The Louisville Courier Journal reports Dean Foods and the major cooperatives purchasing milk in the southeast are accused of working together to pay farms less for milk.

The conspiracy has dairy farmers preparing for a lawsuit this year. Dean Foods and cooperatives are accused of taking actions to keep milk prices low, including buying bottling plants to limit competition.

The trial begins in June in Greeneville, Tenn. Southeast dairy farmers hope the suit will help create a more competitive marketplace where milk will sell for higher prices. Increasing expenses may make it difficult for some dairy operations to last long enough to see milk prices advance.

An official for Dean Foods denies allegations of a conspiracy. The company attempted to settle a case with dairy farmers in the Northeast for $30 million, but the new case is a separate situation.

Source: The Louisville Courier Journal