Farms that supply a New Jersey dairy processor will have an opportunity to join Dairy Farmers of America as the plant owner changes strategies.
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Wakefern Food Corp., owner of Readington Farms in Whitehouse Station, has decided to get its milk from a third-party provider.

“After evaluating our existing capabilities and the changing consumer demand for milk and plant-based options, we recognized the need to have a facility that could produce a broader variety of beverages,” said Karen O’Shea, a Wakefern spokeswoman.

The transition from Readington to DFA will begin this month and continue until all stores are served by the new provider, a process that will take several months.

Wakefern, owner of ShopRite and other grocery brands, is negotiating for the co-op to offer membership to current Readington shippers.

Readington Farms’ website says the company receives milk from over 150 independent farms in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but O’Shea did not confirm this number.

Wakefern had considered building a new plant in Pennsylvania, according to Lehigh Valley Live. But the grocery company ultimately decided to get out of dairy processing, and it has not decided what to do with the Readington Farms plant.

DFA has seven fluid milk plants in Wakefern’s territory, O’Shea said.

According to its website, Readington Farms produces milk, bottled water, orange juice, iced tea and other drinks for more than 350 ShopRite and Price Rite grocery stores and QuikCheck convenience stores in the Mid-Atlantic and New England. The plant can process 15,000 gallons of milk per hour.

Readington Farms was founded in 1888 as Durling Farms, a milk bottler in Pottersville, New Jersey. The plant remained in the Durling family for four generations before being sold to Wakefern in 1990.

As U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration seeks to revive its ambitious social spending and climate plan in Congress, environmental groups and the farm industry are at odds over proposed subsidies aimed at offsetting agriculture’s substantial contribution to global warming.

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