Out of forty producers who attended a mini conference on the future of the dairy industry in Ohio, forty stood-up to show their commitment to establishing a new association of progressive dairy producers in Ohio.
The problem of a declining dairy industry is not new to Ohio. To address the issue, the industry, under the leadership of Ohio Senator Grace Drake, formed the Ohio Dairy Strategic Planning Task Force in December 1993. An extensive report, Ohio Dairy Industry Strategic Plan was issued in June 1995. One of the recommendations was To form an Ohio Professional Dairy Producers organization. Ohio State University Extension, in partnership with Monsanto, organized a mini conference where forty dairy producers were asked to reflect on the status of their industry. Late that evening, Dr. Bernie Erven, a well known OSU Agricultural Economist addressed the crowd and asked Those of you willing to commit and support a professional dairy producers association, please stand up Not one person remained seated.
An interim Board was elected and consists of: Dale Arbaugh (Jewett), Debbie Ayars (Perrysville), Doug Billman (Burbank), John Douglass (Marshallville), Michael Fullenkamp, (Fort Recovery), Ron Hatfield (Centerburg), John Mast (Millersburg), Ed Pfeifer (Bucyrus), Robin Steiner (Creston), and Randy Winner (Yorkshire). John Douglass was elected interim President of the Progressive Dairy Producers of Ohio (PDPO).We want this association to set the agenda for the dairy industry in Ohio, as opposed to being told what the agenda is said Douglass.We are currently defining the issues that affect all class of dairy producers in the state. We want to form an extensive network of producers to determine research needs, education opportunities, and share our management experiences. We want to insure a next generation of dairymen in Ohio he added.