The board of directors of St. Albans Cooperative Creamery (SACC) has voted unanimously to recommend to its membership a merger with Dairy Farmers of America (DFA). The merger proposal, discussed by SACC members at a recent meeting, reflects a desire to position co-op members for a secure, long-term future amid rapidly changing market dynamics.
The proposed merger requires approval by SACC members, who will be asked to vote during a special member meeting in late July.
“Our board has been working nearly two years to strategically plan for the future of our members,” SACC board of directors chairman Harold J. Howrigan Jr. said. “With increasing shifts in customer needs, an imbalance in supply and demand and a volatile milk price cycle, it is clear change is needed for our cooperative; however, with change comes great opportunity. DFA offers increased value to our members, with the ability to make continued investments in operations, a clear vision for the future and the depth of leadership to carry out that vision.”
SACC has been an integral part of the Vermont dairy community for the past century and a member cooperative of DFA since 2003. As a national dairy marketing cooperative, DFA offers SACC members milk market security, investments in a nationwide network of manufacturing facilities, access to patronage dividends and valuable member programs and services.
Conversely, the merger provides DFA members with established customer relationships, investments in critical hauling and manufacturing assets in the Northeast and increased milk marketing activities in the region.
“DFA and St. Albans have always had closely aligned philosophies and values, with both cooperatives focused on providing value to members and committed to preserving the Northeast tradition of family dairy farming for years to come,” said Brad Keating, senior vice president and chief operating officer of DFA’s Northeast Area. “With our strong history of working together, a merger is a natural evolution of our partnership.”
As part of the merger, McDermotts, a hauling company currently owned and operated by SACC, would become a wholly owned subsidiary of DFA, as would the St. Albans Cooperative Store and St. Albans Cooperative Creamery Plant.
“I have seen the dairy industry evolve and the continued need for dairy farmers to work together. DFA has been a strategic partner, and I am very enthusiastic about what they will bring to our members, community and state,” SACC chief executive officer Leon Berthiaume said.