At a time when it's needed most, the dairy farmer-owners of Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) are getting a financial boost. Members are receiving $2.1 million in past earnings from the cooperative. The payments are being mailed months ahead of schedule to help dairy farmers weather difficult economic times.
"Times are tough,” said Paul Toft, a Rice Lake, Wis., dairy farmer and AMPI chairman, as he announced the board's vote to move up payments normally made in December. "AMPI has long been recognized for its timely equity revolvements. We're living up to our reputation by responding to members' need for immediate cash.”
As a dairy farmer-owned milk marketing business, AMPI returns its earnings to the owners. This month's earnings payments are being shared by co-op members who marketed their milk through AMPI in 1997. The amount of the payment each receives is based on the quantity of milk the member marketed. The June payout is a portion of the projected equity payments AMPI members will receive in 2009.
In addition to accelerated equity revolvement, AMPI is working closely with other industry groups and federal policy makers to further programs that benefit producers. Toft and AMPI President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Welch are making personal visits to lawmakers this month. "We will continue our work to underscore the need for immediate action to reverse the dire financial situation on America's dairy farms,” Welch said.
About AMPI: Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) is a dairy marketing cooperative with 3,500 member farms, 5.8 billion pounds of milk and $1.7 billion in annual sales. Members operate dairy farms located throughout the Midwest states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. The members own 15 manufacturing plants and market a full line of consumer-packaged dairy products, including the Cass-Clay® brand. For more information about AMPI, visit the cooperative's Web site at www.ampi.com .