As five dairy farmers continue a governance mission to Mexico, they file updates on social media, with this day-by-day travelogue rounding up their best posts.
When it comes to win-win dairy trading relationships, it’s hard to top the partnership between the United States and Mexico, our “número uno” export market, worth $1.4 billion last year, with no other country close.
Five Dairy Management Inc. board members, all U.S. dairy farmers, are on a six-day trip (October 20-25) to Mexico building relationships and gaining insights into what has been and what is expected to remain a vital market for the milk U.S. dairy farmers produce and the products and ingredients dairy suppliers export.
Five Dairy Management Inc. board members, all dairy farmers, pose in Torreón Monday with USDEC Mexico Representative Rodrigo Fernandez (fourth from left) on the campus of Lala, the largest dairy processor in Mexico. For names and mini-bios of the board members, scroll to the bottom of this page.
Over the years, farmer “missions” sponsored by the U.S. Dairy Export Council have given DMI board members the opportunity to examine how dairy checkoff dollars are being spent and to see with their own eyes what farmers are getting for their financial support of USDEC.
U.S. dairy farmers on the governance mission to Mexico are:
- Larry Hancock
- Marilyn Hershey
- Chace Fullmer
- Evan Hillan
- Kathleen Skiba
Scroll to the bottom of this page to read their mini-bios.
Get same-day reports on social media
In years past, farmers gave presentations about their findings to dairy groups after the trip. That still happens.
What’s new, beginning with last year’s mission to Tokyo and Hong Kong, is that USDEC has turned farmers into embedded reporters sharing on social media what they see and learn the day they experience it.
About this updating travelogue
What follows is a one-stop travelogue, displaying in reverse chronological order social media posts by the dairy farmers themselves along with photos and other information from USDEC.
We urge others in the dairy industry to follow and share these reports on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by searching for the hashtag #USfarmersMexico and checking the roundup on this page for daily updates.
Wednesday October 23
Tuesday, October 22
The group had an opportunity to tour the research and innovation center and UHT plant of Lala, the largest dairy processor in Mexico and among the largest in the world. Participants heard that it takes up to two years to develop new products from concept to sales.
Participants went on a personal tour of one of Lala’s many dairy farms.
Kathleen Skiba, dairy farmer from Minnesota, admires the farm’s rotary milking parlor, shown below.
Touring the Lala plant and dairy farm gave the participants a better understanding of Mexico’s milk production potential.
Monday, October 21
Larry Hancock, right, newly elected chairman of U.S. Dairy Export Council, joined Mexican dairy farmers and processors Monday in a wide-ranging discussion on topics facing both the U.S. and Mexican dairy industries, including sustainability and animal welfare. Keith Muirfield, CEO of United Dairymen of Arizona, is shown at left.
DMI Chair Marilyn Hershey, left, participated in a discussion with Mexican dairy farmers, as did John Wilson, corporate vice president of marketing and planning at Dairy Farmers of America; John Dardis, senior vice president of U.S. corporate affairs at Glanbia, and Sue Taylor, vice president of dairy economics and policy at Leprino Foods.
Mission participants heard a presentation from the chief executive officer of Lala, Mexican’s largest dairy processor and one of the largest in the world. Some of Lala’s products are shown here.
Attending the meeting were representatives of the organizations of milk producers and the dairy processors of the United States and Mexico: NMPF, USDEC, ANGLAC, CNOG and CANILEC. They addressed a variety of topics, including the joint promotion of activities that increase dairy consumption in Mexico.
Sunday, October 20
- Larry Hancock, who runs a 4,200-cow dairy farm in Muleshoe, Texas, with his wife, Pam, and two of their children. He was recently elected as chairman of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. He serves on boards of the United Dairy Industry Association, Dairy Farmers of America, the country’s largest farmer-owned dairy cooperative, and Dairy Max, a checkoff-funded organization that represents farmers in the south-central and southwestern United States.
- Marilyn Hershey, who runs an 800-cow dairy in Cochranville Pa., with her husband Duane. She is chair of Dairy Management Inc. and a director on both the National Dairy Promotion Board and the United Dairy Industry Association boards. She has been active in the Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program and the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association speaker’s bureau. In 2017, she was named the World Dairy Expo Woman of the Year.
- Chace Fullmer, who runs a 2,500-cow dairy in Sigurd, Utah, with his father and two brothers. He serves on the boards of the United Dairy Industry Association, Utah Dairy Commission and Dairy West, a checkoff-funded organization that represents dairy farm families in Idaho and Utah.
- Evan Hillan, who milks 350 cows and farms 1,400 acres in Ladysmith, Wis. He serves on the Land O’Lakes Leadership Council for Wisconsin, as well as the DMI board where he is on the exports committee.
- Kathleen Skiba, who runs a 180-cow dairy in North Branch, Minn., with her husband, David. She serves on the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board of DMI.