President and Chief Executive Officer Rick Smith provided a DFA business update to begin our members-only Leadership Conference. This session provides our members an opportunity to hear about DFA’s financials and other topics affecting the business of the Cooperative in a setting without industry guests.
Rick introduced the meeting’s theme — One Cooperative. One Planet. One Community. — and discussed the importance of continuing to work together to protect our environment and nourish families around the world.
In reference to the morning’s pre-conference workshop, Rick advised members to review their options for risk management and was hopeful about the opportunities the farm bill should bring. “The outlook for 2019 does look better than 2018,” Rick said, but acknowledged that members are still facing stress. He encouraged everyone in attendance to reach out for support when they need assistance, and reminded our members of those services available to them.
In addition to a discussion around the Cooperative’s commercial investments and financials, Rick evaluated some of the challenges facing the industry. Some of these include global milk production, Brexit, dairy alternatives and more. He also laid out some plans for overcoming these challenges. “These things are not going away,” Rick said, “and we have to have a strategy to face it.”
In closing, Rick reviewed new customers, new startups DFA is supporting and reminded attendees that we are part of a global market, noting that we need continue to do a better job of telling our story.