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Iowa State Dairy Association delegates vote to partner with Midwest Dairy Association

By Jean Caspers-Simmet

Date Modified: 01/27/2014 10:10 AM

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WAVERLY — Iowa State Dairy Association members have voted unanimously to contract operations to Midwest Dairy Association, effective May 1.

They made the decision at the recent ISDA annual meeting in Waverly. ISDA is a membership organization working on policy and industry issues, and Midwest Dairy manages the dairy promotion checkoff for Iowa and nine other states.

Under the agreement, Midwest Dairy will provide staffing and management for ISDA. Midwest Dairy's promotion activities will continue to be funded through its checkoff authority. All of ISDA's policy and production-related activities will be funded through member dues and other ISDA revenue.

"This is a win-win for Iowa dairy producers," said Larry Shover, president of the ISDA board of directors and a Delhi dairyman. "We know there will continue to be fewer dairy farms, and our infrastructure within the industry needs to be as efficient as possible. These two organizations already share many of the same priorities, and a closer relationship makes sense for the dairy farmers who support both organizations through their own pocketbooks."

"We serve the same dairy producers, and together, we can capture the most value for them," said Mike Kruger, CEO of Midwest Dairy.

Jessica Bloomberg, ISDA's executive director, previously announced plans to leave the organization on May 1 after five years. Her husband is graduating from medical school and will leave Iowa for his residency.

Midwest Dairy has hired Sue Ann Claudon as director of industry relations for MDA in Iowa. She will serve a dual role as ISDA executive director upon Bloomberg's departure. Claudon was with the United Sorghum checkoff program in Lubbock, Texas, and was general manager for Dairy Max Inc., the dairy checkoff entity serving the southern United States. She grew up on an Illinois dairy farm and graduated from the University of Illinois in animal science.

Chris Freland, the industry relations manager in Iowa, also will serve both organizations. She has been with Midwest Dairy for more than four years. Previously, she worked as a United Health Care marketing specialist, a nurse and a dairy farmer. She received a bachelor's degree in kinesiology and health from Iowa State University.

ISDA and Midwest Dairy already work closely through the Dairy Iowa initiative, which Bloomberg coordinates, and on issues management and dairy image communications, Shover said. The new arrangement will allow both organizations to be more effective through better sharing of information about on-farm production practices, nutrition issues and research, among other topics. ISDA will gain access to staff specialists.

The board of directors of each organization will continue to operate separately, with each setting its own agenda and program priorities, Shover said.

Midwest Dairy Association has similar arrangements with producer membership organizations in Nebraska and South Dakota.

David Kunde, a Manchester dairy farmer and former ISDA president, said he was concerned about what would happen if ISDA and MDA had conflicting interests.

"That's when ISDA's board will step in," Shover said, adding that the board can revisit the agreement and if it isn't working it can be terminated.

Bloomberg said she hopes that with two staff people there can be more membership outreach, something she didn't have much time to do.

"I think this will give us more strength because we'll have two people," said Pam Bolin, a Clarksville dairy farmer.