Prairie Farms Dairy, one of the largest dairy cooperatives in the Midwest, and Swiss Valley Farms, a dairy cooperative with five cheese production facilities, recently announced that they are merging. Prairie Farms has more than 600 farm families, 5,700 employees, 35 manufacturing plants, 100-plus distribution facilities and annual sales of more than $3 billion.
Both companies are recognized leaders within the dairy industry. The combined entity will bring together two well-known brands and will expand sales opportunities for both cooperatives.
“The merger with Swiss Valley was driven by our commitment to build value for our cooperative members and is consistent with our growth strategy. Swiss Valley’s contributions will allow us to diversify our product portfolio and expand into new markets,” said Ed Mullins, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Prairie Farms.
Under the terms of the agreement, Prairie Farms will merge the assets of Swiss Valley Farms into Prairie Farms Dairy Inc. The assets include five manufacturing plants that produce cheese and whey powder located in: Luana, Iowa; Shullsburg and Mindoro, Wis., and Rochester and Faribault, Minn. Swiss Valley Farms CEO Chris Hoeger will continue to oversee the operation of the plants.
The combined company will operate under the name Prairie Farms Dairy Inc. The terms of the merger agreement must be approved by members from both cooperatives.
"We are very excited to be joining forces with Prairie Farms. This merger offers numerous benefits for our cooperative members and is an ideal opportunity to bring together two industry leaders,” Hoeger said. “We will leverage the strengths of both companies to offer a broader range of products and to enhance and expand relationships with customers.”
If approved, the deal is expected to close in mid-2017.