Michigan Milk Producers Association honored with partnership award from Michigan 4-H

Michigan Milk Producers Association, a long-time support of Michigan 4-H, receives the Michigan Association of Extension 4-H Youth Staff Partnership Award at annual recognition banquet.

Sheila Burkhardt (center), member/government relations, and Corby Werth (right), district director, accept the 2016 Partnership Award on behalf of MMPA. Melissa Elischer (left) nominated MMPA for the award. Photo: Les Thomas.

Sheila Burkhardt (center), member/government relations, and Corby Werth (right), district director, accept the 2016 Partnership Award on behalf of MMPA. Melissa Elischer (left) nominated MMPA for the award. Photo: Les Thomas.

The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) has been a long-time supporter of youth development by partnering with Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H. For more than 80 years, MMPA has been active to support and educate the next generation of youth in agricultural science through countless programs, donations, volunteers at youth events and much more. As the cooperative celebrates their centennial anniversary, the Michigan Association of Extension 4-H Youth Staff was proud to present the Partnership Award to MMPA during their spring award recognition dinner in April 2016. The Partnership Award recognizes individuals or groups outside of MSU Extension who have made an outstanding contribution to the MSU Extension 4-H Youth Development Programs.

MMPA provides multiple types of support to numerous 4-H programs. Members and staff from the cooperative are invested in seeing youth succeed and provide great support for 4-H programming. Since 1935, MMPA has been opening their doors to host the 4-H/MMPA Milk Marketing Tour, which allows youth to see a different side of the dairy industry than what they may be accustomed to. Michigan’s two-day 4-H Milk Marketing Tour is the longest running event of its kind in existence. The first tour took place in 1922 and MMPA became the primary sponsor in 1935. During this two-day annual event, up to 30 youth learn about what cooperatives are, how they function, and have the opportunity to “build” their own cooperative using all the knowledge gain during the tour.

In addition to the 4-H/MMPA Milk Marketing Tour, MMPA staff are present at numerous other youth development events, including serving as 4-H State Award judges for the Dairy Science Award, assisting as judges and moderators during education contests at 4-H Youth Dairy Days, hosting activates for visitors to the Great Dairy Adventure, and leading sessions during the Michigan 4-H Dairy Conference. MMPA has been a long-time supporter of 4-H dairy science programming through annual contributions to the Foundation. The cooperative has been a sponsor of the Michigan 4-H Animal and Veterinary Science Camp since 2013, being the first non-MSU organization to contribute funds to the very popular and expanding camp. In 2015, MMPA contributed funds to match a grant to help purchase a new wireless communication system for youth touring noisy areas, such as processing plants and barns.

Michigan Association of Extension 4-H Youth Staff President Matt Newman, Gratiot County program coordinator, commented, “So much of the work that we do in 4-H is predicated on the relationships we have. Having such a strong partnership with an organization like MMPA serves not only the youth in our programs, but indeed the larger community as a whole.”

MMPA is a true partner for Michigan 4-H. The support from the cooperative and all its members for youth development is invaluable in sustaining and creating new leadership, skill development and career exploration opportunities for the young people of Michigan.

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