Register for the 2016 4-H/MMPA Milk Marketing Tour by May 27

Learn about milk marketing, co-operatives and a different side of dairy through the 4-H/Michigan Milk Producers Association Milk Marketing Tour held June 15-16.

Youth are suited up and ready for their tour of a milk processing plant during the 4-H/MMPA Milk Marketing Tour. Photo: MMPA.

Youth are suited up and ready for their tour of a milk processing plant during the 4-H/MMPA Milk Marketing Tour. Photo: MMPA.

Youth participating in the 4-H dairy cattle project are very well aware of day-to-day chores and life on the farm. What they may be less familiar with is what happens once milk leaves the farm and starts the journey to the grocery store shelf. Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) provides youth an amazing opportunity to learn about this process through the 4-H/MMPA Milk Marketing Tour, held June 15-16, 2016.

MMPA, in collaboration with Michigan State University Extension, hosts this event at MMPA headquarters in Novi, Michigan. The 2016 tour will mark the 79th year of this program, making it the longest 4-H tour in existence. The program has introduced more than 4,000 youth to milk marketing principals, the duties and operations of a dairy cooperative, and allowed youth to see a side a different side of the dairy industry.

Joe Diglio, MMPA general manager, recognizes the importance of encouraging and developing future dairy farmers, stating, “Youth development and education is a key strategic priority for MMPA and the dairy industry. As older generations of dairy farmers, employees, service providers and industry leaders shift off of their operations and out of their respective positions, we want to prepare the next generation for a successful transition. We feel a responsibility to ensure those stepping up to fill those roles understand the cooperative advantage and the basics of milk processing, hence our continued support of this tour as well as 4-H and FFA leadership opportunities.”

Past tour participants speak to the value and knowledge gained from this experience. Michelle Neff, MSU Extension educator in Clare County, participated in the tour in 1996. “Looking back at my experience attending MMPA tour, I remember learning a lot about the dairy industry related to milk pricing, grade of milk and understanding more of the backside of what happens to the milk after it leaves the farm. I would encourage any youth interested in learning more about the dairy industry to take advantage of this great program,” remarked Neff.

2014 participant and youth co-chair of the 2015 tour Lance Frahm of Saginaw County echoes these comments, saying, “The 4-H/MMPA Milk Marketing Tour gave me the opportunity to learn about the processing, marketing and selling of products after they leave the farm, giving me a more thorough understanding of the dairy industry as a whole.”

Nic Grifka of Sanilac County participated in the 2015 tour, commenting, “The 4-H Tour was an eye-opening experience. I learned about the processes used in the dairy industry to produce and change milk into a variety of products. The education from this tour helped me better understand the dairy industry and advanced my goal of one day taking over the family farm.”

In addition to learning about cooperatives and milk processing in Michigan, youth may earn the opportunity to attend the National 4-H Dairy Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, Oct. 2-6, 2016. Delegates from across the U.S. and Canada come together for four days of learning, leadership and fellowship at this annual event held concurrently with World Dairy Expo on the University of Wisconsin – Madison campus.

The 2016 4-H/MMPA Tour will take place June 15-16, 2016. Youth ages 15-18 (as of Jan. 1, 2016) who have not previously participated in the event are invited to register for the 2016 4-H/MMPA Tour. There is no cost to attend the tour, but participants are responsible for their own travel to and from Novi. The tour is limited to the first 30 participants and registration forms are due by May 27.

Click on the following link to download the 2016 4-H/MMPA Tour registration form.

For more information, please contact Jessica Welech, member relations at MMPA, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or Melissa Elischer, 4-H dairy youth educator, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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