Dairy Farmers of America Inc. (DFA) is a milk marketing cooperative with more than 18,000 members representing more than 10,000 dairy farms in 48 states. DFA’s mission is to deliver value to its members through its core business of marketing members’ milk, paying a competitive price and providing leadership in the industry. In addition, DFA is one of the country’s most diversified manufacturers of dairy products, food components and ingredients. The cooperative also is a leader in formulating and packaging shelf-stable dairy products.
Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, DFA is divided into seven geographical areas to better represent its members at a grassroots level. Each area elects members to serve on DFA’s Board of Directors, which governs the cooperative. In 2007, DFA recorded more than $11 billion in sales for its members.
DFA was formed in 1998 through the merger of four dairy cooperatives: Associated Milk Producers, Inc.; Mid-America Dairymen, Inc.; Milk Marketing, Inc.; and Western Dairymen Cooperative, Inc. Officials from the four cooperatives determined that merging would give the nation’s dairy farmers a fair voice in national policy making and the ability to address the needs of national customers. Since then, three other cooperatives have become a part of DFA – Independent Cooperative Milk Producers Association, Valley of Virginia Milk Producers Association and California Cooperative Creamery.
Member organization Associated Milk Producers, Inc., came to public attention in the early 1970s after investigation of connections between President Richard Nixon's backing of dairy price supports and political donations by an AMPI- related organization, the Trust for Agricultural Political Education, later renamed the Committee for Thorough Agricultural Political Education, or CTAPE. As of late 1971, one Associated Press article compared the $970,000 raised by TAPE to the the $969,000 raised by the political arm of the far-better-known AFL-CIO labor union. Attention to AMPI grew after Nixon changed from prominently opposing milk price supports in February 1973 Testimony by AMPI general manager George L. Mehrens in 1973 identified Nixon aide and fund-raiser Herb Kalmbach as a major solicitor of re-election campaign contributions from AMPI and two other cooperatives; articles on Charles Colson's involvement in the AMPI scandal indicated that $2 million in contributions had been expected, but that the actual donations were nearer to $400,000, of which some $197,500 had been given by AMPI. Articles investigating the gifts also mentioned donations to Texas candidates Graham Purcell and Barefoot Sanders by political committees associated with Mid-America Dairymen, Inc. (Agricultural and Dairy Education Political Trust, or ADEPT) and Dairymen, Inc. (Special Political Agricultural Community Education, or SPACE).
Today, DFA markets its members’ milk nationally and internationally and has joint ventures and partnerships with several food and processing companies. The cooperative is led by Rick Smith, president and chief executive officer, and Tom Camerlo, chairman of the board and dairy farmer from Florence, Colorado.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Associated Press. "Dairy political fund has clout," The Dallas Morning News, December 22, 1971, page 2A.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 New York Times News Service. "Nixon's lawyer listed as solicitor," The Dallas Morning News, January 11, 1973, page 5A.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Washington Bureau of The Dallas Morning News. "Farm, labor gifts to Sanders reported $78,500," The Dallas Morning News, March 18, 1973, page 1A.
- ↑ Associated Press. "Nixon attacks milk price support bill," The Dallas Morning News, February 10, 1973, page 34.