Evolving our Cooperative

During Monday’s Leadership Conference, David Darr, senior vice president and chief strategy and sustainability officer, and Kristen Coady, vice president, communications and leadership development, provided insight into how our Cooperative has evolved to stay relevant to our members, consumers and customers.

David kicked off the presentation by acknowledging that our industry is changing faster than ever before. “The world you operate in is continuing to be more and more complex,” he said. From changing milk consumption trends to shifting farm demographics, the industry looks different today and will continue to look different in the future.

He noted that as consumer tastes and demands change, dairy has an opportunity for growth — if “we tell the story from the soil to the animal to the consumer.” And if we pay attention globally and help shape the food and beverage category.

David handed over the presentation to Kristen to discuss how the Cooperative is staying relevant amid these changing conditions.

Kristen noted that it’s no secret to members that the industry is changing “from the farm all the way to grocery store shelves.” She introduced this year’s strategic plan, which sets the framework for the next five to 10 years and details DFA will evolve over that time. 

Included in the strategic plan is an updated mission, vision and values. Kristen explained the updated mission will guide us as we evolve, while the vision inspires us, and our updated values of integrity, quality, passion and community will drive us every day. We streamlined our values from six to four to better focus on those qualities we embody most. She called attention to the importance of community in particular. “Community connects us to where we live and work and to the communities where our products reside,” she said. 

We want you to have trust in us, we want to fulfil that mission of providing value to you.
— David Darr, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer

Kristen then turned over the presentation to David to explain how DFA plans to implement the strategic plan. He noted milk marketing continues to be our foundation, and when we do that well, we also provide member services, commercial investments and leadership at a national and global level.

He said the strategic plan outlines initiatives that will provide guidance and focus for the direction of the Cooperative with family farms at the heart of it. “It starts and stops at the farm level,” he said. 

From driving efficiency to empowering employees to securing markets, our strategic plan will serve as our foundation. He concluded by noting that the strategic plan offers opportunities we never could have imagined five years ago, but that our farmer-members continue to matter most.

“We want you to have trust in us, we want to fulfil that mission of providing value to you,” he said.