Hiland Dairy, founded in 1938 and based in Springfield, Miss., announced that after 20 years of leading Hiland Dairy and growing the company substantially in sales and the number of operating facilities, Gary Aggus will step down as the company’s president on April 1. 

Dairy veteran Rick Beaman will assume the role of president.

Aggus’ leadership and commitment to excellence have been instrumental in the company’s growthHiland has grown from six plants in three states to 19 plants and 64 distribution centers in 10 states, and sales have increased from $400 million to approximately $2 billion. When Aggus became president, Hiland had a staff of fewer than 800, and today, Hiland has nearly 4,000 employees.

During Aggus’ tenure, Hiland began acquiring other dairy brands purchasing plants in Fayetteville and Fort Smith, Arkansas, in 1985. Throughout the years, growth and expansion into Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Texas followed. Most recently, the company acquired Borden Dairy’s assets in Texas. This move expanded Hiland’s footprint and supported economic growth and development for the company and its communities.

“I am very pleased the company has achieved the nice growth it has, and I attribute that to the great employees I have had the privilege to work with the past 20 years that I have served as president,” Aggus said.

Aggus has spent his entire career in the dairy industry. He worked at Foremost Dairy in Joplin, Missouri, while attending college at Missouri Southern State University, graduating in 1976. Aggus joined Hiland Dairy in 1984 as a district sales manager, working his way up the ranks to become president in 2003. In 2006, Gary was promoted to Chief Operating Officer and President of Joint Ventures of Prairie Farms Dairy. 

Serving in leadership positions and achieving accolades throughout his career, Aggus has served as a board member of the International Dairy Foods Association, MilkPEP, Quality Chekd Dairies, Inc., the Missouri Dairy Products Association, and as a member of the Missouri Grocers Association. Aggus was inducted into the Missouri Dairy Hall of Honor in 2009 and was named MSSU Outstanding Alum that same year. In 2021, The Missouri Grocers Association awarded him their Lifetime Achievement Award.

While stepping down as president, Aggus is not stepping away and will continue to consult with the company to which he has contributed so much. He is looking forward to a reduced work schedule, spending time with family, and enjoying his favorite hobbies like golf, fishing, and relaxing at the family’s Table Rock Lake house.

Hiland Dairy is a farmer-owned dairy food company. Their widely loved products include milk, dips, cottage cheese, flavored milk, sour cream, ice cream, butter, cheese, and eggnog. In addition, Hiland Dairy has expanded beyond dairy and produces and distributes various other beverages, such as Red Diamond Tea, lemonade, and fresh juices.