Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI), New Ulm, Minn., and Litchfield, Minn.-based First District Association (FDA) announced the formation of a jointly owned common marketing agency (CMA) of the two dairy cooperatives.

The CMA will optimize operational and supply chain efficiencies to benefit members and customers. This includes enhanced on-farm services and better utilization of manufacturing capacity, as well as being able to serve domestic and global customers with an expanded dairy product portfolio, the companies said.

"We see endless opportunities to leverage our dairy farmer-owned assets," said Josh Barka, chairman of the FDA board of directors. "The CMA exemplifies the cooperative principle of cooperation among cooperatives."

The CMA — known as the American Dairy Cooperative — will be led by a board of directors comprising AMPI and FDA members. Together, the CMA members produce 7 billion pounds of milk, the cooperatives said.

"The CMA is a natural progression for two like-minded cooperatives to better position themselves for long-term strength," said Steve Schlangen, chairman of the AMPI board of directors.