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FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative is launching a new leadership program, ‘FarmFirst Future Dairy Leaders’ focused on enhancing members’ leadership skills and their understanding of cooperative business practices.

Open to all members, this new program compliments FarmFirst’s Young Cooperator program which develops future cooperative leaders through educational, social and leadership events.

“This is an exciting opportunity for members to learn more about the industry, from meeting cheesemakers and dairy processors to learning more about evolving consumer trends, how dairy policy and federal orders work, and the role cooperatives play. Members will gain an insider perspective of so many different aspects of the industry while also building their own leadership skills,” says Stephanie Hughes, dairy farmer from Pittsville, Wis. and Chair of the Young Cooperator Executive Committee.

The program consists of four one-day long classes throughout the year. Members will gain a greater understanding of what it means to be a cooperative member and the important role members play in guiding the organization into the future. Three themes make up the year-long program, including:

  • Discovering Your Strengths & Understanding Cooperative Business – March 4, 2020
  • Understanding Your Industry – April 8, 2020; August 19, 2020
  • Raising Your Voice – October 21, 2020

Participants will meet and network with dairy leaders, including dairy plant owners, cheesemakers, leading dairy economists, other dairy cooperative leaders, as well as state and federal government agency experts.

“We wanted this program to focus on developing the leadership skills of members of all ages, not just the youngest generation,” says Travis Clark, dairy farmer from Rosendale, Wis. and Vice-Chair of the Young Cooperator Executive Committee. “The program is designed to connect dairy farmers with other dairy farmers and other leaders. Processors, economists, experts – leaders from all across the industry are a part of the 2020 leadership program.”

“Working with a smaller group over four days during the year allows for more one-on-one learning,” says Julie Sweney, Director of Communications & Marketing for FarmFirst. “There’s so much in our industry to learn about, and this program is a great opportunity for members to see how segments of the industry are connected together.”

FarmFirst members are encouraged to learn more about the program by visiting or by calling FarmFirst at 608-244-3373. Meetings are tentatively set for Madison, Wis. Spots are limited! Interested members should complete the simple online application as soon as possible! Application closes January 13, 2020.

FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative, established in 2013 and based in Madison, Wis., represents farmers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana by providing legislative and regulatory advocacy, dairy marketing services, disaster protection, laboratory testing opportunities and industry promotion. FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative is a merger of three long-time prominent Wisconsin-based cooperatives. Learn more about FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative by visiting: