Board Leadership

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

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 together they milk 150 head of cattle, raise Holstein steers and grow 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.

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 2020

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.

2019 Illinois Division officers. From L to R: Bill Deutsch, Chair; David Jarden, Vice Chair; Amy Hildebrandt, Secretary; Glen Meier, Treasurer.

2020 Illinois Division officers

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
  • Kevin Geiger, Port Byron
  • Amy Hildebrandt, South Beloit
  • David Jarden, Staunton
  • Kurt Johnson, Greenville
  • Kappy Koch, Tremont
  • Donald Mackinson, Pontiac
  • Glen Meier, Ridott
  • Brent Mueller, Garden Prairie

Board officers pictured from left to right: Bill Deutsch, Chair; David Jarden, Vice Chair; Amy Hildebrandt, Secretary; Glen Meier, Treasurer

2019 Iowa Division officers. From L to R: Larry Shover, Treasurer; Bruce Brockshus, Vice Chair; Jonna Schutte, Secretary; Dan Hotvedt, Chair.

2020 Iowa Division officers

Iowa Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Ken Birker, Vinton
  • Pam Bolin, Clarksville
  • Doug Carroll, (Ex Officio to Corporate Board), Ryan
  • Gerrit Davelaar, Inwood
  • Dan Dietzenbach, Fort Atkinson
  • Jeff Dresser, Keokuk
  • Alan Feuerhelm, Le Mars
  • Robert Horst, Bristow
  • Dan Hotvedt, Decorah
  • Patrick Jones, Spencer
  • Lee Maassen, Maurice
  • Anthony Nunes, Sibley
  • Madison Roth, Wayland
  • Matt Schelling, Orange City
  • Jonna Schutte, Monona
  • Larry Shover, Delhi
  • Paul Stempfle, Maynard
  • Leo Timms (Ex Officio), ISU
  • Anna Wilson, Garnavillo

Board officers pictured from left to right: Larry Shover, Treasurer; Bruce Brockshus, Vice Chair; Jonna Schutte, Secretary; Dan Hotvedt, Chair

2020 Minnesota Division officers

Minnesota Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Mindi Arendt, Mazeppa
  • Dan Grunhovd, Gary
  • Megan Herberg, St. Peter
  • Ken Herbranson, Clitherall
  • Erin Hoese, Mayer
  • Margaret Johnson, Fountain
  • Karen Kasper, Owatonna
  • Keith Knutson, Pine Island
  • Charles Krause, Buffalo
  • Sarah Kuechle, Eden Valley
  • Megan Landkammer, Burtrum
  • Barb Liebenstein, Dundas
  • Kate McAndrews, Sauk Center
  • Jeff Pagel, Eyota
  • Doug Popp, Royalton
  • Jane Remiger, Wood Lake
  • Dave Schwartz, Slayton
  • Kathleen Skiba, North Branch
  • Eric Sonnek, Foreston
  • Kristine Spadgenske, Menahga
  • Deb Vander Kooi (Ex Officio and Ex Officio Corporate Board), Worthington
  • Suzanne Vold, Glenwood
  • Rita Young, Plainview

Board officers: Barb Liebenstein, Chair; Kristine Spadgenske, Vice Chair; Rita Young, Secretary; and Suzanne Vold, Treasurer

2019 Mo-Kan Division board officers. From L to R: Byron Lehman, Chair; Donna Telle, Secretary; Curtis Steenbock, Treasurer; Alex Peterson, Vice Chair.

2020 Mo-Kan Division board officers

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 pictured from left to right: Byron Lehman, Chair; Donna Telle, Secretary; Curtis Steenbock, Treasurer; Alex Peterson, Vice Chair

2019 Nebraska Division officers. From L to R: Joyce Racicky, Chair; Mary Temme, Vice Chair; Jodi Cast, Secretary/Treasurer.

2020 Nebraska Division officers

Nebraska Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Mike Amen, Norfolk
  • Greg Bleeker, Emerson
  • Jodi Cast, Beaver Crossing
  • Kim Clark (Ex Officio), UNL
  • David Crook, Humboldt
  • Max Henn, Norfolk
  • Neal Hochstein, Wynot
  • Rob Jackson (Ex Officio), West Point Dairy Products
  • Dwaine Junck, Carroll
  • 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 pictured from left to right: Joyce Racicky, Vice Chair; Mary Temme, Chair; Jodi Cast, Secretary/Treasurer

2020 North Dakota Division board officers

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
  • Jerry Messer (Ex Officio and Ex Officio to Corporate Board), Richardton
  • Rita Mosset, Linton
  • Dwane Wanzek, Cleveland

Board officers: Rita Mosset, Chair; Terry Entzminger, Vice Chair; Lilah Krebs, Secretary; Sue Kleingartner, Treasurer.

2020 Ozarks Division

Ozarks Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Ryan Anglin (Ex Officio), Bentonville
  • Sheri Atteberry, Conway
  • 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
  • John Samek, Bolivar

Board officers: Nathan Roth, Chair; Marilyn Calvin, Vice Chair; Jack Dill, Secretary; Mark Fellwock,Treasurer

2020 South Dakota Division

South Dakota Division Board Members

Bold indicates Corporate Board member

  • Jogchum Andringa, Brandt
  • 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, PhD (Ex Officio), SDSU
  • Jim Neugebauer, Dimock
  • Doug Ode, Brandon
  • Annelies Seffrood, Summit
  • Suzanne Souza, Milbank
  • Daniel Thyen, Waverly
  • Secy. Kim Vanneman (Ex Officio), SD Department of Agriculture
  • Marv Post, Volga

Board officers: Jim Neugebauer, Chair; Chris Fieber, Secretary; Gary Jarding, Treasurer; Annelies Seffrood, Vice Chair

*Photos featured on this page were taken prior to March 2020 before mandatory mask/social distancing mandates were implemented.