Our HistoryOur History

In 1996, leaders from four of the nation’s leading milk cooperatives – Associated Milk Producers, Inc., Mid-America Dairymen, Inc., Milk Marketing, Inc., and Western Dairymen Cooperative, Inc. – gathered to discuss strategies for surviving in a consolidating world. As milk processors and grocers grew larger and more national in scope, the regional structure of cooperatives could not keep up. These four cooperatives realized a shared vision – to unite their talents, leadership, markets and capital into a single, stronger cooperative better able to work for the dairy farmer. On January 1, 1998, DFA was formed.

Since then, five more cooperatives merged into DFA – Independent Cooperative Milk Producers Association, Valley of Virginia Milk Producers Association, Black Hills Milk Producers, California Cooperative Creamery (Cal-Gold) and Dairylea Cooperative – in order to take advantage of the unified voice and other benefits that working together brings to their members.

The model for farmers working together was so successful that in 1999, DFA partnered with former member cooperative Dairylea to create Dairy Marketing Services (DMS). DMS markets milk for both independent producers and cooperative members. Originally formed to give producers in the Northeast a better return for their milk, DMS is now a national organization.

DFA’s president and chief executive officer, Rick Smith, took the reigns in 2006 after serving as Dairylea’s chief executive officer. Smith has been crucial in developing the Cooperative’s current culture of integrity and transparency and in redirecting the Cooperative to sharpen its focus on members.

Today, DFA is a leading milk marketing cooperative and dairy food processor. We serve more than 13,000 members through our core business of marketing members’ milk, paying them a competitive price and being a leader in the dairy industry. In addition, we offer programs and services that make it easier and more profitable for our members to farm.