Jeffrey M. Powell was born in Franklin, Indiana on November 22, 1955. Early on he worked on the family farm baling hay and cutting weeds in soybean and corn fields. When he was 13 he started work at a local golf course making $1 per hour. When he was 16 he started work at the local A&P store. By the age of 19 he was made an assistant store manager.
In grade and high school he participated in basketball, football, and track. Jeff was inducted into the National Honor Society during his junior year in high school and graduated 15th in his class of 210 students in 1974. He attended Indiana/Purdue University in Indianapolis (IUPUI) and completed work for an associated degree in management and administration in 1978, a BS in 1982, and an MS in human resources.
All of his degree work was completed on a part time basis while raising a family and working in the dairy industry.
Jeff’s work experience included employment with the USDA Federal Milk Marketing Order in Indianapolis in 1975; with Borden, Inc as distribution supervisor in Indianapolis from 1976 to 1978; and with Kroger, Inc. as dairy plant supervisor in Indianapolis from 1978 to 1983. He then moved to St. Louis to become assistant plant manager and human relations manager for Kroger until 1988.
During 1988 to 1991 he was regional operations manager for Atlanta Dairies/Pet Milk in Atlanta. Jeff’s next move and promotion came in 1998 when he became general manager of Roberts Dairy in Kansas City. Since 2000 he has been president and general manager of Roberts Dairy, a joint venture between Prairie Farms and Dairy Farmers of America.
Jeff has been an active supporter of the dairy industry serving as president of both the Georgia Dairy Technology Association and the Missouri Dairy Products Association. Additionally, he is a board member of the St. Louis Dairy Council and a newly elected board member of the Milk Industry Foundation. He has worked with the Missouri State Milk Board, the Missouri Department of Health, and the Nebraska Dairy Council.
As an active Missouri Dairy Products Association member following in the footsteps of the late Don Kuhlmann, Jeff helped develop the MDPA Mizzou scholarship fund to provide tuition money for students.
Jeff married Janette Costello, a former insurance agent, in 1991. His four sons are Joe 32; Jamie 29; Nick 27; and Scott 25. Collectively, Jeff and Janette have five children.
“Jeff has supported the growth of the Missouri dairy industry by promoting the healthy characteristics of dairy products in all available venues and channels,” said Gary Aggus, chief operations officer of Prairie Farms and president of joint ventures, who received the Leadership Award in 2005.
The Missouri Dairy Products Association endorsed Jeff’s nomination for the Dairy Leadership Award.