By Eric Anderson
Associated Milk Producers Inc. has announced that it has delivered sales of $1.7 billion and earnings of $9.3 million in 2012. The cooperative’s core products were its top performers: cheese production, constituting 57% of total sales, rose by over 11 million pounds from last year.
Butter production has grown steadily, increasing by 5 million pounds. Consumer-packaged cheese and butter represented nearly half of the cooperative’s sales.
"Our cheese-packaging plant in Portage, Wis., and the New Ulm, Minn., butter plant were major contributors to the cooperative's bottom line. In the last five years, our consumer-packaged cheese and butter sales have grown exponentially," said AMPI President and CEO Ed Welch, who said orders from food service customers fueled much of the growth.
Following the performance review, AMPI Chairman of the Board Steve Schlangen discussed the cooperative's strategies for long-term performance. "As a dairy farmer-owned cooperative, AMPI is uniquely positioned to market our locally produced dairy products to food service, retail and food ingredient customers across the nation," Schlangen said.
With a renewed focus on cheese, butter, and dairy products, strengthening the cooperative’s manufacturing portfolio led to the sale of two businesses in 2012. The Cass-Clay plant and brand in Fargo, N.D., and the cheese sauce and pudding business in Dawson, Minn., which together accounted for 5 percent of AMPI's total annual revenue.
AMPI is a dairy marketing cooperative owned by 2,900 dairy farmers who market 5.6 billion pounds of milk.
Members operate dairy farms located throughout the Upper Midwest states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. The members market a full line of consumer-packaged dairy products.