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Midwest Dairy CEO Announces Retirement after Almost 40 Years of Checkoff Career

Midwest Dairy, the checkoff organization representing over 4,000 dairy farmers in a ten-state region in the  Midwest, would like to share that Molly Pelzer, the current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Midwest Dairy, has  officially announced her retirement from the organization effective in March of 2024. Midwest Dairy’s board has  engaged a search firm to guide the selection of the next CEO for the organization.  

Pelzer started her career with Midwest Dairy as a program director working with schools and health care  professionals in June of 1984. Since then, she has held numerous leadership positions before accepting the  role of CEO role in 2019. Prior to Midwest Dairy, she worked with the Midland Dairy Association and Dairy  Council, Inc., both former checkoff organizations that are now part of the Midwest Dairy organization. A  registered dietitian, Pelzer graduated from the University of Missouri–Columbia. 

“Molly has contributed almost 40 years of experience to the dairy checkoff, and her achievements will be  celebrated. She has held leadership roles across the organization and has truly made an impact. I have  appreciated Molly’s work ethic, devotion to the dairy farmers, and focus on making a difference. I wish her  nothing but the best as she enjoys her retirement,” said Charles Krause, Corporate Board Chair of Midwest  Dairy. 

Pelzer is the third CEO in Midwest Dairy’s 23-year history. In her role as CEO, Pelzer provides strategic  guidance to Midwest Dairy’s staff of more than 55 employees as they fulfill the organization’s vision: to bring  dairy to life, and its mission: to give consumers an excellent dairy experience. Through her leadership, Midwest  Dairy focused on maximizing the 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 solutions for industry and consumer needs. 

During Pelzer’s tenure, she has played a critical role in building trust and demand for the dairy industry. She is  most proud of creating the metrics scorecard developed at Midwest Dairy over the last four years. This scorecard helps clearly communicate to farmers the impact of their checkoff investment. Pelzer has also  enjoyed working closely with the farmer boards and takes great pride in checkoff being farmer-led.  

“Over my time at Midwest Dairy, I have seen checkoff strategies evolve and foster new ideas that make a  difference for dairy farm families. It has been a privilege to work for dairy farmers in each of my roles in dairy  checkoff, and I will continue to be a dairy advocate in my retirement. Knowing how hard they work to produce  milk that feeds and nourishes the world is a daily inspiration. I owe my career to the dairy farm families in our  ten-state region. Thank you for what you do and for allowing me to work with you to build trust and demand for dairy,” said Pelzer.  

Midwest Dairy has retained Fred Pabst, Dairy and Agriculture Search Practice Leader at Herd Freed Hartz to  lead the selection process for the next CEO. All inquiries should be directed to Pabst, who can be reached by email at fred@herdfreedhartz.com. More information about the position can be found at midwestdairy.com

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