Better With Butter

AMPI dedicates rebuilt plant and solidifies its future in the Midwest dairy industry.
The dairy farmer owners and employees of the dairy marketing cooperative Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) in December dedicated their rebuilt butter churning and packaging plant in New Ulm, a south-central Minnesota town located in the heart of AMPI’s seven-state membership area.
The plant, which occupies much of a city block, was nearly destroyed by fire in December 2004.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and a host of local, state and federal officials were on hand to congratulate AMPI members for reinvesting in the Minnesota dairy industry. Following last year’s fire, the cooperative’s board of directors chose to rebuild the facility, signaling a long-term commitment to Midwest dairy farmers and the butter business.
“Minnesotans are strong people who are resilient in the face of loss,” Pawlenty says. “The return of this plant is tremendous news for the hardworking dairy farmers of this region and the whole Minnesota economy. It’s yet another promise of the bright future that lies ahead of us.”Churning and packaging butter is one way AMPI dairy farmers add value to their milk. “This plant will enable us to further diversify our milk marketing business, offering a complete line of dairy products to customers,” says Mark Furth, AMPI general manager.
During plant reconstruction, AMPI gradually increased production as packaging equipment was rebuilt. Production at the plant is now nearing the pre-fire capacity. “Rebuilding gave us an opportunity to improve our butter packaging equipment and plant. This butter plant is now more efficient, enabling us to increase overall volume,” Furth says. “This plant will help us improve our farmer-owned business.”
MANNING MOVES ON
Jeff Manning, the executive director of the California Milk Processor Board and the guiding force behind the ever-popular “got milk?” campaign since its inception in 1993, has left the milk board to launch Got Manning?, a brand and category development firm. Joining the milk board in 1993 as its first employee, Manning is credited with transforming “got milk?” from a local tag line into one of the best known, most influential campaigns in advertising, as well as a licensed property a pop culture icon. Along the way, Manning helped reposition and reignite milk and unify a $22 billion industry. Moving forward, Manning will take his client and ad agency experience to help reposition and reignite mature brands and categories. He will bring a unique perspective to clients, combining experience with companies such as P&G, Clorox, Safeway and Bank of America, with a record of generic programs including beef, eggs, potatoes and, of course, milk.