$1.7 billion reported in sales (AMPI)

In a press release March 25th, Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) revealed it delivered sales of $1.7 billion and earnings of $9.3 million in 2012, announced leaders of the milk marketing cooperative owned by 2,900 Upper Midwest dairy farmers. Some 350 voting delegates and guests are reviewing the company’s progress during their annual business meeting that concludes tomorrow at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bloomington, Minn.

AMPI’s core products were the cooperative’s top performers in 2012. Cheese production, which represents 57 percent of total sales, grew by more than 11 million pounds as compared to one year earlier. Butter production continued to grow steadily, increasing 5 million pounds. Consumer-packaged cheese and butter represented nearly half of the cooperative’s sales.

“Our cheese-packaging plant in Portage, Wis., and the New Ulm, Minn., butter plant were major contributors to the cooperative’s bottom line. In the last five years, our consumer-packaged cheese and butter sales have grown exponentially,” said AMPI President and CEO Ed Welch, who indicated orders from food service customers fueled much of the growth.

Following the performance review, AMPI Chairman of the Board Steve Schlangen discussed the cooperative’s strategies for long-term performance. “As a dairy farmer-owned cooperative, AMPI is uniquely positioned to market our locally produced dairy products to food service, retail and food ingredient customers across the nation,” Schlangen said.

Strengthening the cooperative’s manufacturing portfolio, with a renewed focus on cheese, butter and powdered dairy products, led to the sale of two businesses in 2012. “Selling the

Cass-Clay® plant and brand in Fargo, N.D., and our cheese sauce and pudding business in Dawson, Minn., was a bold step,” Schlangen said. “However, these two businesses accounted for only 5 percent of AMPI’s total annual revenue.”

The annual meeting culminates with delegates considering resolutions and reviewing the cooperative’s legislative priorities.

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