Partnerships Are Key to Growth
By Brad Rach
In spite of all the challenges we have faced, our dairy program continues to grow. I can’t tell you how proud I am of each and every one of you, staff and members alike, who have worked so hard to make this growth possible.
We all want to continue down this positive road. When I think of growth, I think of three important partnerships we must continue to build.
The first is partnerships with our buyers. This is no longer a game of if I win, then you lose. Instead, those on both sides of the table must realize that the success of one depends on the success of the other. Farmers need markets and buyers need milk.
The second is partnerships with other cooperatives. We must always be ready to use our experience, our leadership, and our operating resources in ways that help other cooperatives remain prosperous. Finger Lakes is a good example. Expect other business partnerships as we move forward.
The third partnership we must build is among all family farmers. What do I mean by all? A few years ago, our membership passed a resolution to answer the question of what is a family farm. The definition they came up with doesn’t mention cow numbers at all.
Instead, it focuses on what the farmer does. Family farms can be of different sizes, some bigger, some smaller, just so long as they fit our idea of what the farmer does day in and day out.
Whether it is the farmers that produce our milk, the processors who buy it, or the retailers that sell it to consumers, everyone is getting bigger. We, too, are growing. Partnerships are the key to continuing that growth and building the strength we need to keep all our members prosperous.