Spurred by the industry's economic challenges, the nation's largest dairy marketing cooperative said today it will make an early payment of $11.4 million in shared earnings to help ease members' financial stress.
Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA) will issue the members' patronage payment beginning this week to 12,312 members who marketed their milk through the co-op in 2008.
The cash patronage payment equals 3 cents/cwt.
Patronage is the cooperative's way of sharing its earnings with members.
"It's always been the commitment of the board of directors to share the earnings of the cooperative with our members annually,” said Tom Camerlo, chairman of DFA's board of directors. "This year, we felt it was important to deliver this check earlier in the year and in cash with the hope that we can provide some assistance in this tough time.”
A remaining allocation for 2008 patronage will be paid to members by Sept. 15. The amount of patronage each year is based on the amount of milk each member markets through the co-op.
The Kansas City, Mo.-based co-op, which celebrated its 11th annual meeting last month, is owned by more than 18,000 dairy producers in 48 states. For 2008, DFA reported record revenues of $11.7 billion and net income of $61.7 million. The co-op marketed 61.2 billion pounds of milk and directed more than $7 billion dollars in milk payments to members.
Catherine Merlo is Western editor for Dairy Today. You can reach her at email@example.com.