Allied Milk Producers: A Brief History

5/17/2014 7:00 AM

The Allied Milk Producers’ Cooperative Inc. was organized in 1950 through the combined efforts of the Sanitary Dairy Company of Johnstown, Pa., and the dairy farmer producer pool supplying raw milk to the company. The cooperative was funded by a 3 cents per hundredweight checkoff taken from the farmer’s milk check. The cooperative worked with the UDIA to do a modest amount of promotion and advertising. In addition, the cooperative was able to be a vehicle for group insurance and other services, especially auto and health insurance for the farmers.

An annual meeting was held with reports from the dairy and the cooperative; light refreshments and entertainment were provided. The meetings were well-attended, possibly because there were few other diversions for the farmers.

In the early 1960s, the dairy determined to progress to bulk tanks and recommended to farmers the purchase of only Majonier brand tanks. There was considerable push back from the farmers who resented what they saw as a dictatorial maneuver. The cooperative was able to help smooth the transition.

As time went on, group purchasing of services was less utilized by the cooperative member and producers and these services were dropped. Some of the directors of the cooperative had served for a long period of time and a successful effort was made to bring in new directors. The new faces endeavored to increase product promotion by including radio advertising. The directors operated the cooperative literally from the tops of their bulk tanks, which they used as a desk. There was no monetary compensation for their time.

With the passing of the Dairy Act of 1983, the board of directors was confronted with the dilemma of whether to close down the cooperative or apply to be a qualifying agency. The Dairy Act of 1983 established a national checkoff, where 15 cents per hundredweight would be deducted from producers. Five cents would go to the national promotion group; the other 10 cents could go wherever the producer indicated. The cooperative bylaws stated from the beginning days that in the event of a national checkoff the member dues would be reduced to 1 cent per hundredweight. The directors believed that the cooperative should easily qualify as they understood the criteria of the Dairy Act and so the decision was made to make application. The cooperative eventually received designation as an approved agency. An immediate search was made for an executive secretary/dairy promotion specialist. An excellent candidate was found in the person of Dorothy Naugle, a retired farm wife with degrees in homemaking and journalism.

The board determined that they would remain organized as a cooperative and become the administrator of the additional 10 cent checkoff money. The cooperative bylaws provided that each county with Sanitary Dairy producers would be an organized county unit with a slate of officers. Each unit would name the president and one other person to serve on a central board of directors. The central board managed the cooperative on behalf of all the members. There is no set number of directors on the central board, that number being determined by the number of counties with 1-cent members. One hundred percent of the Sanitary Dairy producers advised the dairy that they would remain loyal to the Allied Milk Producers’ Cooperative Inc. and directed that the additional 10 cents be forwarded to the cooperative.

Fortunately for the Allied Milk Producers’ Cooperative Inc., a large number of producers, regardless of where their milk was being shipped, declared their intention to continue their checkoff to the cooperative, however, from this point on, the cooperative was no longer a Sanitary Dairy producer pool.

The producer base of Allied is still expanding and with that the board is extending its advertising efforts over a broader area. Allied uses different advertising media including television commercials, radio ads and billboards. They support the Pennsylvania Dairy Princess Program and Ag in the Classroom. Allied is participating in the introduction of milk-based sports beverages to the athletic departments of schools and colleges and will partner with processors doing research and development.

More information can be found on their website at

Does milk have a lot of untapped potential in today’s competitive beverage market?

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