Gary Hanman, chief executive officer of Dairy Farmers of America Inc. (DFA), has announced his retirement as head of the farmer-owned dairy cooperative effective Dec. 31. A native of north central Missouri, Hanman, 71, has been CEO of DFA since its creation in 1998. From 1975 to 1997, he headed up DFA predecessor Mid-America Dairymen Inc. (Mid-Am) of Springfield, Mo., and before that was the first hired CEO of the Square Deal Milk Producers Association of Highland, Ill., which became part of Mid-Am in July 1968. Tom Camerlo, chairman of DFA’s board of directors, credited Hanman with helping to build a globally competitive marketing cooperative while providing a grassroots structure ensuring farmer input and control. Camerlo says Hanman has agreed to continue in a consulting role at DFA to assist in the management transition and in defining future cooperative marketing opportunities. With a succession plan in place, the DFA board is expected to announce a new CEO before the end of the year
Green Bay, Wis.-based Schreiber Foods Inc. has expanded its product line by purchasing yogurt and sour cream maker Hilltop Valley Dairy of Richland Center, Wis. Schreiber says the acquisition will help the company deliver value to meet its customers’ expanding dairy requirements.
Southwest Cheese’s new $200 million plant in Clovis, N.M., began ramping up production after opening for business last month with a delivery of 65,000 pounds of milk from two local dairy cooperatives. The company projects operating at 30 percent capacity by the end of the year, and will receive 7 million pounds of milk daily when operating at full capacity next year.
In October, Logan, Utah-based Gossner Foods Inc. began initial Swiss cheese processing at its new 150,000 square-foot site in Heyburn, Idaho, the latest addition to the state’s burgeoning Magic Valley cheesemaking region.
Wisconsin-based Marathon Cheese Corp. plans to build a new $27 million packaging plant on a 40-acre lot in Mountain Home, Idaho. The company says the plant will employ 250 workers in its first year and be open by next December, when it will begin cutting and packaging bulk cheese for companies including Kraft Foods, Land O’Lakes, Sysco, Sargento and Schreiber Foods.  
Montreal-based Saputo Inc. says it expects by next March to close its cheese and byproducts facility in Whitehall, Pa. The company also plans by next July to close a cheese plant in Harrowsmith, Ontario.
North Aurora, Ill.-based Oberweis Dairy has announced plans to open 12 Oberweis Ice Cream and Dairy stores in Minnesota’s Twin Cities area and expects to begin home deliveries there by the end of 2006. The company says the expansion is part of a larger effort to open 500 dairy stores in the northern United States over the next five years.
To recognize the very best in dairy marketing programs, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and Dairy Field magazine are once again sponsoring the Achieving Excellence Awards. Finalists in more than 60 categories will be honored during March’s SmartMarketing Conference in Las Vegas. Entry brochures and forms are being sent to industry marketers and are available at All category winners are eligible to win the “Best Overall Award for Marketing Excellence,” the top prize for marketing and advertising in the dairy industry.
The California Milk Processor Board, after years of plugging milk as a source of calcium, has dropped references to the ingredient in its latest advertising campaign. Instead, the new campaign touts such benefits as muscle-building and maintaining bone strength.
With hurricanes Katrina and Rita leaving thousands without homes or jobs, dairy market news service eDairy Inc. and commodities brokerage Downes-O’Neill LLC have announced their 2005 Holiday Cheese Drive. All of the contributions received through the 2005 Drive will be used by Downes-O’Neill to purchase cheese which will be donated directly to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. All donations can be made directly by visiting, or by contacting Jeff DeGrand or Tom Gaughan at (800) 231-3089.
The National Dairy Council is seeking nominees for its Leadership in School Nutrition Award. Find details and apply at