Members Look Back, Forward At National Convention
By Brad Rach
It was great to see so many of you at national convention. I had a chance to talk with some of you who remembered how we started as a protest organization.
Others I saw joined during the time we were the nation’s leader in collective bargaining for agriculture. And, of course, everyone there was familiar with our current dairy marketing program.
Those are some big changes in the way we do business. Looking back, we can see how the dairy industry itself was changing in ways that forced our hand.
I can remember a time when my home state of Minnesota had more dairy farms than the last count found in the entire country. When I started working with you, there were enough smaller independent processors that we could play one against the other.
One thing for sure—back then, I never thought I’d see the day when 15,000-cow farms shipped milk to plants using hundreds of loads per day.
We must continue adapting to whatever changes the dairy industry throws at us. That’s why I was so excited to see the presentation by some of our future leaders at the dairy workshop.
They recommended we continue our path to growth through partnerships with other cooperatives. They also asked us to take a hard look at branding the milk we sell. I look forward to further discussions on how we might best put their ideas into practice.
As I think about where we have been and where we are going, one thing jumps out at me more than anything else. Sure, a lot has changed in the dairy industry.
Because of that, a lot has changed in the way we do business. But, one thing has not changed. National Farmers has been, is, and always will be a strong and effective friend for America’s family farmers.