Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin Director Candidate Information

Wisconsin dairy producers elect 25 fellow producers, one from each district of Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Inc. (WMMB) doing business as Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin (DFW), to administer the Wisconsin Chapter ATCP #144 (Milk Marketing Order).

Mission and role of the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin

Dairy Farmer of Wisconsin's primary mission is to "Grow demand for Wisconsin milk." Key Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin roles within Wisconsin’s dairy industry include: working to establish new markets, funding dairy-related research, educating consumers about the quality and nutritional importance of Wisconsin milk and dairy products, and showcasing the important economic contribution that dairy makes to our communities and our state.

Why was Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin Established?

Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin was established to help affect demand for dairy products. Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin began in 1983 when Wisconsin's dairy farmers voted to organize a mandatory state milk marketing order. Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin was created to:

  • expand and maintain the domestic sales of milk and dairy products
  • develop new products and new markets
  • improve methods and practices related to marketing or processing of milk and dairy products
  • inform and educate consumers

By law, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin does not have the authority to:

  • lobby for or against legislation
  • influence milk prices or production levels (supply)
  • commercially purchase or sell dairy products
  • make false claims about dairy products

What is the Process to become a Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin Director?

Wisconsin's milk marketing order requires the election of a portion (8 or 9 directors) of the marketing board each year. Elected directors will serve a three-year term of office beginning July 1 of the year elected.

Only affected producers are eligible to nominate a director or be nominated.  "Affected producer" is defined as an individual, partnership or other business entity in Wisconsin engaged in the production and sale of milk. Producers must reside in the district in which they are nominated.

Interested and eligible producers (nominees) must complete a Nomination Form, which must be signed by five or more affected producers residing within the nominee's district. An Affidavit of Eligibility (part of the nomination form) must be completed and notarized, and the completed nomination form must be mailed to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection within the stated nomination period.

Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin director candidates should have an understanding of:

  • Dairy food business and marketing
  • How to serve on a business board and manage business affairs
  • The entire dairy industry and factors affecting Wisconsin
  • How to communicate and share Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin news and program results with dairy producers

What are the Director's Roles and Responsibilities?

The board exercises general supervision and control over Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin's business and affairs and discharges all duties as required by law. In addition, the board formulates and sets Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin policies. Directors make policies and procedures consistent with state law and Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin's bylaws for management of business and guidance of the board committees, officers, employees and agents of Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin.

The board approves Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin's long-range business plan and annual budget. Currently, individual directors serve on one of two standing committees: Channel Management or Communications. Some directors will also serve on the Executive, Audit, CDR Liaison or Policy/Bylaw Committees.

Most Board and standing committee meetings are held at the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin's office in Madison based on a fiscal-year schedule approved by the Board. Generally, one-day Board meetings are scheduled in January, March, April, June, July, and October; and two adjacent days of one-day standing committee meetings are held in September or November. However, all meeting dates, meeting length (one or two days), and meeting locations are subject to change.

A director averages 200 hours each year on Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin business, with the chairman and vice chairman committing significantly more time. Directors attend an average of two standing committee meetings and an average of six Board meetings each year. Participation on the Executive Committee and other special committees (e.g. Audit, Policy/Bylaw, CDR) will require additional meeting time. Considerable time may be spent preparing for these meetings by reviewing materials, program progress and budgets. Directors may also be asked to represent Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin at national, state and local industry meetings and events.

Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin recognizes that electronic communication is the quickest and most economical form of communication between directors and staff, so all directors are encouraged to have internet access.

Director Compensation

Because significant time is required for Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin business, some directors must hire additional farm help while away on Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin business. Per diem payments help offset this extra expense. Directors are not compensated for time they spend reviewing material at home, preparing for Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin meetings or responding to producer questions and concerns.

How is a director compensated?

Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin directors are not paid a salary. However, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin directors receive a per diem (daily wage) for time spent away from their farms while on Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin business. They are also reimbursed for expenses incurred while on Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin business. The compensation policy is reviewed annually by the Policy/Bylaw Committee.

Why are per diems needed and how are the rates set?

Chapter ATCP 140 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code states that a marketing board may pay for only those expenses that are "reasonable and necessary for the operation of the marketing board." Thus, the board developed Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin's per diem and expense policy to provide guidance on expense reimbursement.

  1. Necessary: Because Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin is a dairy product promotion organization that is funded by all Wisconsin dairy farmers on a mandatory basis, the board should represent all Wisconsin dairy farmers based on ability, not on who can afford to serve.
  2. Reasonable: To determine an appropriate and reasonable level of per diem paid, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin surveyed other Wisconsin farm organizations to determine their per diem rate policies. Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin's current per diem rate is set at $294.50 per day with the exception of the chairman ($394.50) and the vice chairman ($344.50).

Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin's mileage reimbursement rate for business miles shall equal the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Standard Mileage Rate. Effective 1/1/2024, the rate is $.67 per mile.

How are compensation policies enforced?

An Audit Committee, appointed by the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin's Executive Committee, reviews the director expense forms submitted by all directors at least semi-annually for compliance with board policies. Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin's Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration also reviews each board expense voucher during the processing of these payment requests for compliance with policies and fiscal procedures.

Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin is audited annually by an independent accounting firm and all expense records are open to public inspection under Wisconsin's Open Records Law.