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Dairy Farmers of America reported its 2020 financial results this week.

The national cooperative increased its net income and net sales, primarily due to DFA acquiring a significant portion of Dean Foods’ assets out of bankruptcy. The cooperative’s net income, excluding non-recurring items, was $170.6 million for 2020 compared to $83.2 million for 2019.

While this increase was significant, lower U.S. milk prices partially offset the increase. The U.S. all milk price averaged $17.79 per hundredweight in 2020 compared to $18.46 in 2019. DFA’s net sales totaled $17.8 billion for 2020, compared to $15.8 billion in 2019.

“While 2020 was a challenging year for many, I am proud of the hard work and resiliency of our family farm-owners and employees. They stayed focused throughout the pandemic in order to keep people across the United States and the world nourished and fed,” said Rick Smith, DFA president and chief executive officer. “Despite the challenges, we made solid progress on our strategic goals. We continued to provide value to our family farm-owners by growing our commercial businesses, including the acquisition of a significant portion of Dean Foods’ assets. We stayed focused on sustainability and our commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030 and continued to support our local communities by making donations to food banks and helping feed those in need.”

A Year of Growth

In 2020, DFA directed the marketing of 63.2 billion pounds of milk for both members and others through the cooperative’s consolidated businesses, which represent approximately 28% of the total milk production in the United States. Cash distributed to members in 2020 totaled $46 million.

Of the cash distributed to members in 2020, $27 million was in equity retirements and $19 million represented the cash portion of the allocated patronage dividends.

In May 2020, DFA acquired 43 manufacturing facilities from Dean Foods out of bankruptcy. With this acquisition, the cooperative not only secured milk markets and strengthened its processing network, but also helped create additional opportunities and returns for its family farm-owners.

Additionally, in the fall of 2020, construction was completed, and the first milk was received, at a new cheese and whey manufacturing facility, MWC, in St. Johns, Michigan. This plant is a joint venture partnership with Glanbia Nutritionals and Select Milk Producers Inc. and is driven by Michigan’s growing milk supply and an increasing worldwide demand for dairy products.

In 2020, DFA was the first U.S. dairy cooperative to establish science-based targets and committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions across its supply chain by 30% by 2030. DFA’s target is aligned with the work of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and its goals for the U.S. dairy industry to become carbon neutral or better by 2050.

Finally, with the growing demand for food as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, DFA helped support local communities with the creation of its Farmers Feeding Families Fund, which helps raise money and get dairy products to food banks across the country. To date, the fund has raised more than $675,000 thanks to donations from DFA farmer-owners, employees and industry partners and has distributed hundreds of thousands of those funds to more than 230 community food banks for the purchase of dairy products.

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