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Westby Cooperative Creamery reports growth and profit at annual meeting

February 7, 2014
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The 110th Annual Meeting of Westby Cooperative Creamery, Westby, Wis., drew an audience of over one-hundred-fifty member-owners, employees, and guests to Our Saviors Lutheran Church in downtown Westby, WI, on Thursday, January 23, 2014. After a luncheon prepared and served by church volunteers, the meeting was called to order by Board President Loren Oldenburg at 12:30pm. Participants then heard financial auditor and management reports on a record setting year of $55-million in revenues, resulting in a profitable year. A portion of these profits have been allocated as patronage distribution payable in equities and cash to all members of this family dairy farm cooperative.

Westby Annual Meeting
Board of Directors President, Loren Oldenburg, welcomes attendees to the 110th Annual Meeting of Westby Cooperative Creamery. He thanked members, employees, community friends and business partners in helping to accomplish the cooperative’s mission of strengthening family dairy farms.   

Members of Westby Cooperative Creamery supply both conventional and certified-organic milk to their cooperative, all of which is r-BST-free and Grade-A. It is unique for a single dairy cooperative to receive two types of milk from its members which is marketed as fluid milk for further processing or manufactured locally into cottage cheeses, sour creams, dairy dips, yogurts, butter, cheese curds, soft cheeses and hard cheeses.

Pete Kondrup, General Manager, reported that in the ten years since the cooperative’s centennial year in 2003, growth has been continuous. “Our business has grown from $15-million to $55-million in revenues. Membership has grown from 115 to 175 family dairy farms, and the milk supplied by these members has increased from 85-million to more than 125-million pounds annually. Product production at our Creamery manufacturing facility has increased from 11-million to over 25-million pounds of cultured dairy foods and hard cheeses. This has also meant job creation, with employment growing from 45 to 125 people.”

Calendar year 2013 marked the first full year of operations in the new Distribution Center & General Offices of the cooperative opened in April of 2012. The building features six thousand square-feet of office space and ten thousand square-feet of refrigerated warehouse space with five-high racking for up to one thousand pallets of manufactured dairy food products.

Kondrup said, “Our new Distribution Center is providing the efficiencies as planned in better serving our customers of Westby Brand retail products, Private Label manufactured products, and Food Service and Food Ingredient products. This was an investment in the present and long term growth of our business. Additional investments have been made in our production facility with new product filling and packaging equipment, and upgraded stainless-steel piping for processing. As needed, investments will continue to increase the efficiencies, capacities, and space utilization needed to drive and match our continued growth.”

Loren Oldenburg, board president, said, “We are very pleased with the performance of our business over the past year, a year in which we proudly celebrated the 110th anniversary of Westby Cooperative Creamery. Many of our patron-members are second, third, fourth, or fifth generation family dairy farms; and many are Century or Centennial Farms. Just one example is our family farm, which was started in 1878 by my great grandfather. Although much has changed in 110 years, the mission of our cooperative has not changed. That mission is to support and strengthen family dairy farms by providing a stable, competitive market for our member’s milk, good jobs for our employees and economic strength for our communities. We thank our members, employees, community friends, and business partners in helping to accomplish this mission. Our second century is just beginning.”  

During other business activities at the Annual Meeting, members re-elected Oldenburg and Kay Yanske to three year terms on the Board of Directors; joining Ryan Dunnum, Chuck Fremstad, Ralph Peterscheim, Keith Rach, and Tom Schaub.    

SOURCE: Westby Cooperative Creamery

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