Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) plays a vital role in the Northeast dairy industry, as the overwhelming majority of dairy farmers are members of, and market their milk through, this one cooperative. The cooperatives then market the milk to be processed and bottled for fluid or other uses, such as in cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and milk powder. Even for farmers who are not part of DFA, the cooperative still exercises extraordinary power over the purchase of Class A milk in the Northeast.
Indeed, a complaint filed by our firm on July 29, 2022, alleges that from at least May 10, 2016, DFA attempted to or did monopsonize the market for raw Grade A milk in the Northeast. DFA did so by foreclosing Northeast dairy farmers’ ability to market their milk independent of DFA and even foreclosed farmers’ ability to profitably market their milk through DFA. It achieved this foreclosure, and the consequent durable reduction in the Grade A raw milk prices received by all Northeast dairy farms, through a series of anticompetitive actions in the Northeast raw Grade A milk market. All these actions were directed at constraining, and have constrained, Northeast dairy farmers’ ability to get milk to market other than through DFA.
DFA’s actions left no room for Northeast farmers that are not DFA members any more than it leaves room for Northeast dairy processors that are not controlled, either directly or indirectly, by DFA. Over time, DFA has taken predatory and exclusionary actions to position itself as the sole conduit for Northeastern dairy farmers to get their raw milk to market, and to control the Northeast raw milk processing capacity, the only market into which Northeast dairy farmers can sell their perishable product. Simply put, DFA has sought to stifle and smother all competition in the market for the purchase of raw milk in the Northeast. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Vermont on July 27, 2022
Are you a Northeastern dairy farmer?
If you are or were a dairy farmer located in DFA’s Northeast region, comprising Vermont, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and the majority of Pennsylvania, except for its westernmost portion (the “Northeast Dairy Market”), please contact us.