ST. PAUL, MINN. – Midwest Dairy chief executive officer Molly Pelzer announced she will retire in March 2024.

The checkoff organization said it will use a search firm to guide the selection process for its next CEO.

“Over my time at Midwest Dairy, I have seen checkoff strategies evolve and foster new ideas that make a difference for dairy farm families,” Pelzer said. “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 10-state region. Thank you for what you do and for allowing me to work with you to build trust and demand for dairy.”

Midwest Dairy shared that Pelzer provided strategic guidance to its staff, and the organization “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 her tenure.

The organization also credited Pelzer with “building trust and demand for the dairy industry,” and creating a metrics scorecard that helps dairy farmers see the impact of their respective checkoff investments.

Pelzer’s decades of work for the organization began in 1984, when she was hired as a program director. She went on to be named to various leadership roles and became CEO in 2019. Early in her career, Pelzer worked for former checkoff organizations Midland Dairy Association and Dairy Council, Inc., which are now part of Midwest Dairy. She graduated from the University of Missouri and is a registered dietitian.

“Molly has contributed almost 40 years of experience to the dairy checkoff, and her achievements will be celebrated,” said Charles Krause, Midwest Dairy’s corporate board chair. “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.”

The checkoff organization represents roughly 4,400 dairy farms and is funded by farmers in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma.