The nation’s largest dairy cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), held its annual meeting on March 23 in Kansas City, Missouri.
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Rick Smith addressed the 2022 DFA Annual Meeting in Kansas City, Missouri. (Karen Bohnert)

DFA President and Chief Executive Officer, Rick Smith. stated, “COVID-19 variants and ongoing supply chain challenges have made 2021 a difficult year for many, but our family farm-owners and employees have continued to persevere and stay focused on keeping people across the United States and the world nourished with milk and other dairy products.”

Smith shared real struggles with their member-owner audience, including labor shortages.

“We’ve got 1,500 open positions at DFA. That’s 10% of our workforce,” Smith reported. “The supply chain, in our case, starts with the milk hauler. That’s not getting any easier. We have over 3,000 truckloads a day moving around the United States serving our 400 customer locations.”

Amongst the challenges DFA is faced with, they also highlighted areas of growth, including their reported net income. DFA officials reported a net income of $199 million for 2021, which grew more than 16% compared to 2020. Net sales follow suited, totaling $19.3 billion for 2021, up more than 8% from 2020.

In 2021, DFA members took home an average pay price of $18.37 per cwt., up $0.58 per cwt. from 2020. Last year, DFA marketed more than 65 billion lb. of milk for their members and others through the cooperative’s consolidation businesses, which tallies 29% of the total U.S. milk production.

DFA has more than 11,500 family farm-owners and manufactures a variety of dairy products, including fluid milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, dairy ingredients and more.

Smith acknowledged the packed audience of mostly DFA member-owners. “Thank you for your commitment to DFA and how you’re feeding the world. The world’s going to need you to continue doing that and more,” he stated.

Members of Distinction

DFA’s Members of Distinction program recognizes members who excel in their operations, in their communities and in the industry. They inspire others through their actions, leadership and involvement, and embody the Cooperative’s core values. Due to virtual meetings held the last year, both 2020 and 2021 members of distinction were recognized at this year’s meeting, including:

  • Central Area: (2020) Brick family, Brickstead Dairy – Greenleaf, Wisconsin, and (2021) Haase family, DaBru Dairy – Parker, South Dakota
  • Mideast Area: (2020) Oesch family, Swisslane Farms – Alto, Michigan, and (2021) Haines family, Haines Farms –Stockport, Ohio
  • Mountain Area: (2020) Roth family, Si-Ellen Farms – Jerome, Idaho, and (2021) Koolstra family, Daisy Lane Dairy – Cope, Colorado
  • Northeast Area: (2020) Garber family, Rock Solid Dairy LLC – Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, and (2021) Smiley family, Russell Smiley Dairy Farm – Middletown, New York
  • Southeast Area: (2020) Crawley family, Crawley’s Valley View Farms – Gravette, Arkansas, and (2021) Chapman family, Chapman Jersey Farm LLC – Taylorsville, North Carolina
  • Southwest Area: (2020) Schroeder family, Lawrence Schroeder Dairy – Windthorst, Texas, and (2021) Collier family, T&K Dairy – Snyder, Texas
  • Western Area: (2020) De Snayer family, De Snayer Dairy — Lodi, California, and (2021) Carvalho family, Carvalho Dairy Farms — Crows Landing, California.

The marketers are at it again, breathlessly promoting “innovation” as a storm of startups gather, each hoping to cash out their venture capital before their business models crash and burn.

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