Our History

A mark of vision

By 1996 the dairy industry was changing rapidly. And as milk processors and grocers grew larger and more national in scope, it was clear that the regional structure of the traditional cooperative couldn’t keep up. So leaders from four of the nation’s leading milk cooperatives including Associated Milk Producers, Inc., Mid-America Dairymen, Inc., Milk Marketing, Inc., and Western Dairymen Cooperative, Inc. decided to take the reigns and make a change.

Motivated by a shared vision, they created a unified community that set out to empower the dairy farmer by uniting talents, leadership, markets and capital into a single, strong cooperative. And on January 1, 1998, DFA was formed.

A mark of growth

Since then, DFA has grown to more than 14,000 dairy farmer members and 46 plants nationwide making cheese, butter, ice cream, dairy ingredients, fluid milk and more under well-known, quality national and regional brands.

In 2006, Rick Smith became DFA’s president and chief executive officer. Smith has been crucial in developing our Cooperative’s current culture of integrity and transparency, and in redirecting the Cooperative to sharpen its focus on members.

A mark of the future

Today, DFA is rising as a farmer-owned global food company, focused on quality, innovation and the future. We empower more than 14,000 members through our core business of marketing members’ milk, paying them a competitive price and being a leader in the dairy industry. We also offer programs and services that make it easier and more profitable for our members to farm. On a global scale, we work with some of the world’s largest food companies to develop ingredients their customers are craving, provide high-quality raw milk for use in a variety of dairy products and create innovative dairy products for families around the globe.