Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative distributed nearly $2 million in 13th check funds last week to help members make it through one of the worst years dairy farmers have ever faced.  Mailed late last week, this payment represents 10 cents/cwt on milk shipped through the cooperative from January to August. 

“Our members are struggling and these low milk prices have taken their toll on morale and wallets,” said President Dwayne Myers.  “We are fortunate to sell our milk in a Class I marketplace, to have negotiated premiums and captured marketing efficiencies that create more returns for our members.”

Typically the cooperative distributes its 13th check in February for the previous year.  “Given the extreme financial circumstances all dairy farmers are facing, sending out a portion of the 2009 13th check early is one of the easiest decisions our board has made this year,” Myers added.

In total, the cooperative sent out 10 cents/cwt on approximately 1.9 billion pounds of milk produced by the membership from January to August 2009.  Funds accumulated on production from September through December 2009 will be distributed in February 2010.  The 13th check represents each producer’s share of profits, savings and efficiencies captured in the marketplace.

“Ten cents sure doesn’t sound like much, but we know our members need every penny the cooperative can return back to them this year,” said chief executive officer Jay Bryant.  “Our mission is to maximize returns to our members, and returning these 13th check dollars early solidifies the board’s commitment to that mission.”

This is the second time this year Maryland & Virginia’s board has taken action to distribute cooperative funds to the membership ahead of schedule.  Maryland & Virginia distributed a 50 percent advance payment on 2008 patronage equity in May 2009.  The remainder was distributed the first week in September. 

Source: Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative