Photo above: AMPI's Co-President/CEO, Sheryl Doering-Meske provides attendees with the history of AMPI
The Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) leadership team partnered with the Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) to host the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for a Round Table Networking Luncheon at the AMPI Jim Falls location.
During the event over 25 business leaders met with the DNR’s Regional Representative Dan Baumann and discussed DNR topics that impact their businesses. Attendees discussed topics from frac sand mining and reclamation, storm water improvements, to improved communication with the agency. A large portion of the discussion also centered on the Wisconsin dairy industry and plants such as AMPI. Sheryl Doering-Meshke, AMPI’s Co-President and Chief Executive Officer and Randy Paulson, Jim Falls’ Division Manager welcomed the business group and provided the history of AMPI and discussed the many challenges due to the high costs associated with energy use, chemicals, and manpower needed to meet the Wisconsin DNR’s new waterway phosphorus standards. Senator Terry Moulton noted that dairy plants are minor contributors of phosphorus in the Wisconsin waterways and like many dairy plants throughout Wisconsin, including AMPI, they face these challenges too, that is why in the State’s budget the DNR must perform an economic impact report concerning these new regulations. CCEDC’s President/CEO Charlie Walker shared concerns of Wisconsin’s multi-state cheese making operations possibly losing their cheese making competitiveness thus forcing them to reduce their cheese production in Wisconsin and move it to more competitive Midwestern locations. Chippewa County’s Administrator Frank Pascarella took the opportunity to share with AMPI and the attendees Chippewa County’s plans to rebuild the Cobban bridge- this new bridge will have a better design and safety features and should assist in transportation and logistics to and from the Jim Falls area. “The department has to work hand in hand with business and conservation interests to balance impacts to the environmental with environmental protection. Managing natural resources is not something DNR can do, or should do on our own. We need feedback and input from all our partners, whether that is a builder/developer, an industry or a lake front property owner. A shared commitment to economic success and strong environmental ethic is an easy outcome when we work together. Please continue to use Chippewa County EDC’s excellent support, or feel free to call me directly when you have questions or concerns,” stated Dan Baumann, Wisconsin DNR’s Regional Representative. Following the event attendees suited up for a tour of the facility to see the state of the art equipment and investment that AMPI utilizes in their cheese production.
The primary mission of the CCEDC is to be a catalyst for economic development in Chippewa County and foster a strong economic environment which supports businesses and nurtures growth and new investment in the region. For that reason we made this opportunity available for business owners/leaders to attend.
The event was held on March 9, 2016 and was sponsored by AMPI. AMPI is a dairy marketing cooperative owned by 2,500 Midwest dairy farm families who operate farms in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. AMPI members own 10 manufacturing plants and market cheese, butter and powdered dairy products. The AMPI Jim Falls plant is a cheese producing plant and also the world’s largest producer of the company’s award winning pepper jack cheese.