Merger proposed by three milk marketing co-ops

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The board of directors for Family Dairies USA, Manitowoc Milk Producers Cooperative and Milwaukee Cooperative Milk Producers have unanimously voted to recommend a unified merger for their membership. Combined, these three cooperatives could soon become the largest Midwest dairy marketing cooperative.

“We are extremely excited about the future this effort will offer our members,” says David Cooper, general manager for Family Dairies USA. “The combined size and strength of the new cooperative will provide all of our members with a deeper and broader voice in policy-making decisions, both locally and nationally. And, by combining the resources of three independent organizations, we will be able to improve efficiencies and effectiveness.”

“The timing of coming together could not be better,” adds Dennis Donohue, general manager of Manitowoc Milk Producers Cooperative. “The current, individual financial status of all three cooperatives is outstanding. This allows the new organization to start out on very strong footing, so that we can immediately focus on growing and improving member benefits.”

“Considerable due diligence has been done by each board,” says Jim Bird, general manager of Milwaukee Cooperative Milk Producers. “Our cooperatives have shared common goals and even collaborated in business together over the years. It is a natural progression. Now, we can combine efforts that will allow us to put more resources into critical member areas that will continue to build upon the 200-plus years of combined history we have.”

Informational meetings will be held by each cooperative’s membership over the next six weeks. The proposal to merge will be voted on by each membership in mid-December. If the merger passes, the new, combined cooperative will begin business function January 1, 2013.

Under the new cooperative, the combined member representation will be divided into a total of nine districts, based on membership within each district. The current directors from each of the three cooperatives will transition into the new organization, helping ensure consistency in leadership and membership voice.

Family Dairies USA Milk Program and the Fox Valley Quality Control Laboratory will continue to operate as subsidiaries of the new cooperative.

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CNY  |  November, 05, 2012 at 08:59 AM

I don't know the situation of these coops, but here in NY the merger/loss of smaller coops has eliminated competition for farm milk and the big coops don't seem to be on the farmers' team anymore. In bed with processors and each other. Good example is their development and support of the farm bill dairy provisions. I don't know a farmer who supports them but coops forge ahead anyway. There is a demand for more milk for Greek style yogurt and schemes to get farmers to produce more milk but no coop has said those processors should try offering more money for the milk. Heaven forbid they should "suffer". There are advantages in balancing and transport but this could be achieved without smaller coops losing their autonomy and responsiveness to their members.

MI  |  November, 05, 2012 at 04:16 PM

The coops in question here all supply verification services. Family Dairies does also have a milk procurement program. Generally speaking all three are doing the same service for there members in the same areas.

wi  |  November, 05, 2012 at 09:34 AM

I got 2 notices on Saturday informing of the merger. I read the letter and financia sheets. Its just some more Co-op Sunshine burning my butt

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