In reaction to changing market conditions, a group of dairy farmers who previously marketed their milk independently formed Appalachian Dairy Farmers Cooperative (ADFC). The new cooperative said it expects to begin operations on June 1, 2018.

ADFC said it entered into an agreement with Piedmont Milk Sales LLC, Blountville, Tenn., whereby Piedmont will market cooperative members’ milk and manage its day-to-day business under the direction of the cooperative’s board of directors.

“This new structure became necessary because of the current imbalance between the milk supply and the demand for milk, which has driven milk prices received by dairy farmers to levels that are below the cost of production,” said Gary MacGibbon, president of the ADFC board. “Events over the past few months in the dairy industry have shown just how vulnerable dairy farmers are to changing market conditions. While formation of this new cooperative will not improve prices received by dairy farmers for their milk, it will help members of ADFC retain markets for their milk.”

Membership in the cooperative will be offered to dairy farmers who have historically marketed their milk as independent producers through Piedmont Milk Sales. ADFC said it will limit membership to ensure an appropriate balance between the cooperative's milk supply and the sales volumes currently available to the cooperative.

ADFC and Piedmont Milk Sales will hold information sessions in early May throughout Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina to provide dairy farmers who currently ship their milk as independent producers through Piedmont Milk Sales an opportunity to ask questions about the new cooperative and discuss current market conditions. Membership agreements will be available at these meetings, ADFC noted.