As many as 80 producers who currently ship their milk to Dean Foods are in search of a new home for their milk come June 1. Dairy Farmers of America, the largest dairy cooperative in the U.S., says they will not be able to rescue those producers.
Monica Massey senior vice president and chief of staff at DFA comment that “We are sympathetic to the farmers who have been impacted by this decision and realize it has created a tough situation for them. We currently face difficult marketing environments, particularly in areas of the Northeast and Mideast, and unfortunately, don’t have a market for their milk at this time.” According to Massey, DFA plans to monitor the situation, and “to the extent that we can” work with the network of industry relationships and customers they have developed over the years to identify any available processing capacity for the affected producers.
“We are worried but not panicked,” comments Doug Leman, executive director of the Indiana Dairy Producers association, says in regards to the 27 farmers who lost contracts in Indiana. Leman is hopeful farmers will find a new home for their milk. Although he admits there aren’t any “easy” solutions. “We’re awfully full, that’s for sure,” Leman says. “But we do have some processing in the [Indiana]. I’m pretty confident we can find a new home for all of [the Indiana producers].”