Bringing Value to Our Family-Farm Owners

Our Cooperative is evolving, but our mission of delivering value to our farm family-owners doesn’t waver. With a future change to our capital structure, and our member services and commercial businesses progressing, this panel had a productive discussion on the necessities for our Cooperative to move forward.

To evolve, we must focus on our priorities and initiatives. Jay Waldvogel, senior vice president, strategy, made this point early on as he moderated the panel discussion to help audience members see how we accomplish our goals as one Cooperative. Jay said, “We know there’s not one member who uses every service, but we know there’s a service for every member.” Every dairy operation might be different, but at DFA, there’s always a helping hand for each operation to succeed.

With each panelist providing insight, Dennis Rodenbaugh, executive vice president of DFA and president of council operations, began with a challenging task of detailing our capital structure and how it might change. Dennis showed how our Cooperative combines farm services, logistics, plants, farm practices and labs, all to help market members’ milk. 

It’s essential that we go back to our mission and vision. These can’t be words that just go on a piece of paper.
— Doug Glade, Executive Vice President of DFA and President, Commercial

Throughout today’s presentations, our evolved strategy was discussed in detail. Doug Glade, executive vice president of DFA and president of commercial, broke down how we look at acquisitions and what it means to our farm family-owners. Doug said, “It’s essential that we go back to our mission and vision. These can’t be words that just go on a piece of paper. Our mission and vision have to be aspects that we go back to and check as we make new acquisitions.” Utilizing helpful visuals, Doug detailed how innovation, regional brands and global partnership opportunities help secure markets and create new demand for U.S. dairy. “With a focus on commercial activities,” Doug said, “who we view as a consumer is changing and we have to adapt to that.”

Greg Wickham, chief financial officer, went over the role of our capital structure. Greg said, “The core job we have is to pick your milk up and ensure there’s a market for it. We really need to focus on this and reduce the risk while allowing for growth.” To help tell the story of our evolving capital structure, Greg went through the history our growth since inception. With DFA growing significantly and our asset values rising, Greg detailed how our Cooperative can accomplish this. Greg said, “Evolution, not revolution, is one of our main guidelines during the capital structure discussion.”  

This group piggybacked on previous presentations, helping detail how our Cooperative will evolve. Your farms, processing plants and how the Cooperative brings value to our farm family-owners might change, but doing it together as one Cooperative will not. As we engage more outside of the United States with global food and nutrition companies, DFA can help fill a role to nourish communities through all the possibilities of dairy and secure markets for all of our members’ milk.