Dilland built stronger MMPA,
able to adapt to market trends

Editor’s note: This article is reprinted from the annual report
issue of “Michigan Milk Messenger,” the membership magazine of
the Michigan Milk Producers Association.

or three-and-a-half decades, Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) has benefited from the steadfast and dedicated leadership of John Dilland. He has successfully led MMPA through a continuously changing path. MMPA’s journey through volatile markets, changing leaders and evolving industry issues was guided by a man with the integrity and intelligence needed to be successful for generations.

As the controller, director of finance and then the general manager of MMPA, Dilland's leadership ability helped direct the cooperative through some challenging times. As the largest milk marketing cooperative based in Michigan, MMPA has a great deal of influence on the milk marketing climate within the Great Lakes region. As the “numbers man” behind the cooperative, Dilland helped shape MMPA into one of the most financially stable cooperatives in the country.

Dilland’s initial challenge when he began his career at MMPA was to restructure the balance sheet of the cooperative. He then helped lead the transition from the fluid market into a high-quality line of value-added dairy products. This move, coupled with streamlining plant production, strengthened the overall economy for Michigan dairy farmers. The overall effect generated additional earnings, which gave the cooperative the ability to pay higher premiums to members.

While he was serving as the director of finance, Dilland helped craft one of the first dairy cooperative partnerships with Leprino Foods Inc. This initial agreement helped both parties become successful in Michigan. The MMPA-Leprino partnership helped assist MMPA in becoming more diversified and, ultimately, financially stronger.

In 2003, Dilland was appointed MMPA’s general manager. Since taking over the leadership reins of the cooperative, he has again worked to fine-tune the cooperative’s marketing structure. In 2005, another landmark arrangement between Leprino Foods, Dairy Farmers of America and MMPA was signed, further solidifying the milk-supply agreement. As he gets ready to leave MMPA, a new chapter of milk processing at the MMPA Ovid plant will begin.

Dilland’s ability to project long-range goals in a turbulent business environment has allowed the cooperative to take advantage of changing market trends without sacrificing the cooperative’s mission to market members’ milk to the greatest possible advantage.

His leadership abilities have also been tapped by national organizations. He has served in leadership capacities on several national organizations, including the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Society of Accountants for Cooperatives and the National Milk Producers Federation. On the state level, he served on the board of directors for the Michigan FFA Foundation and Michigan Dairy Memorial and Scholarship Foundation.

The members and employees of MMPA will miss the leadership, experience and friendship Dilland has provided this past 35 years. We wish him and his wife, Barb, well in retirement.

Galarneau new
MMPA leader

Clay Galarneau has been selected as the new general manager of Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA), succeeding John Dilland. Co-op President Ken Nobis announced the selection at MMPA’s annual meeting. Galarneau is a 25-year employee of the cooperative, having served in the accounting and sales departments, and most recently serving as director for manufactured product sales and plant operations.

“Clay has a strong financial background and has led a successful manufactured products sales team that has expanded sales and increased returns to the dairy farmer members of MMPA,” said Nobis. “He has supervised the co-op’s manufacturing plants and most recently has led the MMPA team responsible for planning and implementing the successful expansion of our plant at Ovid. We are confident that Clay will manage our cooperative in a manner that will continue to build on the successes we have enjoyed in the past.”

Galarneau was chosen from a slate of six candidates following an executive search led by a Washington, D.C.- based executive search firm that specializes in cooperative, agricultural and food industry businesses.

Founded in 1916, MMPA is owned and controlled by more than 2,100 dairy producers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.

May/June Table of Contents