For nearly 42 years, Chuck Courtade, northwest region manager for the Mideast Area, has been serving dairy farmers in his home state of Michigan, and across the Mideast Area. In his position, Chuck works with customers on a regular basis and oversees field staff within his region.
This November, Chuck was honored at DFA’s annual Team Development Conference as one of twelve Be More Award winners. Award recipients were nominated by fellow employees in recognition of being team members who exceed DFA’s high standards, stand out from the crowd and make an impact on the Cooperative and the communities in which they live and work.
“Chuck has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the industry and works diligently on behalf of the Co-op members,” his nominator said. “He is able to bring creative solutions and value-added ideas to the table with his knowledge, commitment and passion for the industry.”
Growing up around Grand Rapids, Mich., that passion and commitment for agriculture spawned from a young age. Chuck, who lived on a farm until he began the fifth grade, always worked and spent time around family-run operations. Once he graduated from Davenport University, he went back to his roots of working for family farms.
Courtade held several positions with Independent Cooperative Milk Producers Association prior to the merger with DFA, allowing him the opportunity to get know multi-generations of families.
“I have been invited to weddings, graduations, on farm promotions and many other activities over the years,” says Courtade. “Because farming is so hard, it is my goal every day that I come to work to help our farmers and, hopefully, do something that makes their lives more enjoyable and rewarding.”
His more than four decades of work have held many memories and learning experiences — from recalculating milk checks by hand when the market administrator miscalculated the price to being a part of the merger with DFA — have been driven by the people he works for, dairy farmers.
“They (dairy farmers) are truly the best people in the world and my family and I have been blessed to have so many wonderful friends as a result of this industry,” says Courtade. “I want to give a heartfelt thank you to all of our members for everything you do. DFA has a top staff as well and, thanks to DFA, I have many friends throughout the country that I get to work with every day. I would also like to recognize my field staff — they work whatever hours are necessary to serve our members and are dedicated to our dairy farmer owners.”
Beyond DFA, Courtade is involved within his community, serving as the president of the Michigan Dairy Conference since 2011. Previously, he has served on the Michigan FFA Foundation Board and several church committees. He continues to serve on the Michigan Dairy Industry Review Committee, Michigan TB Committee and on the Michigan Dairy Memorial Scholarship Foundation at Michigan State University, which he is the past President,
“The values established by the DFA board reflect the values of our members and staff,” says Courtade. “Integrity is the cornerstone of DFA and I cannot see working for a company that does not live the values of DFA like we do.”