Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a national dairy cooperative owned and governed by family farmers, reported its financial results for the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 2022. The cooperative reported a net income of $107.9 million.

DFA’s net sales totaled $24.5 billion for 2022, compared to $19.3 billion in 2021, a year over year (YoY) increase of $5.2 billion or 26.8%. The increase is a result of higher U.S. milk prices and higher overall product prices. The average price paid to DFA farmer-owners was $25.53 per hundredweight in 2022, compared to $18.37 in 2021.

“Like so many industries, this has been a challenging year for dairy with labor shortages, global supply chain disruptions, record-level energy costs and inflation. Yet through the challenges, we focused on driving performance and greater efficiencies across the enterprise to bring short- and long-term value to our farmer-owners,” says Dennis Rodenbaugh, president and chief executive officer. “Dairy Farmers of America was formed 25 years ago by farmers. It is fully owned and governed to its deepest grassroot level by dairy farmers. Our purpose has been consistent since our inception. Everything we do is about creating value and benefit for our farm families.”

In 2022, DFA directed 65.4 billion pounds of milk for both its farmer-owners and others through the Cooperative’s consolidated businesses, which represents approximately 29% of the total milk production in the United States. Cash distributed to farmer-owners in 2022 totaled $52 million. Of the cash distributed to farmer-owners in 2022, $32 million was in capital retirements and $20 million represented the cash portion of patronage dividends.

Rodenbaugh noted: “From driving milk marketing efficiencies, expanding member services, enhancing our farmer-owners’ milk markets through new product innovations, investing in food and beverage manufacturing assets and growing our global presence, we are and will always be dedicated to working alongside our farmer-owners to make choices and investments that bring them value and ensure their right to farm for generations to come.”

DFA continued to expand its commercial investments in 2022. The Cooperative acquired two extended shelf-life (ESL) beverage processing facilities, located in Richmond, Ind., and Pacific, Mo., from SmithFoods. The facilities contribute to a broader strategic initiative to optimize the DFA beverage network in the shelf-stable space. 

Additionally, to further accelerate the development of DFA’s ingredients business in the Middle East and North African markets, the cooperative invested in a joint venture with Mana Agro, based in Dubai, as a sales and marketing company of dairy ingredients in the region.

DFA’s farmer-owners and employees continued the cooperative’s commitment to drive forward its environmental, social and governance efforts through on-farm sustainability initiatives, continuing the “DFA Nerd Herd” consumer educational campaign around sustainable farming practices and an ongoing commitment to actively cultivate an inclusive workplace that values and promotes diversity of thought, perspectives, life experiences, backgrounds and cultures. In the fall of 2022, DFA was also selected to receive a Climate-Smart Commodities grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to pilot projects to scale methane emissions reductions and increase soil carbon sequestration on U.S. dairy farms, as well as develop and market climate-smart dairy products.

Finally, DFA’s commercial operations continued its growth and success in 2022. A few highlights include:

• Its Plugrá Premium Butter brand launched a new, spreadable butter containing olive oil and sea salt. The new butter is available in a convenient, table-friendly tub and is perfect for those who want a softer butter for spreading

• Its Ingredient Solutions plant in Zumbrota, Minn., celebrated a significant expansion with a new specialty dryer, which allows continued focus domestically and across global markets on growing the taste and flavor application segments that are used as flavoring ingredients in snacks, beverages and prepared foods

 • DFA introduced several, limited-edition ice cream flavors over the summer, including Kemps Orange Dream and Cotton Candy flavors, Mayfield Dairy Farms’ Cherry Chocolate Chip and Banana Pudding flavors and Friendly’s Unicorn Power, a pink, fruity ice cream with a blue, sour raspberry swirl, marshmallow ribbon and glittery candy pieces

• Its Ingredient Solutions facility in Fallon, Nev., continued to focus on innovation in the product, packaging and promotion of fluid milk by expanding its milk powder capabilities to meet customer application needs, particularly in the beverage space in existing and emerging global markets.