Fluid Assets

by Karyn L. Nelson
Eighty percent of the nation’s milk produced in 2002 was marketed by the top 50 cooperatives. They produced 135.9 billion pounds in 2002 which was up almost 5 billion pounds from 2001. Last year, U.S. dairy producers marketed a total of 168.6 billion pounds. The rank of the top five cooperatives remains the same for the fourth consecutive year. In the next five, only a few changes occurred. Family Dairies USA surpassed Associated Milk Producers to take the No. 6 slot. Michigan Milk Producers rounded out the top 10 this year, pushing Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers to 11th.
Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) continues to lead the pack as it has since its formation in 1998. With 14,329 farms shipping 35.1 billion pounds, DFA members produced about 21 percent of the nation’s milk. DFA handled another 12.7 billion pounds of nonmember milk. The top three co-ops — DFA,
California Dairies and Land O’Lakes — dominate the list. Collectively, their members produced 61.9 billion pounds of milk, more than 36 percent of the U.S. total in 2002.
Continental Dairy Products claimed the title for the most milk per farm with 54.7 million pounds per dairy. Second was Zia Milk Producers with 44.9 million pounds. The cooperative making the greatest leap in rank was Select Milk Producers, which merged with Elite Milk Producers in the summer of 2001. Select rose from 17th to 12th with the merger. Elite had ranked 29th last year.
Another merger joined Independent Dairymen’s Cooperative, 46th last year, with St. Albans Cooperative Creamery. These two mergers allowed Midwest Dairymen’s Company and Hastings Cooperative Creamery to reappear on our list at 49th and 50th.
Information for our Top 50 Co-op List is provided to Hoard’s Dairyman by the cooperatives during the summer. Each cooperative is contacted and asked to provide the previous year’s information. Since some co-ops end their fiscal year on a date other than December 31, milk volume and member farms may not necessarily represent the 2002 calendar year.

Top 50 CO-Ops
Rank Dairy cooperative Member milk volume (bil. lbs.) Member farms
1 4 Dairy Farmers of AmericaKansas City, Mo. 35.108 14,329
2 4 California Dairies Inc.Los Banos, Calif. 14.639 672
3 4 Land O’Lakes Inc.St. Paul, Minn. 12.185 4,610
4 4 Northwest Dairy AssociationSeattle, Wash. 6.400 732
5 4 Dairylea Cooperative Inc.East Syracuse, N.Y. 5.500 2,511
6 Family Dairies USAMadison, Wis. 5.480 4,401
7 4 Associated Milk Producers Inc.New Ulm, Minn, 5.200 4,600
8 4 Foremost Farms USABaraboo, Wis. 5.033 3,766
9 4 Manitowoc Milk Producers CooperativeManitowoc, Wis. 3.970 2,793
10 4 Michigan Milk Producers AssociationNovi, Mich. 3.203 1,805
11 4 Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Co-op Reston, Va. 3.141 1,513
12 4 Select Milk Producers Inc.Artesia, N.M. 2.938 77
13 4 Southeast Milk Inc.Belleview, Fla. 2.920 305
14 4 United Dairymen of ArizonaTempe, Ariz. 2.475 99
15 4 Agri-Mark Inc.Lawrence, Mass. 2.287 1,341
16 4 Swiss Valley Farms Co.Davenport, Iowa 2.107 1,478
17 Alto Dairy CooperativeWaupun, Wis. 1.905 937
18 Allied Federated CooperativesCanton, N.Y. 1.730 1,919
19 4 Milwaukee Cooperative Milk ProducersMilwaukee, Wis. 1.670 822
20 4 First District AssociationLitchfield, Minn. 1.621 1,518
21 4 Prairie Farms Dairy Inc.Carlinville, Ill. 1.280 864
22 Security Milk Producers AssociationOntario, Calif. 1.190 39
23 4 St. Albans Cooperative Creamery Inc.St. Albans, Vt. 1.152 518
24 Woodstock Progressive Milk Producers Assn.Woodstock, Ill. 1.080 525
25 4 Lone Star Milk ProducersWindthorst, Texas 1.060 170
26 4 Upstate Farms Cooperative Inc.Buffalo, N. Y. 0.995 331
27 4 Continental Dairy Products Inc.Artesia, N.M. 0.875 16
28 Bongards CreameriesBongards, Minn. 0.763 506
29 Magic Valley Quality Milk ProducersJerome, Idaho 0.753 34
30 Central Valley Dairymen Cooperative Inc.Modesto, Calif. 0.617 80
31 Mount Joy Farmers Cooperative Inc.Mount Joy, Pa. 0.560 312
32 4 Tillamook County Creamery AssociationTillamook, Ore. 0.549 150
33 4 Ellsworth Cooperative CreameryEllsworth, Wis. 0.521 514
34 4 Farmers Cooperative CreameryMcMinnville, Ore. 0.504 60
35 4 Niagara Milk Cooperative Inc.Niagara Falls, N.Y. 0.475 183
36 Conesus Milk Producers Cooperative Inc.Perry, N.Y. 0.444 124
37 Plainview Milk Products CooperativePlainview, Minn. 0.390 320
37 Cal-West Dairymen Inc.Walnut Creek, Calif. 0.390 25
39 4 Zia Milk Producers Inc.Roswell, N.M. 0.359 8
40 4 Cass-Clay Creamery Inc.Fargo, N.D. 0.352 388
41 Lowville Producers Dairy Cooperative Inc.Lowville, N.Y. 0.272 198
42 Humboldt Cooperative Creamery AssociationFortuna, Calif 0.235 65
43 4 Arkansas Dairy Co-op AssociationDamascus, Ark. 0.228 160
44 Burnett Dairy CooperativeGrantsburg, Wis. 0.221 210
45 Sunrise Ag CooperativeBuckman, Minn. 0.202 200
46 Southeastern Graded Milk Producers Assn.Somerset, Ky. 0.197 264
47 4 Cooperative Milk Producers Association Inc.Blackstone, Va. 0.190 77
48 4 Country Classic Dairies, Inc.Bozeman, Mont. 0.187 80
49 4 Midwest Dairymen’s Co.Rockford, Ill. 0.168 130
50 4 Hastings Cooperative Creamery AssociationHastings, Minn. 0.162 124