Corporate Profiles - 2020 - 72

COMPANY OVERVIEW

Dairy Farmers of America
Farmer cooperative acquires assets of Dean Foods
airy Farmers of America, Kansas City,
Kan., a force in the dairy industry since
its founding in 1998, became an even
larger player in 2020. The cooperative, a farmer-owned global food company with more than
13,000 farmers, acquired more than 40 Dean
Foods Co. facilities and associated direct-store
delivery system as well as certain corporate and
other assets and functions.
"As Dean is the largest dairy processor in the
country and a significant customer of DFA, it
is important to ensure continued secure markets for our members' milk and minimal disruption to the US dairy industry," said Rick
Smith, president and chief executive officer of
DFA. "As a family farmer-owned and governed
cooperative, no one has a greater interest in
preserving and expanding milk markets than
DFA. We are pleased that we have come to an
agreement on a deal that we believe is fair for
both parties."
Dallas-based Dean Foods, after suffering
losses related to a slumping milk category, in
November 2019 initiated Chapter 11 reorganization proceedings. Dairy Farmers of America
on Feb. 17 said it had reached an agreement
with Dean Foods to become the stalking horse
bidder to acquire a substantial portion of

D

Dean's assets and business, including 44 facilities, for $425 million. DFA also assumed various liabilities.
The agreement was reached under the supervision of the US Bankruptcy Court for the
Southern District of Texas. Dean Foods announced the completion of the sale on May
1. As part of the US Department of Justice's
approval of the transaction, DFA committed to
hold separate and ultimately divest the dairy
processing plants in DePere, Wis., Franklin,
Mass., and Harvard, Ill.
In 1998, four leading milk organizations
created DFA as an organization to provide resources and support to family farms of all sizes.
DFA has become active in retail, too, with
brands such as Kemps and Sport Shake. Kemps,
St. Paul, Minn., in 2020 rolled out siips, a
shelf-stable canned milk product that offers a
high protein content. The product is available in
chocolate, caramel and mocha flavors.

DFA Ingredient Solutions, a business unit of
DFA, this year launched an e-commerce store
that allows manufacturers to order smaller
quantities of its dairy ingredients. The new
platform initially will feature dairy-based ingredients, including seasoning blends, specialty
powders and concentrated pastes.
"We receive many requests from small food
manufacturers for specialty ingredients that
deliver flavor and texture benefits associated
with dairy into their products," said Carol Willenbring, vice president of marketing and R&D
for ingredient solutions. "Our response to these
inquiries was to develop an online experience
to give these companies access to the same,
highly rated dairy ingredients that leading
brands and larger food manufacturers have
come to expect from us."
DFA set a target to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions, committing to reduce both direct
and value chain GHG emissions by 30% by
2030 from a base year of 2018.
"While the entire dairy industry from farm
to manufacturer only contributes about 2% of
total greenhouse gas emissions, we know it's
imperative to keep doing better," said David
Darr, senior vice president and chief strategy
and sustainability officer at DFA. CP

Chief executive officer -
Rick Smith

DAIRY FARMERS OF AMERICA AT A GLANCE:
Associated Milk Producers, Inc., MidAmerica Dairymen, Inc., Milk Marketing,
Inc. and Western Dairymen Cooperative,
Inc. created Dairy Farmers of America in 1998.

Family farms per state
Over 350
100-350
30-100
30 or less

DFA is divided into seven
geographic areas and overseen
by a 49-member board of directors.

72 \ October 2020

A network of production
facilities across the country
processes farm-fresh milk.

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