NEW ULM, Minn. (June 24, 2015) — The Young Cooperator (YC) members of Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI), a leading Midwest dairy cooperative, toured three member farms in northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota, and the cooperative’s cheese manufacturing facility in Sanborn, Iowa, June 22-23. A record-setting 60 members and their families, totaling more than 100 attendees, participated in the annual event that provides cooperative education to members age 40 and under.
The Harvey and Lisa VanEss Family, Sanborn, Iowa, hosted YCs on day one of the tour to their 4,000-cow dairy five miles east of the co-op’s cheese manufacturing plant. The farm features a cross-ventilated barn that spans 9.8 acres, and is equipped with evaporative cooling cells and sand-bedded free-stalls. A new calf raising facility was completed in 2014. About 500 calves are fed pasteurized milk twice daily.
Arnold, Doris, Matt and Polly Timmer, Ellsworth, Minn., own and operate MAT-AR-DOR Holsteins. The 125-cow registered Holstein herd focuses on breeding cows with exceptional feet and legs, udder and milk components. The Timmers recently began using sexed semen as a way to increase the number of high-genetic heifers in the herd, opening up opportunities for merchandising. Matt and Polly were recently awarded the 2015 Minnesota Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder award.
About 10 miles away near Adrian, Minn., Ruth Luettel and her sons, Dean and Brad, operate Luettel Dairy. Two Lely robots were installed on their farm in May 2015 to milk the 120-cow herd. The average daily milk production of the herd increased 10 pounds following installation of the robots. In addition to the milking herd, the Luettels also farm 700 acres of corn, soybeans, oats and alfalfa, and farrow 30-60 sows each year.
Milk from these farms is hauled to the co-op’s cheese plant in Sanborn. The facility processes 1.4 million pounds of milk and produces 140,000 pounds of cheese each day. Mild Cheddar cheese produced in Sanborn placed first in the 2015 World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest.
Photos from the tour and more information about AMPI’s YC program can be found here.
AMPI is headquartered in New Ulm, Minn., and owned by 2,500 Midwest dairy farm families from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. AMPI members annually market about 5.8 billion pounds of milk, resulting in $2.2 billion in sales for the cooperative. AMPI owns 10 manufacturing plants and markets cheese, butter and powdered dairy products, serving foodservice, retail and food ingredient customers.