Board Leadership

Meet the farmer leaders who represent Midwest dairy farmers as we work to build trust and demand in dairy.

Midwest Dairy Chairman Allen Merrill.

Allen Merrill, Chairman

Allen Merrill, of Merrill Farms, Inc. in Parker, South Dakota, is the chairman of Midwest Dairy. He farms with his father and son and is pursuing a new business plan for his operation that includes off-farm investments in milking cows with other dairies. He also raises heifers for his farm and for others, and grows corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and oats.

Merrill plays a prominent role in in the dairy industry. In addition to serving as Midwest Dairy chairman, he is as an officer on the Midwest Dairy South Dakota division board and serves in leadership positions on the United Dairy Industry Association and Dairy Management Inc. boards. He also sits on the South Dakota Dairy Producers board and Dairy Farmers of America Central Area Council.

Merrill supports his community by providing dairy cattle for non-farm children in 4-H to show at the county fair, as well as volunteering his time to FFA projects. He is passionate about the School Breakfast Program and ensuring all students have access to healthy meals.

Merrill is married to his wife, Kristi, and they have two children.

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Molly Pelzer, CEO

Molly Pelzer is the CEO of Midwest Dairy, the dairy promotion organization working on behalf of dairy farm families across 10 Midwestern states to build trust and demand for dairy products. Pelzer is the organization’s third CEO in its 19 years of dairy history. Her proven experience in developing programs and resources comes at an exciting time as the organization continues its focus on consumer-centric goals to drive sales and enhance consumer trust for dairy. Her longstanding service to Midwest Dairy, family ties to agriculture and expertise as a registered dietitian root her to an industry she is committed to serving.

In her role as CEO, Pelzer provides strategic guidance to Midwest Dairy’s staff of more than 60 employees as they work to fulfill both the organization’s vision: to bring dairy to life, and its mission: to give consumers an excellent dairy experience. Through her leadership, Midwest Dairy is focusing on maximizing dairy farmers’ investment in the dairy checkoff by strategic collaboration with targeted retailers, foodservice, wellness and industry partners as well as focusing on research that leads to the development of products that meet the needs of today’s changing consumer.

Pelzer also plays the lead role in ensuring the Midwest dairy industry captures its share of the growing global and domestic demand for dairy. Consumers in the U.S. and around the world are increasingly turning to dairy foods because they taste great and offer a strong nutritional profile that includes protein, a nutrient many are looking for in their diets. The U.S. dairy industry is committed to sustainable nutrition, a position recognized favorably among domestic and multinational food companies.

Pelzer joined Midwest Dairy in 1984 and has held various executive leadership roles. In her most recent position as chief experience officer, Pelzer led the development of the organization’s strategic priorities. Prior to Midwest Dairy, she worked with the Midland Dairy Association, as well as Dairy Council, Inc., both former checkoff organizations that are now part of the Midwest Dairy region. A registered dietitian, Pelzer graduated from the University of Missouri – Columbia.

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Corporate Board officers for 2021

Midwest Dairy is directed by a 34-member dairy farmer Corporate board with 13 of those members serving on Dairy Management Inc.’s national board.

Corporate Board members from left to right: Barb Liebenstein, Treasurer; Charles Krause, First Vice Chair; Allen Merrill, Chair; Dan Hotvedt, Second Vice Chair; Lowell Mueller, Secretary

Division Board Leadership

Midwest Dairy has 8 Division boards with leaders representing the farmers in their areas.

2021 Illinois Division

Illinois Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Doug Block, Pearl City
  • Mike Chwasczinski, Ashley
  • Bill Deutsch, Sycamore
  • Ardath DeWall, Shannon
  • Kristi Dinderman, Orangeville
  • Frank Doll, Pocahontas
  • Bryan Henrichs, Breese
  • Amy Hildebrandt, South Beloit
  • David Jarden, Staunton
  • Kurt Johnson, Greenville
  • Kappy Koch, Tremont
  • Donald Mackinson, Pontiac
  • Craig Meng, Freeburg
  • Steve Obert, Orangeville
  • Glen Meier, Ridott
  • Brent Mueller, Garden Prairie

Board officers:

Bill Deutsch, Chair

David Jarden, Vice Chair

Amy Hildebrandt, Secretary

Glen Meier, Treasurer

2021 Iowa Division

Iowa Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

Board officers:

Dan Hotvedt, Chair

Lee Maassen, Vice Chair

Jonna Schutte, Secretary

Larry Shover, Treasurer

2021 Minnesota Division

Minnesota Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

Board officers:

Barb Liebenstein, Chair

Kristine Spadgenske, Vice Chair

Rita Young, Secretary

Suzanne Vold, Treasurer

2021 Mo-Kan Division board

Mo-Kan Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Amy Bunse, Cosby
  • Lynda Foster, Fort Scott
  • Brian Haverkamp, Seneca
  • Chris Heins, Higginsville
  • Byron Lehman, Newton
  • Adam Lenz, Bunceton
  • Orville Miller, (Ex Officio), Hutchinson
  • Tom Oelrichs, Mora
  • Steve Ohlde, Linn
  • Alex Peterson, Trenton
  • Robert Riegel, Washington
  • David Rottinghaus, Seneca
  • Curtis Steenbock, Longford
  • Steve Strickler, Iola
  • Donna Telle, Uniontown

Board officers:

Byron Lehman, Chair

Alex Peterson, Vice Chair

Donna Telle, Secretary

Curtis Steenbock, Treasurer

2021 Nebraska Division

Nebraska Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Mike Amen, Norfolk
  • Greg Bleeker, Emerson
  • Jodi Cast, Beaver Crossing
  • David Crook, Humboldt
  • Neal Hochstein, Wynot
  • Paul Kononoff, PhD (Ex Officio), UNL
  • Lowell Mueller, Hooper
  • Doug Nuttelman, Stromsburg
  • Joyce Racicky, Mason City
  • Marshall Reece (Ex Officio), AMPI
  • Mary Temme, Wayne

Board officers:

Mary Temme, Chair

Joyce Racicky, Vice Chair

Jodi Cast, Secretary/Treasurer

2021 North Dakota Division

North Dakota Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Marc Bauer (Ex Officio), NDSU
  • Scott Boll (Ex Officio), Cass Clay Creamery (AMPI)
  • Terry Entzminger (NDLA representative), Jamestown
  • Doug Hanson (Ex Officio), Dean Foods
  • Jonas Heyl, Towner
  • Janal Hoff, Richardton
  • Heidi John, New Salem
  • Sue Kleingartner, Gackle
  • Lilah Krebs (ADA Midwest At Large), Gladstone
  • Nathan Kroh (Ex Officio), ND Department of Agriculture
  • Dale Kuhn, Towner
  • Kim Ledger, Bismarck
  • Rita Mosset, Linton
  • Dwane Wanzek, Cleveland

Board officers:

Rita Mosset, Chair

Terry Entzminger, Vice Chair

Sue Kleingartner, Secretary

Lilah Krebs, Treasurer

2021 Ozarks Division

Ozarks Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Ryan Anglin (Ex Officio), Bentonville
  • Marilyn Calvin, Mt Vernon
  • Charles Coblentz, Chouteau
  • Jack Dill, Conway
  • Earl Dotson, Marionville
  • Mark Fellwock, Monett
  • Randy Mooney, Rogersville
  • Gene Morrison, West Plains
  • Carrie Rantz, Spokane
  • Nathan Roth, Mountain Grove
  • Scott VanZyverden, Niangua
  • Craig Westfall, Halfway

Board officers:

Nathan Roth, Chair

Marilyn Calvin, Vice Chair

Jack Dill, Secretary

Mark Fellwock, Treasurer

2021 South Dakota Division

South Dakota Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Jogchum Andringa, Brandt
  • Tim Den Dulk, Beresford
  • Chris Fieber, Goodwin
  • Gary Jarding, Alexandria
  • Jake Moes, Goodwin
  • Jody Kuper (Ex Officio), Valley Queen Cheese
  • Kim Maher (Ex Officio), Agropur
  • Allen Merrill, Parker
  • Vikram Mistry, Ph.D. (Ex Officio), SDSU
  • Jim Neugebauer, Dimock
  • Doug Ode, Brandon
  • Interim Secy. Hunter Roberts (Ex Officio), SD Department of Agriculture
  • Annelies Seffrood, Summit
  • Daniel Thyen, Waverly
  • Marv Post, Volga

Board officers:

Jim Neugebauer, Chair

Annelies Seffrood, Vice Chair

Chris Fieber, Secretary

Gary Jarding, Treasurer