Q&A: David White

Written by Emily Battmer
1 of 1

Why do you think it’s important for former Dairylea membership to be represented on DFA’s Board?

We’re not Dairylea anymore, but it was important to be represented because it really helped give confidence to the membership that they still had a voice and weren’t just going to be absorbed into this new big cooperative. I think it’s going to take a little time for the membership to fully understand and engage with DFA. Having Dairylea representatives on the Board would allow us to work as a liaison to the old membership group. They are familiar with us, and it just helps improve the comfort level. I am really impressed with those who serve on the DFA Board and believe that the Dairylea board members feel welcomed and will mesh very well with the current DFA Board.

What is the importance of a board of directors in a cooperative?

I think it’s twofold. When you look at Dairylea and DFA, they both want to serve the farmer first. They’re farmer-driven. When your cooperative is built on that cornerstone, the board’s input is important in setting the guidelines, the ”white lines in the road.” The second is keeping in contact with the membership and being willing to listen and get them involved. The more we can be connected with the membership, the better we can maintain the health of the Cooperative. Members can read about the activities of the Cooperative in the newsletters and so forth, but I believe it is far more important to be willing to have that conversation with members when the opportunity allows.

What perspective do you hope to bring from Dairylea to DFA?

From what I’ve experienced in just a couple of DFA Board meetings, everyone has an opportunity to speak and express themselves, and that was the experience we had on the Dairylea board. Even though DFA has a much larger Board, I feel really comfortable asking the questions I may have. I think I bring a willingness and desire to work together with the DFA Board and management to continue to strengthen the Cooperative. The perspective that I work from is that one day, some years down the road, the next generation on our farm will be able to say, “my dad or granddad played a role in laying the foundation for a DFA that is stronger today than it has ever been.”