The Dairy Farmers of America had planned to hold its annual meeting March 16-18 at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center. The event features several speakers, highlighted by a report by CEO Rick Smith on the cooperative’s financial results.
DFA officials were not available for comment. A notice on its website noted growing concerns about travel and large public gatherings and said the move was made “out of an abundance of caution.”
The DFA’s announcement came before Kansas officials announced on Saturday that a Johnson County woman is presumed to have the disease, formally called COVID-19.
The postponement of the DFA annual meeting is the first large public event in the Kansas City area to be put off due to coronavirus. It also comes at a time when the dairy industry, and the cooperative are in the spotlight.
The DFA made an offer in February to buy assets of Dean Foods Co. for $425 million plus assumption of various liabilities. The deal includes the Morning Glory dairy plant in De Pere. Dean Foods, the nation’s largest milk processor, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November.
Borden Dairy Co. filed for bankruptcy reorganization in January.
DFA is the nation’s largest dairy cooperative, with roughly 14,000 members. It also is the Kansas City area’s largest private company, with 2018 revenue of $13.6 billion.