Some Michigan dairy farmers are caught up in the middle of Dean Foods’ bankruptcy.
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File photo by Philip Gruber

Dean Foods filed for bankruptcy in November of 2019.

Michigan’s attorney general learned that Dean Foods sent notices to a handful of Michigan dairy farmers who direct-ship their milk to a former Dean dairy plant in the Upper Peninsula.

The notice is an attempt to force those dairy farmers to repay a portion of the amount Dean paid the farmers during the 90-day period before Dean filed for bankruptcy.

Attorney General Dana Nessel says the move is a common practice under bankruptcy law, but not all the money paid may be subject to these kinds of claims.

She says Sen. Ed McBroom brought the issue to her attention.

“We are disappointed that hard working dairy farmers and their families are put in the position of having to incur costs, either in paying the amount demanded or from obtaining legal counsel to defend themselves – and I want to personally thank Sen. McBroom for bringing this issue to my attention,” said Nessel.

Any farmers with questions should contact their private legal counsel.

Questions regarding the Dean Foods notice can be directed to Jeff Haarer in the Agriculture Development Division of MDARD at 517-896-2236.

Senate Agriculture Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Local Food Systems, and Food Safety and Security Subcommittee Chairwoman Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., on Sept. 15 chaired a hearing on volatile milk pricing and federal milk marketing order system modernization.

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