Farm Credit again sponsors unique event that brings the state’s dairy industry leaders together
Next week, one of the oldest trade associations in California will again bring the leaders of the state’s dairy industry to the shores of Lake Tahoe for its 123rd annual meeting. Formed in 1900, the California Creamery Operators Association is one of the longest-standing dairy associations in the nation. Each year, CCOA brings together dairy producers, processors, academia, consultants and other allied industry members to share information and discuss key issues important to the entire dairy community.
“The dairy industry recognizes this conference is unique, and that there’s value in getting key leaders together once a year to discuss what’s on the horizon,” said Michael Boccadaro, CCOA’s executive director.
“The conference, on June 26th and 27th, will illustrate dairy’s global outlook, including the trends, policies, and innovations shaping the future. And given California’s leadership in climate policy and sustainability, several sessions will discuss the realities of transitioning to clean energy; reducing emissions from farms, plants, and truck fleets; and meeting consumer, customer, and policymaker expectations.”
The conference is important for the industry and the state as a whole because the dairy industry is the state’s largest agricultural sector, said Art Moessner, American AgCredit‘s dairy team lead.
“Our dairy farmers in California are helping to feed the people in our state, our country, and the world,” Moessner said. “The industry contributes nearly $20 billion a year to the gross state product and 180,000 jobs are dependent on milk production and processing. As an association that’s focused on building long-term relationships that are not just transactional, the California Creamery Operations Association Conference affords the opportunity to listen to the unique challenges our dairy partners face, and partner with farmers through the evolving value chain to help them achieve their goals, protect their legacies and grow their future.
“CCOA provides a vital service by bringing industry leaders together each year, and Farm Credit is proud to help sponsor the event.”
Farm Credit organizations supporting CCOA are American AgCredit, CoBank, and Yosemite Farm Credit. These organizations are part of the nationwide Farm Credit System – the largest provider of credit to U.S. agriculture.
Tracy Sparks, President and CEO of Yosemite Farm Credit, noted that California has been the nation’s leading dairy state since 1993, producing 41.9 billion pounds of milk in 2021 – more than one-fifth of the nation’s total production. The state ranks first in production of milk, butter, ice cream and nonfat dry milk and is second in cheese and yogurt production.
“Dairy is particularly important in our region,” Sparks said. “Merced and Stanislaus counties are two of the top five milk-producing counties in the nation, so supporting this conference is an important way we can give back to our members and our community.”
When CCOA was formed, it was, like most trade associations, the advocacy arm of the growing dairy industry in California, Boccadaro said. In fact, in its early years, the association worked with state officials to set standards of quality and sanitation, worked hard to establish what became UC Davis to provide education and research in agriculture, and lobbied Sacramento for policies favorable to the dairy industry.
Today, however, more organizations have formed within the dairy industry, taking on specific roles. The CCOA has focused on its annual conference, now firmly established as an important gathering of the entire California dairy sector.
“There are national events similar to the CCOA Annual Meeting. However, our Board of Directors continues to see value in hosting this conference because California is on the cutting edge. We have the toughest regulations and most ambitious social and environmental policies anywhere. We think it’s important for the California dairy industry to get together once a year to learn from one another and from leading experts as we continue to advance the production, processing, delivery and marketing of high-quality milk and dairy products.”
Topics at this year’s conference will include sustainable water and energy practices, progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions (particularly for methane), the role of dairy-derived renewable natural gas in fueling cleaner transportation and how (or whether) the trucking industry will be able to comply with the state’s new mandate to require all new heavy-duty trucks to be electric by 2036.
Boccadaro said the support of organizations like Farm Credit is crucial to the continued existence of the conference.
“Farm Credit’s support is very significant because it is a continued, dedicated sponsor that we can count on every year,” Boccadaro said. “Sponsorships are what keep this event going. We’re proud of the long history of this event and appreciate that Farm Credit sees value in the CCOA.”
CCOA held its conference every year since its founding in 1900, even during the Spanish flu epidemic and the two world wars, until it was forced to cancel the 2020 event due to the COVID-19 outbreak. A virtual conference was held in 2021 before the in-person event resumed last year. In 2024, the event will move to the new Tahoe Blue Center in Stateline.
About Farm Credit:
American AgCredit, CoBank and Yosemite Farm Credit are cooperatively owned lending institutions providing agriculture and rural communities with a dependable source of credit. For more than 100 years, the Farm Credit System has specialized in financing farmers, ranchers, farmer-owned cooperatives, rural utilities and agribusinesses. Farm Credit offers a broad range of loan products and financial services, including long-term real estate loans, operating lines of credit, equipment and facility loans, cash management and appraisal and leasing services…everything a “growing” business needs. For a link to this article and for more information, visit www.farmcreditalliance.com
The California Creamery Operators Association (CCOA) was established to promote the dairy industry of California. Initially formed in 1900, CCOA is one of the longest-standing, leading dairy associations in the United States. CCOA brings together dairy producers, processors, academia, consultants, and allied industry members to share information and discuss key issues important to the entire dairy community. Through its annual meeting and related activities, CCOA seeks to foster and build relationships that can ensure a vibrant dairy industry. Learn more and join at CCOADairy.org