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Paynesville Press - April 16, 2003

AMPI reports sales increase

By Michael Jacobson

Associated Milk Producers, Inc., announced recently that their market share, milk volume, and product sales increased in 2002 despite a year of economic challenges.

Though dairy markets hovered at 25-year lows, record cash equity payments totaling $13.3 million were distributed by AMPI to the 4,600 members of the cooperative. AMPI operates on the belief that our member-owners must succeed in order for our business to succeed, said AMPI President Paul Toft, a dairy producer from Rice Lake, Wis.

AMPI's commitment to dairy producers and the Midwest had a direct impact on the cooperative's growth in 2002, said AMPI General Manager Mark Furth. Despite the shrinking number of dairy operations in the Midwest, AMPI's membership remained steady. Milk volume increased by three percent. Sales of AMPI's consumer-packaged cheese, butter, and instant milk also trended upward in 2002. Already the nation's leading producer of cheddar cheese, innovations in packaging, sizes, and varieties were credited with helping AMPI grab an even larger share of the market.

More than 500 AMPI members and industry guests attended the annual meeting last week and reviewed the cooperative's legislative priorities, including urging lawmakers to impose tariff-rate quotas on dairy protein imports which depress dairy markets. The imports displace domestically-produced nonfat dry milk which, in turn, must be purchased by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the dairy price support program.

AMPI's operational highlights for 2002 include: 4,600 member farms; 5.2 billion pounds of milk production; $1 billion in sales; $100,000 in earnings; and $13.3 million in equity payments. AMPI includes dairy operations located throughout the Midwest states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, and North Dakota. AMPI members own 14 manufacturing plants and market a full line of dairy products.

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