At the Cooperative’s Annual Meeting today, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), officials reported net income of $127.4 million for 2017. DFA’s net sales totaled $14.7 billion for 2017, compared to $13.5 billion in 2016. This increase is due to unit sales growth as well as higher milk prices, which averaged $17.63 per hundredweight in 2017 compared with $16.30 in 2016.
“Everything we do, from investing in commercial businesses to creating new product innovations to growing our global relationships, is done to provide value to the dairy farm families who own the Cooperative,” says Rick Smith, president and chief executive officer. “We stand behind our hardworking farmer-owners and are dedicated to finding new opportunities to market their milk, offer valuable services and resources and protect their livelihoods for years to come.”
In 2017, DFA directed the marketing of 64.4 billion pounds of milk for both members and others through the Cooperative’s consolidated businesses, which represent approximately 30 percent of the total milk production in the United States. Cash distributed to members in 2017 totaled $60 million compared to $42 million in 2016. Of the cash distributed to members in 2017, $33 million was in equity retirements and $27 million was in allocated patronage (profit) dividends.
DFA continued to grow its commercial investments in 2017. The Cooperative acquired Cumberland Dairy, a family-owned processor of ultra-pasteurized dairy products located in Bridgeton, N.J. Additionally, DFA expanded several facilities, including its plant in Middlebury Center, Pa., and its Dairy Maid Dairy plant in Frederick, Md., which resulted in a total capacity increase for the two plants of 650,000 pounds of milk per day.
In 2017, DFA also celebrated the opening of a new, state-of-the-art dairy ingredients plant in Garden City, Kan. The facility is a partnership between the Cooperative and 12 member farms in Southwest Kansas and supports milk production growth in the region as well as rising global demand. The plant, which produces whole and skim milk powder, nonfat dry milk and cream, will receive approximately 4 million pounds of milk per day.
Additionally, DFA announced a joint venture partnership with Glanbia plc and Select Milk Producers, Inc. to build, supply and operate a large-scale cheese and whey production facility in Michigan. The plant is expected to be operational in 2020. Finally, progress continues on phase two of our Western New York facility with the construction of a premium cheddar cheese plant; a joint venture between the Cooperative, Arla Foods of Denmark and eight DFA farmer-owners in the local area.
DFA also continued to grow and invest in its regional brands, which connect the Cooperative’s family farms to family tables. Borden® Cheese launched whole milk string cheese to meet consumer demand for full-fat dairy products. The brand also released its line of thick cut shreds in multiple varieties as well as snack bars in response to consumer trends for more snackable dairy options. Kemps® launched probiotic milk in two percent and fat free. This is a first for the category, providing live active cultures and probiotics to help support digestive health.