DFA to Pay $12 million in Settlement

Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. reached a settlement last month with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The settlement ends the CFTC’s investigation into DFA’s trading activities on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) in 2004.

Without admitting or denying the CFTC’s findings in the administrative order, DFA and two of its former officers agreed to pay a negotiated aggregate civil monetary penalty of $12 million. The cooperative also agreed to not engage in speculative trading in milk futures contracts for two years and to retain a monitor to review its trading activities on the CME during that period.

DFA President and CEO Rick Smith said that agreeing to the settlement was in the best interests of the co-op and its members. DFA says the long-pending probe was expensive and diverted time and resources from serving its members.

“Settling this matter will allow us to focus wholly on serving our members and moving the Cooperative forward,” said Smith, who took the helm of the Cooperative in 2006, years after the trading activity in question.

“The transactions addressed by the settlement took place over a one-month period more than four years ago,” said Smith. “We have fully cooperated with the CFTC’s investigation and wanted to put this matter behind us.”

DFA says that prior to reaching the settlement agreement, the co-op voluntarily implemented new policies and to ensure that all trading complies with both the spirit and the letter of the law.

ADPI Establishes Jim Page Scholarship

The American Dairy Products Institute has created the ADPI Jim Page Memorial Scholarship, and is currently accepting applications for dependents of employees (or employees) of member companies.

The scholarship was created in memory of James J. Page, who enjoyed a distinguished marketing career in the dairy industry and served as the Chief Executive Officer of ADPI from 2002 through 2008.

The scholarship is a one-year grant, of a minimum of $1,000. The recipient of the scholarship will be announced at the ADPI/ABI Annual Conference held in Chicago each year.

Page had worked in the dairy industry for more than 30 years. Prior to steering ADPI, he held positions with Dean Foods, Kraft Foods and Pet Dairy. He was instrumental in developing several leading brands, including Milk Chugs and Moosetracks ice cream.

The application deadline for the 2009 scholarship is Feb. 13. A copy of the application can be downloaded from the ADPI Web site at www.adpi.org. For more information contact Steve Griffin at sgriffin@adpi.org or at 630/530-8700 ext. 226.

Perry’s Expansion Continues Despite Economy

AKRON, N.Y.–Perry’s Ice Cream is hoping that collapse of credit sector and sagging consumer spending don’t spoil its nearly completed expansion. Perry’s was near the end of an $8 million dollar expansion in November when the stock market began to plunge.

Perry’s Marketing Vice President Diane Austin recently spoke with the local media about the impact. “Clearly the last number of weeks and months have been difficult in terms of credit,” she said.

Perry’s has added more than 17,000 square feet of cold storage space and re-tooled to change packaging from the ice cream brick to the two-piece cup and lid. But bank loans have been tough to secure, Austin said. ”I think we’re all in an unknown, a bit of an unknown the next couple of months, to see where all that shakes out, and I think everybody, from banks to customers, are all trying to sort through those issues.”

In conjunction with the expansion, Perry’s is introducing a new organic line of ice cream, while at the same time expanding its markets.

Perry’s Communications Coordinator Marissa Wilson said, “There’s a growing interest in going back to eating pure and natural foods and we wanted to give our consumers what they’re looking for.”

Students Learn About Marketing with Got Milk

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif.-For six weeks, the marketing and advertising students from Center for Advanced Research and Technology (CART) in Clovis, Calif., worked hard to craft what they believe could be the next Got Milk? campaign targeted at young people.  They talked to more than 700 teenagers about milk.  They debated over 50 advertising concepts.

Represented by five students in the class, they traveled to San Francisco for the competition. Using wit and humor as well as day-in-the-life experiences of teens, CART students impressed the California Milk Processor Board, and its advertising firm, San Francisco-based Goodby, Silverstein and Partners (GSP) and awarded the students $2,000.

“Sitting there listening to what these students had come up with was just remarkable,” says Steve James, executive director of the CMPB.  “They were so professional that you wouldn’t know they were in high school.  The CART students captured the essence of the Got Milk? campaign and its history.”

The competition was held to celebrate the 15th year of one of the most recognizable taglines in the United States.

New Owners of rBST in Agreement with IDFA

IDFA and Elanco, the new owner of the artificial growth hormone Posilac, both presented testimony at a December hearing with the Kansas Department of Agriculture. And perhaps surprisingly, they were pretty much in agreement on the issues. Discussing the state’s proposed regulation to restrict absence claims, representatives from both organizations agreed that federal labeling guidelines would be a better solution for the industry and consumers.

This hearing continued the public comment period for a proposed state rule that would restrict the use of absence claims on dairy products made from milk from cows not treated with rBST. IDFA Senior Group Vice President Clay Hough attended the hearing and presented testimony, urging the department to drop the proposed regulation and continue to follow the Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines for dairy product labeling.

In its statement, Elanco said a “market-driven collaborative resolution” to the current debate was essential to developing a favorable outcome for both Kansas producers and consumers. While it didn’t name the FDA guidelines specifically, Elanco said it supports and recognizes the value of federal labeling guidelines.

Agropur Buys Schroeder Milk

Schroeder Co. Inc., of Minnesota was acquired by Canadian Agropur last month. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Schroeder will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Agropur. Its brand will remain the same, and it will continue to operate under its existing management. Agropur said it has no plans to lay off any of Schroeder’s 225 employees.

Agropur is a dairy cooperative with annual sales of $3 billion.

“This most recent acquisition is in line with Agropur’s growth strategy and is the first U.S. venture for Agropur Division Natrel, our fluid milk division,” said  Agropur CEO Pierre Claprood. “We plan to use it to build a strong foundation for continued growth.”

Schroeder, a 124-year-old company, has annual revenue of more than $180 million according to Dairy Foods’ Dairy 100.  “By merging our resources with Agropur, Schroeder will be able to grow more quickly than we could by remaining independent,” said Bob Kirchoff, Schroeder’s president, in a press release.