Farmer-Owned Cooperatives to Explore Joint Ownership of Michigan Cheese Plant

Three farmer-owned dairy cooperatives announced today that they have committed to exploring joint ownership and operation of a major cheese processing plant in the state of Michigan. The three cooperatives are Foremost Farms USA, Baraboo, Wisconsin; Dairy Farmers of America, Kansas City, Missouri, and Michigan Milk Producers Association, Novi, Michigan. All three have farmermembers located in the state.

This decision is driven by the growing milk supply in Michigan, the lack of available processing capacity within the region, market accessibility and transportation benefits.

“Michigan dairy producers own some of the most progressive and efficient dairy operations in the world, and they have positioned themselves to be a long-term supplier to domestic and global markets,” explained Michael Doyle, president & CEO, Foremost Farms USA. “Collectively, our respective organizations are extremely pleased we can come together to positively address this growing market.”

Greg Wickham, chief financial officer, Dairy Farmers of America, said, “Strategically, Michigan is well situated geographically to serve not only major U.S. markets, but also global markets. In addition to the quality milk supply in the region, it has a solid transportation infrastructure, one well served by major highways and various ports.”

“We are excited to potentially leverage the strengths and assets of our three cooperatives in order to accommodate the growing milk production in Michigan,” said Joe Diglio, general manager, Michigan Milk Producers Association. “Working collaboratively helps enhance our ability to better serve dairy producers in this region and align the marketing strengths of our organizations together.”

The plant is expected to process 6 million pounds of milk a day and make 220 million pounds of American-style cheese annually.

About Foremost Farms USA:
Foremost Farms USA, headquartered in Baraboo, Wis., is a farmerowned milk processing and marketing cooperative with about 1,500 members and annual sales of $1.5 billion. The nation’s eighth-largest cooperative and number 25 in annual sales among the Top 100 U.S. dairy processors, Foremost Farms focuses on the creation of tailored and innovative milk solutions that meet the needs of customers around the world.

About Dairy Farmers of America:
Dairy Farmers of America is a national dairy marketing cooperative that serves and is owned by nearly 14,000 members on nearly 8,000 farms in 48 states. DFA also is one of the country’s most diversified manufacturers of dairy products, food components and ingredients and is a leader in formulating and packaging shelf-stable dairy products.

About Michigan Milk Producers Association:
Michigan Milk Producers Association is a member owned and operated dairy cooperative serving approximately 2,000 dairy farmers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. MMPA owns milk processing plants in Ovid and Constantine Mich., and the cooperative handles over 5 billion pounds of milk annually.