Smith to succeed Hanman as president and c.e.o. of Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.

by Eric Schroeder
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KANSAS CITY — The board of directors of Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. on Thursday named Rick Smith as president and chief executive officer of their farmer-owned dairy cooperative. He succeeds Gary Hanman, who will retire at the end of this month.

Mr. Smith, who currently is president and chief operating officer, will assume the role of c.e.o. on Jan.1.

"We are delighted to have a proven dairy leader like Rick Smith to take D.F.A. into the future," said Tom Camerlo, chairman of D.F.A.’s board of directors and a dairy farmer from Florence, Colo. "He understands the dairy industry, the D.F.A. organization and, most importantly, the priorities of the dairy farmer members whom he serves."

Mr. Smith entered the dairy industry in 1982 when he joined Dairylea Cooperative, Inc. as vice-president and general counsel. In 1988, he became c.e.o. of Dairylea, the Northeast’s leading agricultural service and milk marketing organization with 5.5 billion lbs of milk marketed annually for 2,500 dairy farmer-members.

This past August, Mr. Smith, who had been on the D.F.A.’s management team since January of 2001, was promoted to president and c.o.o. of the D.F.A. In that position, he had oversight over all business operations, including economic and marketing analysis; member, government and public relations; human resources; fluid marketing operations; value-added manufacturing; accounting/treasury; and legal and risk management functions.

"I am excited about the opportunity to lead this outstanding organization," Mr. Smith said. "We will build on the D.F.A.’s strengths, focus on our 22,000 dairy farmer-members, and, most of all, work hard to stabilize and improve their income, represent their concerns, expand their access to markets, and build opportunities that help to preserve and strengthen their way of life."

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