Register for the 2017 4-H/MMPA Milk Marketing Tour by May 26

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 27-28.

2016 4-H/MMPA Milk Marketing Tour Participants tour MMPA headquarters in Novi, learning about the many career options at a dairy cooperative. Image courtesy of Melissa Elischer, MSU Extension.

2016 4-H/MMPA Milk Marketing Tour Participants tour MMPA headquarters in Novi, learning about the many career options at a dairy cooperative. Image courtesy of Melissa Elischer, MSU Extension.

What happens to milk after it leaves the farm, but before it makes its way to the grocery store shelves? What are other careers in the dairy industry outside of the family farm? What is a co-op and what are the benefits of belonging to one? The Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) answers these questions, as well as many more, during the annual 4-H/MMPA Milk Marketing Tour. Celebrating its 80th year, the MMPA tour, June 27-28, 2017, allows youth to see a different side of the dairy industry, learning about cooperatives, milk testing, milk marketing, touring a milk processing plant and networking with professionals in the dairy industry.

MMPA, in collaboration with Michigan State University Extension, hosts this event every summer in Novi, Michigan, at MMPA headquarters. Since it started in 1935, the program has introduced more than 4,000 youth to milk marketing principals. The two-day tour explains the duties and operations of a dairy cooperative, the science behind milk testing, and allows youth to see how milk is processed and then shipped to consumers.

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. Lance Frahm of Saginaw County, a 2014 participant and youth co-chair of the 2015 tour, said, “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.”

Miriah Dershem of Clinton County participated in the 2016 tour and said, “I want to work in dairy and this tour just opened up many more potential career options for me.”

Justin Berens of Allegan County, also a 2016 participant, commented, “The 4-H/MMPA Milk Marketing Tour opened my eyes to what happens to milk after it leaves the farm and how many people it takes to process and package it.”

In addition to learning more about the Michigan and national dairy industries, youth may earn the opportunity to attend the National 4-H Dairy Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, Oct. 1-5, 2017. More than 200 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 2017 4-H/MMPA Tour will take place June 27-28, 2017. Youth ages 15-18 (as of Jan. 1, 2017) who have not previously participated in the event are invited to register. Youth do not have to be a 4-H or FFA member to participate. 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 26, 2017.

Click on the following link to download the 2017 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).

Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan 4-H Youth Development program help to create a community excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). 4-H STEM programming seeks to increase science literacy, introducing youth to the experiential learning process that helps them to build problem-solving, critical-thinking and decision-making skills. Youth who participate in 4-H STEM content are better equipped with critical life skills necessary for future success. To learn more about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth in STEM literacy programs, read our 2015 Impact Report: “Building Science Literacy and Future STEM Professionals.”

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