Sheila Burkhardt and Ken Nobis
For the past 100 years, MSU Extension has enjoyed a partnership with the Michigan
Milk Producers Association (MMPA) to support youth programs, and this year,
to respond to the Flint water emergency. Long-term partnerships are important
to MSU Extension, not only to support ongoing educational efforts, but also to
respond to immediate needs.
When MSU Extension Director Jeff Dwyer mentioned that our staff members were
working with Flint residents to ensure they had access to foods high in calcium,
iron, and vitamin C to block the absorption of lead, MMPA President Ken Nobis
quickly offered to provide Flint with milk, high in those important nutrients. MMPA
brought together 2,000 dairy farm families to donate 12,000 gallons of milk for
distribution to Flint families. And they did so not just once, but twice. The dairy
cooperative also rallied Kroger, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, and Quickway to
make it happen.
MMPA has provided financial support through gifts totaling more than $100,000
to the Michigan 4-H Foundation, plus grant matches, funding for a state 4-H
camp, personnel to assist at youth events, and hosting an annual youth career
development and scholarship program.
Through the numerous programs MMPA sponsors or hosts, thousands of youth
and adults in Michigan have gained new opportunities to learn and grow their
knowledge of the dairy industry. By sponsoring, hosting programs, providing
volunteers, and involving Extension in MMPA events, the organization has
exponentially increased our ability to reach more people.
For its long history of partnership and its generous assistance during an emergency,
we honor MMPA with the MSU Extension Key Partner Award.