Tom Camerlo, Late Dairy Farmers of America Chairman, Named Farmer Co-op Director of the Year


Washington, D.C.—At its 81st Annual Meeting in Santa Barbara, California, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) announced that James P. “Tom” Camerlo, of Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), has been named the organizations 2010 Farmer Cooperative Director of the Year.

Camerlo, who passed away late last year, had been a member of DFA and one of its predecessor co-ops  since 1963, when he began operating Camerlo Dairy. In partnership with his daughter, Patty, Camerlo sustained a herd of 500 Holsteins on 1,200 acres in Florence, Colo. He served on DFA’s board since the co-op’s inception in 1998, and was named chairman in 2003, a position that he held until his death.

“Throughout his life, Tom provided strong, selfless, and able leadership to DFA and the other co-ops and agricultural organizations that he was involved with. Of particular importance to the dairy industry, was Tom’s leadership in challenging the conventional wisdom and developing a long-term strategy to export dairy products to fulfill international demand,” said NCFC President and CEO Chuck Conner. “He was truly dedicated to the principles of farmer-ownership and innovation, and I would like to extend my congratulation to Tom’s wife, Barbara, and his children, Tommy, Jimmy, Patty, and Brooke, for his accomplishments.”

The Farmer Cooperative Director of the Year Award was established to recognize the outstanding achievements of a farmer director who provides the leadership and  business insight necessary to run a responsive and forward looking organization.

Farmer Cooperative Director of the Year nominees were examined by a panel of judges representing NCFC members and outside experts. In selecting the winner, judges looked at four broad criteria: how well the nominee understands his co-op and its business operations; the ability to provide leadership and be a team player; the possession of good business judgment; and the ability to communicate effectively with other directors, co-op members, and the general public.

Rick Smith, president and CEO of Dairy Farmers of America, accepted the award on behalf of the Camerlo family at NCFC’s Annual Meeting in Santa Barbara, Calif., on Thursday, February 4.

About NCFC

Since 1929, NCFC has been the voice of America’s farmer cooperatives.  Our members are regional and national farmer cooperatives, which are in turn composed of nearly 3,000 local farmer cooperatives across the country.  NCFC members also include 26 state and regional councils of cooperatives.  Farmer cooperatives allow individual farmers the ability to own and lead organizations that are essential for continued competitiveness in both the domestic and international markets.

America’s farmer-owned cooperatives provide a comprehensive array of services for their members.  These diverse organizations handle, process and market virtually every type of agricultural commodity.  They also provide farmers with access to infrastructure necessary to manufacture, distribute and sell a variety of farm inputs.  Additionally, they provide credit and related financial services, including export financing.

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