Home News Dairy Industry Western United Dairyman Thanks the Board Members who Served their Full Terms, Retiring at Convention Next Week

Western United Dairyman Thanks the Board Members who Served their Full Terms, Retiring at Convention Next Week

Turlock, Calif., (March 27, 2018) – Mike Zylstra: Mike spent more time at the office than most board members because of his role as treasurer. His dedication to accurate numbers and getting to the bottom of things was exceptional and has greatly served WUD’s members for many years. What he learned throughout his time on the board that surprised him the most is that regardless of geography, size or production practices, dairy families share a common set of values: dedication to family and integrity are paramount. Mike’s dairy, a Holstein herd in the Modesto area, has been in operation for over 35 years. If you ask him how many cows he milks, he will probably answer “too many”. He and his wife of 11 years, Amy, have three sons (9,7, and 5 years old) that he hopes one day may get involved in the family business. Spending time with family and playing outdoor sports (particularly snow skiing) are things he enjoys when he is not busy with cows. His hopes for the California dairy industry? That future generations would be hindered less by government policy.

Larry Pietrowski: Larry’s family business may have started in Chino in the 50’s but he and his wife of 37 years, Mary, are now located in Madera where they milk 6,000 Holstein. They have four children and are soon to be grandparents for the first time this fall. In his spare time, Larry likes to play hockey. Larry certainly brought an unparalled passion to the board and was never afraid of sharing an opinion. During his time on the board, two things were particularly surprising to him: 1) despite all the talks between groups, the industry is splintered into many factions: producers, processors, and co-ops. But also various groups within those. Regarding the producers, he added that last time he checked “we are all CALIFORNIA producers. It would be nice if those producers remaining would speak with one united voice to achieve what’s best for the producers”. The second thing that surprised him the most was the lack of knowledge our elected representatives (he did note there are a few exceptions) have about our industry: “They do not know the who, what, when and most importantly why we do what we do.” For the sake of family owned dairies and their employee’s families, he hopes the industry can survive the onslaught of regulations, low milk price and return to a profitability. He further hopes the State realizes the value dairy farms bring to the State, community and all our hard working employees. He concluded his term with this statement: “It has been a honor for me to serve as a board member of Western. All the board members, past and present, have displayed great commitment to our organization. They have always put the interest of the California producer first. I believe our staff is the best in the industry”.

John Goyenetche: John was born on the family dairy in Chino and is still involved on the dairy after it moved to Bakersfield 18 years ago. He has served on the board dutifully for almost all his 30’s. John’s capacity to listen to other people’s opinion with respect and his unwavering positive attitude will certainly be missed. What he learned throughout his time on the board that surprised him the most is the constant challenges facing the industry. He doesn’t think most dairyman realize the issues the board handles on a monthly basis at board meetings. To him, this was motivation as it felt good to be at the forefront of these issues, being aware of what is happening and feeling like you are trying to make a positive impact for your fellow dairymen. Looking back at history and how the industry has evolved the last hundred years, he wonders what the next hundred will look like with ever-increasing regulations and scrutiny. Though it may be hard to stay positive at times, his hopes for the California dairy industry is that legislators and the public alike realize the importance of a sustainable California dairy industry and a safe, local food supply. With that support, he is confident the industry can flourish for years to come. When John is not around cows, he likes to travel and spend time with friends and family over a good meal and drinks. At the end of the day, he says, that’s what life is all about!

John Oostdam: John’s dedication to the board and fellow dairymen was evident; never complaining about the long trips from his dairy in Southern California to Modesto each month, he was always eager to explore ideas that could benefit the industry. Not a stranger to being involved, he is also a LOL delegate a long term board member of DHIA. Through his involvement he met a lot of good people over the years and realized there are a lot of dairymen out there that want to get involved and do what is best for the industry. Still, one thing he learned throughout his time on the board that surprised him is that there is a lot to this industry. Things have changed from his fathers’ generation and as he reminisced of simpler times where new rules and regulations didn’t bring new impacts to the dairy, he wished all dairymen could get involved so they could understand all the issues that affect them. When he is not thinking about cows, John loves to water ski and go on family trips. Options abound as he has four girls and four grandkids, with one on the way. One daughter is involved on the dairy with her husband. His hopes for the California dairy industry? That the regular average family dairy can survive. He hopes the FMMO can help decreasing the loss of dairies so that consolidation can slow down and smaller producers can also survive.

Thank you John, John, Larry and Mike for your me and efforts toward the betterment of the California dairy industry!

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