NOVI, Mich. — Brent and Emily Simon of Westphalia, Michigan, were selected as the state winning 2020 Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators (OYDC) by a panel of judges represented by leaders in the Great Lakes dairy industry.
As the state winning cooperators, Simons will represent MMPA at various industry and association activities. Drew and Beth Rupprecht of Vassar, Michigan, were selected as the runner-up young cooperators. Selection of the OYDC is based on the applicant’s farming operations, farm-related and community activities and demonstrated leadership abilities.
The Simons operate a quality award winning farm with 930 cows and 2,300 acres. They are members of the MMPA Mid-Michigan Local in District 6.
“The mission of Simon Dairy Farm is to produce the highest quality product possible while maintaining our families, employees and livestock as the highest priority,” the Simons said.
Brent is a graduate of the dairy management program at Michigan State University, while Emily has a bachelor’s degree from Davenport University. The farm was selected as a platinum quality award winner from the National Mastitis Council in 2016, has twice hosted the Alta Genetics showcase tour and was a World Dairy Expo virtual farm tour presenter in 2011. Brent serves as an MMPA delegate for District 6.
Brent and Emily were one of several finalists invited to the annual OYDC Conference held Aug. 11. They were selected to participate in the program earlier this year by fellow dairy farmers in their local area. The OYDC Conference provides participants with information about milk marketing activities, cooperatives, milk testing procedures and other current events within the dairy industry. The program has been held annually for 70 years.
This year’s program was an outdoor, modified meeting in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Though the conference is typically two days long and held at the MMPA headquarters, the meeting was adjusted to be in compliance with state regulations related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. The meeting also included a tour of Weber Family Dairy, owned by 2019 OYDC James Weber.
2020 Outstanding Young Cooperators Finalists (in alphabetical order):
- Steven and Grace Adamic, North Branch, MI
- Josie Diehl, Lupton, MI
- Jesse and Chelsea Ramer, Elkhart, IN
- Drew and Beth Rupprecht, Vassar, MI
- Kip and Rochelle Siegler, Imlay City, MI
- Brent and Emily Simon, Westphalia, MI
MMPA is a dairy farmer owned cooperative founded in 1916. MMPA serves approximately 1,300 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, handling approximately 5 billion pounds of milk annually. MMPA operates two SQF Level 3 certified manufacturing plants in Michigan and a cheese plant in Indiana. Products made at MMPA’s plants include cheese, ultra-filtered milk, butter, milk powder, cream and condensed skim milk.