Dairy Processing - December 2020 - 10


DFA Steps Up
Dairy Farmers of America acquired assets of Dean Foods Co. after the
company initiated Chapter 11 reorganization proceedings in 2019.
By Jeff Gelski | jgelski@sosland.com


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 farmerowned 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 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 a variety of 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 will feature dairy-based ingredients, including seasoning
blends, specialty powders and concentrated pastes.
" We receive many requests from small food manufacturers
for specialty ingredients, " 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. "
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. This initative
is crucial, according to David Darr, senior vice president and
chief strategy and sustainability officer at DFA.
" 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. "

Over 350
30 or less

DFA is divided into seven geographic
areas. A network of production facilities
across the US process farm-fresh milk.


Dairy Processing - December 2020

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Dairy Processing - December 2020 - 1
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