Five dairy co-ops handled 49% of the milk

The largest dairy cooperatives in the country marketed more milk from fewer farms last year. Hoard’s Dairyman has published its annual list of the Top 50 Dairy Cooperatives and it shows while total milk marketed through those co-ops increased 1.2 percent for the year, the number of member farms decreased 5.1 percent to 38,462.

The October 10, 2012 issue shows 79 percent of the nation’s milk was marketed through cooperatives in 2011, 49 percent of it was marketed by the top-five co-ops. Dairy Farmers of America remains the largest, marketing 39 billion pounds of milk from 8,697 member farms. California Dairies is second in milk marketed with 16.8 billion pounds from just 495 farms. Land O’Lakes handled just over 13 billion pounds from 2,586 farms putting them third on the list.

Northwest Dairy Association of Washington and Dairylea of New York round-out the top-five which is unchanged from last year. There was a change at number-6 where Family Dairies USA of Wisconsin nudged-past Minnesota-based AMPI. They were followed by two Wisconsin co-ops, Foremost Farms and Manitowoc Milk Producers. Select Milk Producers of New Mexico is tenth on the list marketing 4.2 billion pounds of milk from just 60 members giving it the distinction of the most milk per dairy; 70.2 million pounds.

The nation’s largest organic milk processor, Organic Valley moved up one spot to number-25 on the list with 1.22 billion pounds of milk in 2011 compared to 1.15 billion in 2010.

On a membership basis; DFA is the largest with 8,697 followed by AMPI with 2,800, Manitowoc Milk with 2,663, Land O’Lakes with 2,586 and Family Dairies USA with 2,310.

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