Agropur is on the heels of completing its biggest acquisition ever, taking on the milk processing assets of Davisco Foods International, a privately held family business headquartered in Le Sueur, Minn. The sale will grow Agropur Cooperative’s North American footprint to 41 milk plants, totaling about $5.4 billion in sales and 12.1 billion pounds of milk processed each year, which compares to Land O’Lakes’ handing over 12 billion pounds of milk annually, according to their website.

The transaction is set to close August 1, but does not mention any of the four dairy cattle facilities (three milking, one calf ranch) owned by the Davis family in south-central Minnesota.

The sale of Davisco plants includes cheese processing factories in Le Sueur, Minn., Jerome, Idaho, and Lake Norden, S.D. It also includes an ingredients plant in Nicollet and consumer cheese shop in Le Sueur (both Minn.), as well as sales offices in Minnesota, China, Singapore, and Switzerland, along with distribution centers in the Netherlands and China.

Davis family: diverse company

The Davis family’s entrepreneurial spirit started in a Minnesota’s St. Peter butter creamery in the 1930s run by Stan Davis, and now is a collection of businesses in very diverse industries. In 1943 Stan started Davisco Foods, now one of the world’s largest manufacturers of whey protein isolates, according to

The company, consisting of Mark – Stan’s son – and sons Jon, Marty, and Mitch, also holds ownership of Sun Country airlines, Cambria, a quartz manufacturer in Le Sueur, and Cambria Mortgage. Mitch runs the dairies, while Jon serves as President and CEO of Davisco and Marty oversees Sun Country and Cambria. A 2012 article said combined revenue in 2011 was about $1.5 billion.

Agropur: a growing cooperative

While the Davis family of companies is losing a big business unit, Agropur continues to add assets to its milk processing capabilities. Just last week, Agropur announced purchase of Northumberland Dairy Cooperative assets in New Brunswick, Canada. The week before that purchase, it announced the acquisition and partnership with Canada’s Sobeys, including two ice cream plants in Alberta and milk processing plants in Manitoba and British Columbia. Agropur also made several other acquisitions since July 1, 2013.

The Agropur website tallies 3,554 member dairy farmers.

Sources: Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, Twin Cities Business