Today Michigan Milk Producers (our milk co-op) held its 100th annual meeting. A farmer greeted us when we got there, saying, "Good morning! I'm looking forward to the next 100!" I loved the optimism from the start.
All the speakers went for optimism in these days of rough times for dairy farmers. Our governor Rick Snyder talked the business part of it, plus how he shares the milk in his cereal with his dog (we don't care who's drinking it!), and his eternal quest for the perfect blueberry ice cream. He finished with a heartfelt talk about how we can make sure that this business is here for our kids for the next 100 years. He said he knows it's not about the money, it's about the quality of life, what we respect, and what's important to us. He said he knows we will continue to evolve to get the best benefits for our families and farms.
Later in the program we heard from Dr. Phillip Knight from the Food Bank Council of Michigan. He thanked us for our milk donations, and then he quoted Edmund Burke, who said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." He said that the biggest mistake people make is to choose to do nothing because we believe we can only do a little. He said that all donations make a difference to a hungry person someone, somewhere. He said he would continue to give his life for providing for people, and thanked us for our part in it.
Then MMPA's president Ken Nobis came up and announced that we were donating 100 gallons of milk a day for a year.
Guys, Dr. Knight cried! Then I cried! He spoke again and was all choked up. It was moving ... I didn't expect to feel like this during a regular meeting.
Farmers are optimists at heart. We think the weather will improve, our crops will grow, our cattle will thrive, and prices will rebound. We think our families will like this lifestyle, we'll continue providing food for everyone, and that we'll be able to keep doing it for generations to come. Hearing speakers like this and talking to everyone today makes me think about how we're all in this together.
So, happy birthday, MMPA! 100 is huge. Cheers with milk, whether it's in your glass or your dog's bowl!
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