When Kevin Udelhoven, Potosi class of 1978, attended his district meeting for Foremost Farms in September 2005, he never thought that he would be elected as the new director for his district, but that is what happened. He knew there would be a director election, but he thought that the current director would be reelected. That was not the case because the outgoing director had reached the age where he could not run to be a director. Instead, Kevin was elected to the board of directors by the eleven voting members that were in attendance.

Foremost Farms is a dairy business that is owned by the members. Foremost is a milk solid processing business. They take farmers-members’ milk and make different milk products and ingredients for different businesses around the world.  Cheese, dairy ingredients, butter, and fluid products, like milk and yogurt, are all produced by Foremost.  

The CEO brings recommendations to the board for approval and the board members vote on them. It might be to remodel a plant or build a new one. They also approve meeting minutes, financials, and payouts to the estates of deceased members.

Today, voting is done with mail-in ballots instead of voting at the meetings because they were having a hard time getting enough people to attend the meetings to vote. Every director serves for a three-year term. Kevin felt that he could help guide the coop in the right direction. He had attended the Young Cooperative Leaders training that Foremost offered.

When he was first elected to the board of directors, there were 27 district directors. Now there is 15 district directors along with three high volume directors, and an outside director who is a retired CEO from General Mills who now lives in California. As for the high-volume directors one represents northern Wisconsin, number two represents southern Wisconsin, and number three represents Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana.

Foremost has over time had to redistrict because of farm loss. These farms were lost either by going out of business or selling their milk to another cooperative.  Because of this they have gone from 27 directors in 2005 to their current number. They have hired two new CEOs during his time on the board and have made many changes during this time. There is also only one director that is still on the board since he was first elected almost 18 years ago. He said that being a director is a great opportunity to make Foremost Farms USA a better co-op for the farm families who milk cows. 

To further his education Kevin has attended an AGS certified continuing education with six two-day conferences. Also, every year each director attends an industry meeting. They choose between the National Milk Producers Federation, the International Dairy Foods Association, or the National Council of Farmers Cooperatives.