Milk is getting a new voice in America’s Heartland with Edge, a dairy farmer cooperative that is taking a fresh approach to representing its members. Formerly known as the Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative, the new Edge name and identity was unveiled last week at the National Association of Farm Broadcasters annual convention in Kansas City, Mo., and at the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives Government Affairs meeting in Washington, D.C.
“Edge is now representative of the growth and evolution our cooperative has undergone over the past seven years. It’s also a promise of the future,” said John Pagel, a Wisconsin dairy farmer and president of Edge. “We put our members at the forefront of the discussions, giving dairy farmers a voice in matters critical to their businesses and their communities.”
Tim Trotter, executive director of Edge, describes the cooperative as an energetic and progressive organization representing all dairy farmers equally.
“We recognize both the differences and the similarities of farms, regardless of size, business goals, geography and ownership,” Trotter said. “In an industry built on loyalty and trust, Edge challenges complacent perceptions. We believe loyalty and trust can only continue when adjustments are made to represent the changing needs of members.”
As Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative, the organization led a cost reduction for farmers in verification co-ops throughout the market and broke away from traditional bloc voting by giving each member a vote. The cooperative also elevated the voice of farmers in federal policy discussions about global markets, supply management, immigration reform and other issues. Now, with nearly 800 members from farms of all sizes in nine states, the co-op is one of the top in the country for milk volume, sitting at number five on the Hoard’s Dairyman Top 50 list.
During the past two years, the cooperative accelerated its progressive development and increased its value for members. The addition of a federal lobbyist in Washington, D.C., membership in the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and a partnership with the Agriculture Workforce Coalition provide a voice in national policy. At the same time, membership with the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance, Field to Market and the Animal Agriculture Alliance provides a voice with customers and within the agriculture community and makes the cooperative even stronger.
“Now, more than ever, dairy farmers need to be heard. Edge uniquely conveys the individual messages of all members where it matters,” Pagel said. “Milk needs a modern voice – with customers, in the community and in Congress – and the voice of milk is the promise of Edge.”
Over the next several months, the former company and name will be phased out. Members will be transitioned seamlessly to Edge. Farmers who are not currently members now have a fresh opportunity to join the cooperative. In addition to further strengthening its members’ influence on Capitol Hill, Edge will continue to fulfill requirements of federal milk marketing orders as a verification cooperative and provide market information.