By MEGGIE I. FOSTER
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, the newly renamed Indiana Dairy Producers (IDP), formerly the Indiana Professional Dairy Producers, recently hosted a luncheon to show thanks for its many industry partners throughout the year.
“We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the generous support from our industry sponsors,” said IDP Executive Director Doug Leman.
Leman, along with IDP President LuAnn Troxel went on to highlight key sponsors and supporters as well as unveil a new sponsorship level during the Partners in Success luncheon in Indianapolis on Nov. 9.
“We’ve recently created a new, very special sponsorship level for our supporters in the diamond level for a price tag of $7,500,” said Leman.
According to Leman, the diamond level will include all sponsorship level benefits as well as the new diamond logo, the opportunity to provide a topical speaker at a regular meeting, the opportunity to target a customized audience, enhanced opportunities within the IDP newsletter and access to multiple mailings to IDP membership at cost.
Proudly stepping forward during the luncheon on behalf of Milk Promotions of Indiana (MPSI) and the Indiana Dairy Council, Executive Director Deb Osza announced that MPSI will serve as the first diamond level sponsor for IDP. Additionally, Andy Tauer, livestock director with the Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA) declared that ISA and the Indiana Corn Marketing Council would also serve as one of IDP’s first diamond level sponsors.
“The diamond level sponsorship is evidence of MPSI and IDP’s partnership for success,” said Osza. “Ours are two vibrant dairy organizations sharing a dedication and passion for Indiana’s dairy industry. Our two organizations bring complementary resources and expertise to you, Indiana’s dairy farmers. And we share a vision of a robust, vital and profitable Indiana dairy industry. I look forward to continuing to work closely with both Doug and LuAnn and the IDP board; and to the new and additional opportunities afforded MPSI by the diamond level partnership.”
Following the catered lunch on Nov. 9 at the offices of the Indiana Soybean Alliance, Mike Yoder, the first IDP president in 1999 and dairy farmer from Elkhart County, Ind., provided a keynote addressing touching on the early days of the Indiana Dairy Producers.
“Prior to 1999, there was no organized voice for dairy producers, we were relying on volunteers for the most part,” said Yoder. “Consumers need to hear directly from dairy farmers who are excited and passionate about what they do. So a group of us went through a strategic planning process and developed a mission statement for what was to become the Indiana Professional Dairy Producers. In fact, it’s the same mission statement we have today to promote a profitable, positive and professional image of the state’s dairy producers.”
According to Yoder, a few of the early goals of the organization were to help dairy farmers become more profitable, develop policy statements and create a full-time paid position within the organization.
“So many things that we envisioned early on have now become reality,” said Yoder. “Now we have a new name, a great executive director in Doug Leman and the financial support from our industry partners is just phenomenal.”
Yoder said as an industry, “we are still working through policy issues and development, we haven’t made enough progress here, we need to work together more and become a more unified voice of the dairy industry.”
“We need to collaborate in order to move forward on issues such as animal care as well even if it takes five more years, we need to look at these issues, so they won’t beat us down later,” he added.
According to Troxel, IDP is not a checkoff organization, “so we can delve into some of these issues such as education, compliance and take policy action. We want to be there.”
According to Leman, IDP membership currently includes 67 percent of the dairy cows in the state of Indiana.
“We’re going to keep working each and every day to improve that number, but no matter we will continue to serve as the voice, the advocate and the partner for all dairy producers in the state,” said Leman.
Leman encouraged the industry sponsors as well as producers to be a part of the many IDP events throughout the year, including the upcoming Indiana Livestock Forum on Feb. 11, 2013 at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis, where the organization will host its annual meeting and awards banquet.
Additionally, IDP will host a series of regional dairy meetings throughout the state in February in partnership with the Purdue Dairy Extension team and Indiana Forage Council. For a full list of dates and locations, visit www.indianadairy.org or contact Mike Schutz at 765-494-9478 or firstname.lastname@example.org
In advance of the IDP’s annual meeting in February, Troxel encouraged the luncheon guests to begin thinking about nominations for the Indiana Young Dairy Producer of the Year and Indiana Dairy Producer of the Year as applications are due by Jan. 15, 2013.
For an application form, visit www.indianadairy.org
Membership to the organization is $20 a year for any individual actively engaged in dairy farming and $20 a year for an associate membership or any individual interested in the dairy industry.
To become a member of IDP or for additional details, contact Leman at 317-695-8228 or email info@indi