Lanco Annual Meeting
There are some dairy cooperatives which seem to really be working for the benefit of their members. Lanco-Pennland Quality Milk Producers, commonly known as simply Lanco is just such a co-op.
Although Lanco is headquartered in Hagerstown Maryland, many of the members are concentrated in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. As might be expected, the vast majority of members are Amish or Mennonite.
Lanco member’s commitment to quality is evidenced by the fact that the average somatic cell count for the previous year was 279,000.
On July 28, 2009 Lanco’s annual meeting presented members with details provided by a few cooperatives. Every penny of expenses was detailed and listed for members to see.
Lanco has returned or reserved 91% of all milk revenue to its members. Lanco has $2 million in equity. In the previous year the cooperative has subsidized trucking by $1.8 million.
These are tough times and in the upcoming months Lanco will send out checks to members to help make it through these times at a rate of four cents per hundredweight.
Lanco was started in 1998 with 30 members. Today there are over 700 members. Approximately 70% of the members are plain people, Amish and Mennonite. Therefore, most of the farms are smaller than average creating something of a logistical disadvantage with Lanco’s competitors.
Additionally, Lanco is shutout of many plants because of full supply agreements with DFA/DMS, their trucks must drive past plants to find a home for member’s milk. Therefore, it is a tribute to both management and members that Lanco has grown steadily.
At the annual meeting, the members attending seem to appreciate the amount of data presented by Lanco CEO Kurt Williams. Kurt went through a detailed explanation of the co-ops finances.
Next, Kurt and I gave a joint power point presentation on some of the factors affecting current farm milk price. The audience remained attentive throughout the entire meeting.
Dairy farmers need more cooperatives such as Lanco.