Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA) distributed $26.3 million in patronage earnings to members last week for the milk they marketed through the cooperative in calendar year 2006. Of that amount, $7.2 million was in the form of cash payments. The allocation equates to seven cents per hundredweight.

Patronage is DFA’s method of sharing the earnings of its members. The amount of patronage each year is based on the amount of milk each member markets through the association.

DFA member and dairy farmer Tom Camerlo of Florence, Colo., who also is chairman of DFA’s Board of Directors, points out that the patronage allocations are a commitment the cooperative made to members when it was formed in 1998.

“Every dynamic business needs equity to sustain growth and build markets,” Camerlo explains. “The equity our dairy farmers hold in DFA allows us to seek out new market opportunities and maximize earnings through investments and joint ventures which add to the bottom line earnings of DFA. The patronage checks to our members are part of their return on investment.”

Since DFA’s inception in January 1998, the cooperative has allocated more than $361 million in earnings to members who market their milk through DFA. This represents an average of 11.5 cents per hundredweight per year.

In July, DFA also returned $18.1 million in equity to retired and former members. If you’re a retired or former DFA member who has a new mailing address, contact DFA at (877) 643-7848 or e-mail: equity@dfamilk.com to update your mailing address and to receive your equity payment.

For more information, call (888) 332-6455 or go to: www.dfamilk.com

DFA