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, Chair

Allen Merrill, of Merrill Farms, Inc. in Parker, South Dakota, is the chair 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 chair, 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.

Contact Allen

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.

Contact Molly

Corporate Board Officers for 2022

Midwest Dairy is directed by a 35-member dairy farmer Corporate board with 11 of those members serving on Dairy Management Inc.’s national board.

Corporate Board members include Allen Merrill, Chair; Charles Krause, First Vice Chair; Dan Hotvedt, Second Vice Chair; Rita Young, Secretary; and Barb Liebenstein, Treasurer. 

Division Board Leadership

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

2022 Illinois Division

Illinois Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Doug Block, Pearl City
  • Bill Deutsch, Sycamore
  • 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
  • Brent Mueller, Garden Prairie
  • Craig Meng, Freeburg
  • Glen Meier, Ridott
  • Steve Obert, Orangeville
  • Toby Probst, Wheeler

Board Officers:

Bill Deutsch, Chair

Brent Mueller, Vice Chair

Amy Hildebrandt, Secretary

Glen Meier, Treasurer

2022 Iowa Division

Iowa Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Pam Bolin, Clarksville
  • Doug Carroll, (Ex Officio to Corporate Board), Ryan
  • Gerrit Davelaar, Inwood
  • Dan Dietzenbach, Fort Atkinson
  • Jeff Dresser, Keokuk
  • Jolene Duitscher, Rolfe
  • Alan Feuerhelm, Le Mars
  • Fred Hall (Ex Officio), ISU
  • Robert Horst, Bristow
  • Dan Hotvedt, Decorah
  • Patrick Jones, Spencer
  • Lee Maassen, Maurice
  • Dennis Mashek, Calmer
  • Anthony Nunes, Sibley
  • Matt Schelling, Orange City
  • Jonna Schutte, Monona
  • Larry Shover, Delhi
  • Madison Skubal, Wayland
  • Anna Wilson, Garnavillo

Board officers:

Dan Hotvedt, Chair

Lee Maassen, Vice Chair

Jonna Schutte, Secretary

Larry Shover, Treasurer

2022 Minnesota Division

Minnesota Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

Board officers:

Kristine Spadgenske, Chair

Kate McAndrews, Vice Chair

Rita Young, Secretary

Suzanne Vold, Treasurer

2022 Mo-Kan Division board

Mo-Kan Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Alfred Brandt, Linn
  • Amy Dudeck, Cosby
  • Lynda Foster, Fort Scott
  • Brian Haverkamp, Seneca
  • Chris Heins, Higginsville
  • Byron Lehman, Newton
  • Orville Miller, (Ex Officio to Corporate Board), 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

Steve Ohlde, Vice Chair

Donna Telle, Secretary

Curtis Steenbock, Treasurer

2022 Nebraska Division

Nebraska Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Mike Amen, Norfolk
  • Greg Bleeker, Emerson
  • Jodi Cast, Beaver Crossing
  • David Crook, Humboldt
  • Paul Kononoff, PhD (Ex Officio), UNL
  • Doug Nuttelman, Stromsburg
  • Joyce Racicky, Mason City
  • Marshall Reece (Ex Officio), AMPI
  • Larry Schuster, Pickrell
  • Heath Snodgrass (Ex Officio), Orchard
  • Mary Temme, Wayne

Board officers:

Mary Temme, Chair

Joyce Racicky, Vice Chair

Jodi Cast, Secretary/Treasurer

2022 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, Jamestown
  • Doug Hanson (Ex Officio), Dean Foods
  • Jonas Heyl, Towner
  • Janal Hoff, Richardton
  • Sue Kleingartner, Gackle
  • Lilah Krebs, Gladstone
  • Nathan Kroh (Ex Officio), ND Department of Agriculture
  • Kim Ledger, Bismarck
  • Toby Tormaschy, Richardton
  • Piet vanBedaf, Carrington

Board officers:

Sue Kleingartner, Chair

Terry Entzminger, Vice Chair

Kim Ledger, Secretary

Lilah Krebs, Treasurer

2022 Ozarks Division

Ozarks Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Ryan Anglin, 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

Carrie Rantz, Secretary

Mark Fellwock, Treasurer

2022 South Dakota Division

South Dakota Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Jogchum Andringa, Brandt
  • Tim Den Dulk, Beresford
  • Evan Grong (Ex Officio), Valley Queen Cheese
  • Cole Hoyer, Estelline
  • Gary Jarding, Alexandria
  • Kim Maher (Ex Officio), Agropur
  • Allen Merrill, Parker
  • Vikram Mistry, Ph.D. (Ex Officio), SDSU
  • Jim Neugebauer, Dimock
  • Doug Ode, Brandon
  • Marv Post, Volga
  • Hunter Roberts (Ex Officio), SD Department of Agriculture
  • Annelies Seffrood, Summit
  • Daniel Thyen, Waverly
  • Kevin VanWinkle, Canistota

Board officers:

Jim Neugebauer, Chair

Annelies Seffrood, Vice Chair

Dan Thyen, Secretary

Jogchum Andrenga, Treasurer