Business is booming at Dairy Farmers of America’s Southern Utah plant as the nationwide cooperative looks to introduce itself to the community.
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Dairy Farmers of America employees at work, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Dairy Farmers of America, St. George News

Locals may remember the facility in St. George’s industrial sector as belonging to Dean Foods, once the nation’s largest milk producer. While it may occupy the same building, the plant is under completely new leadership supported by the nation’s largest cooperative of farmers. Dairy Farmers of America works directly with local, family-owned farms to transform raw milk into products that consumers know and love.

“From the production floor to my office, we’re all learning together,” general manager Ken Kaneversky said. “We’re invested in our people and committed to doing the right thing.”

Citing a decades-long drop in milk consumption, Dean Foods declared bankruptcy in the fall of 2019. Dairy Farmers of America subsequently acquired a considerable portion of the company’s assets, including the manufacturing plant in St. George. The plant had been owned by Dean Foods since 2014 and previously functioned as an ice cream production facility for Blue Bunny.

The plant produces nearly 2 million gallons of packaged ice cream, frozen yogurt and sherbets every month. Products are distributed under the Meadow Gold Dairy label (a Dairy Farmers of America regional brand) and private customer labels.

It takes an incredible team to deliver the goodness of dairy and enrich communities across the country. Dairy Farmers of America currently provides 108 jobs to the St. George area, and plant manager Brian Moser said additional help is needed to fill a new production line.

The plant churns out ice cream products around the clock Monday through Saturday. Employees work 12-hour shifts three days one week and four days the next, meaning they enjoy a long weekend every other week.

Ice cream is a fun product to make, Moser said, and the plant’s leadership is committed to creating a positive work environment. Dairy Farmers of America offers competitive wages starting at $19 per hour and plenty of chances for advancement. The cooperative operates four manufacturing plants in Utah and a total of 86 nationwide.

“We’re looking for people who are interested in careers, not just jobs,” human resources manager Whitney Badger said. “There’s a lot of opportunity for internal promotion and growth within the organization.”

Established in 1998 through a merger of four dairy cooperatives, Dairy Farmers of America is now a global dairy marketing cooperative owned by 12,500 family farmers from across the country. The company is grounded in farmer ownership and always looking for new ways to grow and invest for the benefit of all participating farms.

“We are owned by and work for the dairy farmers,” Kaneversky said. “They’re not our customers. That’s key.”

Dairy Farmers of America is currently the largest supplier of raw milk in the world and the third-largest global dairy company. The cooperative manufactures a variety of dairy products, including cheese, butter, fluid milk, ice cream, dairy ingredients, at plants nationwide. Employees have their fingerprints on thousands of brands across the marketplace.

Dairy Farmers of America gives back to the communities they serve through the DFA Cares Foundation. In Southern Utah, the cooperative has partnered with Tan’s Treats, a local nonprofit working to eradicate child hunger by filling meal sacks for low-income students.

“Even though DFA is a countrywide co-op, we want to focus on this plant and what’s happening in St. George,” Moser said. “We want to be a good partner for the city and the community.”

“New Zealand farmers will be happy with this result,” said NZX dairy analyst Alex Winning.

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