Prairie Farms Receives Multiple Quality Awards, 2022

Photo Caption from L to R: Brad Suhling, Director of Quality, Prairie Farms Dairy; Greg Helbig, Director of Operations, Hiland Dairy; Stacy Wand, General Manager, Prairie Farms Dubuque; Rylee Sterrett, Quality Assurance, Prairie Farms Dairy; Chris Hackman, Senior VP of Operations, Prairie Farms Dairy; Matt McClelland, CEO/EVP, Prairie Farms Dairy.

Multiple Prairie Farms and Hiland Dairy Plants Receive Quality Awards

Dubuque Plant Receives Top Award for Superior Product Quality

Edwardsville, Ill. (November 10, 2022) – Prairie Farms Dairy and its joint venture partner, Hiland Dairy, won over 40 awards at the QCS Purchasing Cooperative Annual Leadership Conference in San Diego. In October, QCS members from around the country gathered for educational sessions, networking events, and an awards celebration to honor member and supply partner companies.
The Prairie Farms plant in Dubuque, Iowa, won the QCS Dairy Quality Excellence Fluid Milk Award (DQE). This is one of QCS’ highest quality honors, trailing only behind the Irving B. Weber Award for Total Quality Excellence. The Dubuque plant was also instrumental in working with The Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Company on a joint effort for a new cream program. QCS recognized this partnership with the Best Collaboration Award.

“I am so proud of our quality and management teams for receiving over 40 awards at this year’s conference. They work tirelessly to prioritize quality in our operations, and because of their dedication and commitment, the Prairie Farms’ network of plants earned more awards than any company,” said Matt McClelland, CEO/EVP for Prairie Farms. “As a farmer-owned cooperative, the high-quality milk provided by our dairy farmers is the key component of our ability to be a leader in the industry. Despite many post-pandemic challenges for our farms and plants, together, our farmers and team members remained focused on quality, and QCS recognized their hard work with dozens of awards.”

The Merit of Excellence Awards are presented in the fluid milk, cultured products, and ice cream categories. Because QCS compliance levels are well above industry standards, this creates a significant but rewarding challenge for the award recipients. Thirteen plants within the Prairie Farms’ network of companies were winners.

  • Fluid Milk:
    • Prairie Farms Dairy: Dubuque, Iowa; Olney, Illinois
    • Hiland Dairy: Fort Smith & Little Rock, Arkansas; Kansas City & Springfield, Missouri; Omaha, Nebraska
  • Cultured:
    • Prairie Farms Dairy: Quincy, Illinois
    • Hiland Dairy: Norman, Oklahoma; Wichita, Kansas
  • Ice Cream:
    • Hiland Dairy: Kansas City (Belfonte) & Springfield, Missouri; Tyler, Texas

Hiland Dairy’s Wichita plant received the Best Regular Egg Nog award, and the Little Rock plant won the Orange Juice Product Contest.
Finally, 26 plants within the Prairie Farms’ network received QCS Quality & Food Safety Plant Assessment Awards. Plants receiving this award have demonstrated a level of organizational excellence and quality assurance that is commendable and assures that QCS Members represent the highest standards in the industry. The complete list is available in the QCS press release.

Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc. is one of the largest and most successful dairy cooperatives operating in the Midwest and the South. Elements of the cooperative include more than 600 farm families, 7,000 team members, 50 manufacturing plants, over 100 distribution facilities, and annual sales of over $3.6 billion. Prairie Farms is a nationally recognized leader in the dairy industry known for setting the standard for milk flavor innovations and producing award-winning milk, cheese, and cultured dairy products. With headquarters in Edwardsville, Ill., the Prairie Farms distribution footprint covers over 30 percent of the United States; products are available in grocery chains, mass merchandiser stores, club stores, convenience stores, dollar stores, drug stores, schools, foodservice outlets, and warehouse distribution centers. For more information about Prairie Farms please visit

QCS Purchasing Cooperative is member-owned and managed as to not generate a profit-buying group for companies engaged in food and beverage production. It is the largest purchasing cooperative of its kind. By aggregating purchases of common supplies, QCS Purchasing Cooperative provides members with more competitive pricing that they could typically achieve on their own. A team of strategic sourcing specialists with deep category expertise help members solve complex sourcing challenges and provide timely data and market intelligence. Over 200 national supplier partners provide solutions in categories such as packaging, fleet and logistics, plant operations and supplies, and many value-added services. To learn about QCS Purchasing Cooperative, please visit

Darin Copeland
[email protected]

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