DFA’s 17th Annual Meeting began today with reports from Board Chairman Randy Mooney, President and Chief Executive Officer Rick Smith and special guest speakers.
Highlighting the theme of the meeting — Connect. Collaborate. Innovate. — Mooney focused on the Cooperative’s initiatives related to innovation, from the farm to DFA’s plants and products.
“Increasing innovation is not a short-term objective — it is a long-term commitment,” he said. “A commitment that takes patience and a willingness to stick to a plan even when the benefits may be years into the future.”
In addition to Smith’s update on DFA, which included information on the Cooperative’s activities in the global marketplace, an update on the financials and an overview of DFA’s commercial investments, guest speaker Tim Hunt, global dairy strategist for Rabobank, gave an outlook for the global dairy markets.
“As we move forward, we’ll see economics improve and prices become more affordable than the astronomical ones that have been placed on consumers in the last 18 months,” Tim said. “The United States will become more competitive in world market.”
A panel comprised of Kevin Gilbert, senior vice president of strategic planning for Edelman, Julia Kadison, chief executive officer of Milk Processor Education Program, Barbara O’Brien, president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, and Jay Waldvogel, DFA’s senior vice president of strategy and global development, discussed consumer trends in dairy, and how DFA and the industry can capitalize on them.
“The evolving connection between consumers and food is about function, experience, and sharing,” said Barbara O’Brien. “People, especially Millennials, absolutely want to understand where their food is coming from.”
The Annual Banquet, which took place in the evening, recognized the DFA Cares Foundation Scholarship winners and outgoing Board Directors, Wayne Palla, Southwest Area, Bill Siebenborn, Central Area, and Larry Purdom, Southeast Area. The banquet also recognized the 2015 Northeast, Mideast, Central, Southeast, Mountain, Western and Southwest Members of Distinction.