Steve Demos has resigned as president of Dallas-based Dean Foods Co.’s White Wave Foods division to pursue other interests, the company announced shortly before press time. Dean chairman and chief executive officer Gregg Engles will assume leadership over White Wave on an interim basis. The company could not be reached for further comment. Dean has hired Wilton, Conn.-based recruiting firm James Mead & Co. to assist in the search for Demos’ replacement.
Farmland Dairies LLC announced the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York has confirmed the company’s reorganization plan in the wake of the Parmalat financial scandal. “The confirmation of our plan is the final step toward allowing Farmland to emerge from bankruptcy as a leading independent dairy processor,” says James Mesterharm, chief restructuring officer for Farmland. The company is reorganizing around its fresh milk and dairy products business in the Northeast and its national aseptic milk products business based in Grand Rapids, Mich. Parmalat acquired Wallington, N.J.-based Farmland in 1999.
Kilkenny, Ireland-based international dairy company Glanbia PLC has announced that its new $190 million production facility in New Mexico, a joint venture between Glanbia’s Southwest Cheese Co. LLC, Dairy Farmers of America Inc. and Select Milk Producers Inc., is expected to begin production as planned in October. The facility is expected to produce more than 110,000 tons of cheese and 7,500 tons of whey proteins annually.
CoolBrands International Inc. reported in late February that it will stop making and distributing ice cream and novelty products for Weight Watchers International Inc. as of May 1 to resolve pending lawsuits between the companies. In August, Ontario-based CoolBrands sued Weight Watchers, alleging violation of an exclusive licensing agreement by signing one with Wells’ Dairy Inc. in July. The lawsuit came a week after Weight Watchers sued CoolBrands, charging the frozen dessert maker intended to breach its licensing contract.
Bruce and Jane Pederson of Westbrook, Minn., were named the 2005 Outstanding Young Cooperators at a contest sponsored by New Ulm, Minn.-based cooperative Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI). A three-member panel of dairy industry professionals chose the Pedersons from a field of dairy producers who were selected to participate in the Young Cooperator (YC) contest held late February. The YC program is designed to build leadership ability, develop insight into the cooperative structure, provide a broader knowledge of AMPI and recognize individual business management.
The Cornucopia Institute has filed two formal complaints asking the  USDA to investigate alleged violations of the federal organic law by factory farms operating in Idaho and California with ties to Dean Foods-owned Horizon Organic. At issue are organic livestock management practices that require ruminants, including dairy cows, to consume a significant percentage of their feed from pasture. The complaints ask the USDA to investigate whether it is legal to confine cows in an industrial setting without access to pasture and still label the resulting milk and dairy products “organic.” The 4,000-head Idaho farm is owned and managed by organic dairy marketer Dean/Horizon. The California farm, with 10,000 cows split between its organic and conventional operations, also supplies Dean/Horizon with milk. The Wisconsin-based institute is a family-farm advocacy group.
In other Dean news, the company reported net sales for 2004 increased 18 percent to $10.8 billion. Dean attributes the increase to growth in the company’s branded business and the acquisitions of Horizon Organic, Kohler Mix Specialties and Ross-Swiss Dairies. In 2005, Dean forecasts sales will top $10.6 billion.
To help dairy professionals navigate the complex U.S. milk pricing structure, Washington, D.C.-based International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) will hold this year’s Dairy 101: Milk Procurement Workshop on April 5 and 6 at the Embassy Suites O’Hare in Rosemont, Ill. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) is co-sponsoring the workshop.