elected Secretary Sadie Frericks, Blue Diamond Dairy, Melrose; and Treasurer Rick Smith, Blue Edge Dairy, Adams. Other board members include: Aaron Vogt, Sauk Centre; Anthony Anderson, Henning; and Ron Miller, Little Falls.

Sjostrom shared opportunities for sustainability projects throughout Minnesota, highlighting the importance of proactive engagement locally by dairy farmers to share innovative and science-based solutions to environmental issues.

Minnesota Milk recognized and conveyed their appreciation to departing board members for their many years of service and advocacy on behalf of Minnesota dairy farmers, including past president David Buck and director Bob Dombeck.

“We cannot thank Bob and Dave enough for the time and leadership they poured into making this organization — and our state — great,” said Sjostrom. “Under their guidance, we have truly helped make Minnesota a better place to dairy.”


Fiscal Priorities

Policy Priorities


Lucas Sjostrom headshot

Dairy group meets with legislators

Minnesota Milk logo


2022 MN Milk Producer of the Year

House Agriculture Committee

Senate Agriculture Committee

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@MnMilk hosts annual Dairy Day at the Capitol, annual meeting

About Minnesota Milk:

Minnesota Milk Producers Association is a membership organization representing grassroots dairy farmers through policy work, education and membership development. Our work is vital to the future of Minnesota’s dairy industry and is directed by a board of dairy farmers elected by their peers. For more information, visit