This January we unveiled a beautiful new addition to our association’s seal – a crimson banner that proudly proclaims that we are farmer owned and have been since 1909. Being farmer owned means that the farmers in our cooperative guide our decisions and set the vision for the company. Many of our farm families have been co-op members for multiple generations, often farming the same land that was homesteaded by their family in the late 1800s. They are not simply shareholders; they are emotionally vested in creating quality products that begin with high quality milk. To them, it is as much their legacy as it is anything else. They know that the work that they do on their land every day impacts our ability to meet our brand promise.
I always enjoy visiting families on their dairies and seeing this pride in action. It is unmistakable. You see it in how they beam when talking about the quality of our cheese and when they reference their dairy cows. Last year I sent a photographer out to one of our dairies to take a photo of the family for our annual report. They were one of the families we recognized last year for their high quality milk at our annual meeting. When the photographer got there, the farmer wouldn’t let her disturb the cows with her camera because it was after milking when the cows preferred to rest in the barn! I still get a kick out of that. She had to come back and tell me she took some great pictures of the family but that the farmer, we’ll call him “Jerry,” wouldn’t let her disturb the cows. Love it. BTW…we did get some awesome photos of his cows, just not that afternoon.