Indiana Dairy Producers (IDP) held their annual meeting on March 16 in Indianapolis to highlight their new strategic plan, honor two outstanding dairy families and review last year’s events.

Devaney kimmi
Editor and Podcast Host / Progressive Dairy

“There’s a lot to be excited about,” Executive Director Doug Leman says. “We strive to create more value for Indiana dairy producers, and our strategic plan and various events and initiatives contribute to that goal.”

IDP has grown tremendously in the last few years and now represents nearly 70 percent of Indiana’s dairy cows and has 70 sponsor organizations.

The board is excited to unveil the organization’s first strategic plan, President Steve Obert says. IDP’s vision is to make Indiana the most desirable place in which to produce milk, and the organization’s goal is to become the leader in bringing together producers, supply chain partners and policy makers at all levels via communication and educational exchanges that help realize Indiana’s potential.

One of the key opportunities from the strategic planning session is to implement an annual Indiana Dairy Forum, which would bring together producers, industry and policy makers to continue moving the Indiana dairy industry forward. Research on the feasibility of the forum will be completed in 2015, and if the organization decides to pursue it, a detailed plan will be developed in 2016 and the event launched in 2017. Goals include increasing membership to achieve and maintain 70 percent of dairy cows represented, maintaining producer satisfaction and partnering with key organizations to create opportunities for dairy producer members.


Minchs 2015 IDP Young Dairy Producer of the Year

Henk and Linda Sevenhuysen of Seven Hills Dairy in Goodland, Indiana, were recognized as the 2015 Outstanding Dairy Producer of the Year, and Luke and Kim Minich of Triple M Dairy LLC in LaPorte County, Indiana, received the Outstanding Young Dairy Producer of the Year award.

IDP offers various farm tour events and informational meetings for producers to network, share ideas and learn from each other and hear from featured speakers. In 2014, producers traveled east to Ohio for the summer tour in June and south to Adair and Taylor counties in Kentucky in July for the Kentuckiana Dairy Exchange.

IDP’s sister organization, Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania, invited IDP members to join them for their Fair Oaks tour in March, which included touring dairies in northwest Indiana and plenty of networking.

Farm labor was a hot topic at the six regional meetings held throughout the state this winter.

“There is a tremendous need of organized farm labor, so this year we made that the main focus of these meetings,” Leman said.

In addition to meetings, the organization also partnered with sponsor Stewart-Peterson for two webinars to discuss milk marketing.

2015 is already a busy year for IDP, as several producers traveled to Wisconsin for the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin Business Conference in March. IDP leadership participated in the statewide dairy growth strategy that was led by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture to increase dairy processing in the state, thus increasing capacity for more dairy production.

For producers considering building a new operation or expanding a current one, the Before you Build program – a collaborative effort between several of the Indiana farm commodity groups, including IDP – helps walk producers through what to expect, how to reach out to those in their communities and how to prepare for Board of Zoning Appeals hearings.

The IDP board includes Obert, Fort Branch; Vice President Liz Kelsay, Whiteland; Julie Bommer, Brookville; Cory Craig, Rensselaer; Joe Hibschman, Syracuse; Brian Houin, Plymouth; Brian Huber, St. Paul; Nathan Kuehnert, Fort Wayne; and Sarah Wagler, Morgantown.

Industry advisers include Todd Jansen, Plews Shadley Racher and Braun LLP; Ken McGuffey, McGuffey Dairy Consulting; Dr. Mike Schutz, treasurer, Purdue University; and Andy Tauer, Indiana Soybean Alliance/Indiana Corn Marketing Council. Staff includes Doug Leman, executive director, and LuAnn Troxel, business manager. PD

Kimmi Devaney is a livestock specialist with the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. She also writes an agricultural blog.

PHOTO 1: Henk and Linda Sevenhuysen of Seven Hills Dairy in Goodland, Indiana, received the IDP 2015 Outstanding Dairy Producer of the Year award.

PHOTO 2: Luke and Kim Minich of Triple M Dairy LLC in LaPorte County, Indiana, received the IDP 2015 Outstanding Young Dairy Producer of the Year award. Photos by Kimmi Devaney.