ST PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Milk Producers Association showed a strong force in the state’s capital on March 7 when more than 60 members came to town to meet with lawmakers to share their story and to advocate for sensible legislation that impacts their farms.   

“We believe it is important for our members to have the opportunity to meet with their legislative representatives to discuss pending legislation that may have a direct impact on their families and farms,” said Lucas Sjostrom, Executive Director of Minnesota Milk. “Our top priority at this time is to be sure policies and regulations are science-based and do not put unnecessary burdens on farms doing business in Minnesota.” 

During the Senate Agriculture Committee, MMPA Producers of the Year Kerfeld Hill-View Farm owned by Tim and Carrie Kerfeld and their family in Melrose, were introduced by MMPA President Shelly DePestel. The day concluded with a reception for the members and lawmakers. 

“We appreciated the willingness of our legislative representatives to meet with us to discuss important issues. We believe it is always time well spent to take a day or two off the farm to help bridge understanding between the farming community and others,” Sjostrom said. 

Minnesota Milk Annual Meeting 

The MMPA annual member meeting was held on March 7. During the meeting Garrett Luthens and Rick Smith were reelected to the board and Aaron Vogt retired from his board position. Executive board restructuring resulted in the following leadership positions: Garrett Luthens, president, Shelly DePestel, vice president; Sadie Frericks, secretary and Rick Smith, treasurer. Anthony Anderson and Tom Walsh complete the board of directors for 2024-2025.  

Other business during the meeting included Executive Director Lucas Sjostrom recapping the year’s activities, the financial report and a look ahead for the upcoming year.  

Wrapping up the day was the Minnesota Milk Annual Dairy Dinner with special presentations to this year’s award winners:  Producers of the Year Kerfeld Hill-View Farms; Legislator of the Year Aric Putman and Bruce Cottington Award Winner Brad Rugg.  

Brad Rugg shared a compelling speech on why it was important to invest in purple ribbon kids, noting purple ribbon cows will then follow. Evening entertainment featured dueling pianos and a caricature artist 

“It is always a special time when we can come together as an industry to celebrate the good work we do as individuals and as an organization,” Sjostrom said. “We will continue throughout this legislative session to bring forward the issues that are important to our members to be sure they can continue to operate their farms in a sustainable way.” 


Minnesota Milk logo 

MMPA Board of Directors 


2023 Minnesota Milk Producer of the Year video feature 

About Minnesota Milk:  

Minnesota Milk Producers Association is the Minnesota dairy industry’s leading grassroots organization. Its strength comes from members working together and focusing on three key areas: policy, education and membership. By focusing on these areas, the organization will advance the success of Minnesota’s dairy producers. More information: