DFA: By the numbers
Smith provided his annual summary of milk sourced by DFA membership, by quartile:
• 25% of the milk comes from just 119 farms averaging 4,123 cows
• 25% of the milk comes from 249 farms averaging 1,980 cows
• 25% of the milk comes from 727 farms averaging 677 cows
• 25% of the milk comes from 7,822 farms averaging 63 cows
Among the year's other highlights, Smith singled out the merger with longtime dairy co-op partner DairyLea in the Northeast, which takes effect April 1. He characterized the Northeast as being in the best position to meet the co-op’s milk production needs.
Milk powder plant
DFA’s growth path is occurring in both domestic and global markets. Construction is nearing completion on a new whole milk powder (WMP) plant at Fallon, Nev. The plant will be the first U.S. "greenfield" plant built for the sole purpose of processing WMP for the global market. Once finished, the plant will convert about 2 million lbs. of milk per day into WMP – and all of the product has already been committed to three companies in Asia, including two in China.
DFA is still seeking to meet the daily milk needs of the plant, and Smith estimated current locally produced supplies will fill about 50% of the plant's capacity. Additional milk will be sourced from California, he said, with efforts ongoing to increase milk production in the Fallon area.
DFA has also moved its first shipment of extra-long shelf life "California Gold” fluid milk to China, to be marketed through WalMart. The shipment included 59 containers with approximately 950,000 litres/250,000 gallons of 3.5%, 1.5% and skim milk in various container sizes.
The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) assisted in creating promotion materials for the “California Gold” product, which utilizes DFA member milk but was co-packed by another company.
Moving forward, Smith said DFA did not expect to be investing in any "brick and mortar" plants in Asia, but will be investing in business relationships.
DFA’s Ingredients Division also continued to expand, with a focus on export opportunities with global customers in strategic markets. DFA exported 222 million lbs. of product in 2013, for a fourth consecutive year of record export sales.
DFA continued to grow its U.S. commercial investments in 2013. The Fluid Milk and Ice Cream Division acquired Dairy Maid Dairy, a processor of milk, juice and fruit drinks located in Frederick, Md. Dairy Maid’s customers include major grocery chains, schools and governmental entities, such as military installations.