Dairy Farmers of America Issues $9.5 Million to Assist Members

Special Payment to Ease Economic Burden of Nearly 11,000 Dairy Farms
July 17, 2009

Kansas City, Mo. - Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.’s (DFA) Board of Directors has approved a special cash payment to members in an effort to ease economic burdens facing the dairy industry.

The $9.5 million payment – equivalent to 5 cents per hundredweight for milk marketed through DFA from January through June 2009 – will be issued to 10,750 member farms active as of June 30, 2009.

“Obviously, relief has not come as quickly as we hoped, but we are committed to finding ways to ease stress that will have both short- and long-term impact on the dairy industry,” said Tom Camerlo, chairman of DFA’s Board of Directors. “Because of our conservative financial structure and diversified sources of capital, DFA is well prepared to offer this special form of assistance to our members.”

The newly announced payment follows an early patronage distribution in April, and will be joined by the balance of members’ annual patronage payment in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, DFA’s Board and management continue working to identify short- and long-term solutions to the dairy crisis, both within the Cooperative and through collaboration with peer industry groups, including National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and Dairy Management Inc.

The following DFA initiatives are underway to assist members through the crisis and inspire price recovery:

  • Ongoing support for the Dairy Export Incentive Program (DEIP), which allows the United States to better compete in the world market against subsidized exporters.
  • Encouraging the implementation of the Price Support Program and supported increased dairy purchases for distribution through USDA nutrition programs.
  • Working with NMPF for continued support of Cooperatives Working Together’s Herd Retirement Program.
  • Establishment of a DFA Price Stabilization Study Committee which created guidelines for DFA and the U.S. industry on price stabilization and encouraged NMPF to create a task force to evaluate policy options that will stabilize the milk industry into the future.
  • Support for the Promotion Assessment on Dairy Imports program, an assessment on imports that could generate $6 million annually for promotion programs.
  • Collaboration with other cooperatives to achieve cost reductions through milk swaps, consolidation of laboratory functions and other activities.
  • Investment in plants and products that will bring returns to members, including plant expansions at Fort Morgan, Colo., and Schulenburg, Texas; the recent acquisition of Berkshire Dairy and Food Products, Inc.; and the recent introduction of Borden’s Single Sensations premium flavored cheese singles.
  • Establishing the DFA Cares Hotline, a resource for members in need of consultative advice or assistance with farm stress, and continual development of member programs and services designed to increase profit margins, from bulk buying programs and loans and leases to price risk management.