AMPI reports $1.8 billion in sales, dairy farmer-owners review co-op performance

Farm Forum

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Leaders of Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) announced that the dairy marketing cooperative recorded sales of $1.8 billion and earnings of $7.5 million in 2013. The annual business meeting of the cooperative owned by 2,600 Upper Midwest dairy farmers concludes tomorrow at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bloomington, Minn.

“Our manufacturing capacity and production flexibility made it possible for AMPI to reap the benefits of increased demand for our core product line — cheese, butter and powdered dairy products,” AMPI President and CEO Ed Welch told some 400 members, employees and guests at the meeting. “Coupled with plant improvements, the cooperative’s performance improved and balance sheet strengthened.”

American-style cheese production totaled 400 million pounds in 2013, and remains the cooperative’s top product category. AMPI was also a leader in Midwest powder production. Products such as nonfat dry milk, whey protein concentrate and lactose were sold to domestic and global customers as demand for milk proteins increased worldwide.

Cheese and butter packaged for consumers at the cooperative’s manufacturing plants grew once again. Cheese sales increased 7 percent, while butter sales rose for the eighth consecutive year, posting a 3 percent gain. Nearly 70 percent of AMPI’s consumer-packaged business is sold to foodservice customers.

AMPI Chairman of the Board Steve Schlangen reviewed the steps taken in the past year to position the cooperative for strategic growth. “Being the best milk market for Midwest dairy farmers requires constant improvement,” Schlangen said. “Through carefully considered moves made at every level of our cow-to-consumer business, we made great progress in 2013. This was done by focusing on a core product line and taking an active role in reforming dairy policy that provides meaningful options for reducing price risk.”

The annual meeting culminates with delegates considering resolutions and reviewing the cooperative’s legislative priorities.

• Additional AMPI 2013 operational highlights:

• 5.8 billion pounds of milk marketed through 10 manufacturing plants.

• Sales of $1.8 billion yielded earnings of $7.5 million.

• 2,600 AMPI dairy farmer-owners shared $10 million in equity payments.

• Nearly 70 percent of AMPI’s consumer-packaged cheese and butter was sold to foodservice customers.

• The export market accounted for 23 percent of AMPI powder sales, primarily to Mexico.

• A Parmesan cheese wheel produced at AMPI’s Hoven, S.D., plant was named Best Italian entry at the 2013 National Milk Producers Federation Championship Cheese Contest.