During a special meeting in Syracuse, NY, members of Dairylea Cooperative Inc. approved the proposed merger with Dairy Farmers of America (DFA).
The merger will become official on April 1, and combines Dairylea's Northeast-based 1,200 members with DFA's 13,000 nationwide dairy farmer members.
The cooperatives have enjoyed a successful working relationship since DFA was formed in 1998. Working together, Dairylea and DFA have created efficiencies in milk assembly, transportation and marketing, as well as joint management of Farm Services and membership operations in the Northeast.
"In many ways, it will just be business as usual as we expand upon the working relationship DFA and Dairylea have established over the past 15 years," said Rick Smith, DFA president and chief executive officer.
Greg Wickham, Dairylea's chief executive officer, highlighted that the merger brings brands, plants and end products back to Dairylea members while maintaining the values, strategic goals and vision of Dairylea.
"This merger makes sense because DFA and Dairylea share strategic goals, our values align, our missions are similar, and our vision is the same," Wickham said. "Dairy farmers take pride in producing milk for consumer products and merging with DFA allows us to take our capital and assist with growing existing plants and brands to feed the world."
According to William Beeman, Dairylea chairman and president, "Dairylea has a proud past, and this merger with DFA will ensure a promising future for our members."
Although a national cooperative, DFA's grassroots structure ensures the Cooperative's Northeast Area Council will maintain local governance familiar to Dairylea members.
When the merger takes effect on April 1, Dairylea's nearly 300 employees will become employees of DFA and continue to provide service to Northeast dairy farms out of the offices currently shared by both Cooperatives in Syracuse, NY.
There will be no disruption in operations or milk procurement in the Northeast.