Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) was formed as a result of the gathering of the four major dairy cooperatives in the country: AMPI, Mid-American Dairymen Incorporated, Western Dairymen Cooperative Incorporated and Milk Marketing Incorporated.
In 1996, these four major organizations discussed strategies in order to survive in the growing worldwide competition. The cooperatives all had the same vision- to unite their skills, leaderships, talents, capital and markets in order to create a larger, unified and better organization for every dairy farmer. This led to the formation of DFA in January of 1998.
Since DFA’s formation, four more major cooperatives have merged with it for the purpose of taking advantage of the benefits of working together. In 1999, DFA and Dairylea went into a partnership and created the Dairy Marketing Services, or DMS. This new group was involved in marketing milk for cooperative members and independent producers. At the time, DMS particularly catered to members and producers in the Northeast area. Today, DMS is a nationally recognized organization.
In 2006, DFA named Rick Smith, former CEO of Darylea, its new president and CEO. Under Smith’s leadership, the cooperative’s culture of transparency and integrity was developed and the cooperative put more focus on its members.
Currently, the dairy cooperative has a total of 16,000 farmer members across the United States. The members own almost two million cows that produce milk with a total of more than 60 billion pounds every year. Each of the members are paid competently and are offered various services and programs that will make it easier and more profitable for members to farm.
Aside from fluid milk and fresh milk, the cooperative also makes butter, milk powder, cheese, dried whey and other dairy goods intended to be sold for its industrial, retail and wholesale customers all over the world. DFA also provides contract services for manufacturing dairy products.
The cooperative currently has 30 manufacturing facilities located in different parts of the country. It is also one of the major suppliers to the manufacturing giant Dean Foods.
Headquarters: Kansas City, Missouri
Ownership Type: Private/Co-operative
Employees: 3,725 (2010)
Demography: retail dairy product consumers, food-manufacturing companies
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