These are challenging times for the U.S. dairy industry. Now, Midwest Dairy — formerly known as the Midwest Dairy Association — has made some changes that the organization thinks will help struggling producers.
“Our goal is better connecting with consumers,” says Lucas Lentsch, Midwest Dairy’s CEO.
The changes — made after a year-long planning process with input from Midwest Dairy farmers, staff and partners, including retailers, cooperatives and others — include:
• A new “vision and mission” to work with, and listen more carefully to, consumers to better communicate the nutritiousness of dairy products.
• The new name, which for the first time represents Midwest Dairy as a single entity, and doesn’t include “Association” or “Council.”
• A new logo that conveys “the timeliness of dairy farmers and reminds consumers that dairy is, and always will be, wholesome and enjoyable,” Midwest Dairy says.
• Plunging milk prices have stressed dairy farmers nationwide. Midwest Dairy is optimistic that its changes will help producers in both the short- and long-term, Lentsch says.
The organization, which has offices in St. Paul and Buffalo, Minn., Ankeny, Iowa, and Overland Park, Kan., represents 7,000 dairy farm families and promotes dairy sales, fosters innovation and inspires consumer confidence in dairy products and practices. It’s funded by checkoff money from dairy farmers in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma.
Some of those states, particularly South Dakota, have worked to expand their respective dairy industries, in part by attracting California dairy operations affected by environmental and regulatory concerns there.
Lentsch said he’s confident the Midwest dairy industry will continue to grow, and that the changes at Midwest Dairy will contribute to that growth.
By: Jonathan Knutson