Three groups to merge, form FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative

2012-12-18T17:15:00Z Three groups to merge, form FarmFirst Dairy CooperativeBARRY ADAMS | Wisconsin State Journal | | 608-252-6148

Members of three Wisconsin dairy organizations have voted to merge, creating one of the largest dairy marketing cooperatives in the Midwest.

FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative will begin business Jan. 1 with headquarters in Madison.

Members of Family Dairies USA of Madison, Manitowoc Milk Producers Cooperative and Milwaukee Cooperative Milk Producers approved the merger Tuesday during meetings in Stevens Point and Brookfield.

"This is an exciting moment for our members," said David Cooper, general manager of Family Dairies USA. "This membership vote is the first step in achieving benefits in efficiency and a stronger voice for our members."

The new cooperative will be divided into nine districts. Dennis Donohue, general manager of Manitowoc Milk Producers Cooperative, will assume the role of general manager while Cooper and Jim Bird will become assistant general managers.

The Family Dairies USA Milk Program and the Fox Valley Quality Control Laboratory will continue to operate as subsidiaries of the new cooperative.

Family Dairies USA is a lobbying and marketing organization formed in 1971 and represents about 2,300 farms.

Manitowoc Milk Producers Cooperative, established in 1933, represents more than 2,650 farms. It provides federal milk marketing order services to members and is co-owner of a milk quality testing laboratory.

Milwaukee Cooperative Milk Producers in Brookfield is an insurance provider, representing about 500 farms.

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