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Dairy Farmers of America Agrees to Dairylea Merger

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Oct. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Dairy Farmers of America, the largest U.S. dairy marketing cooperative, agreed to merge with Dairylea Cooperative Inc. to boost its access to customers in the northeast of the country.

The deal requires the approval of Dairylea shareholders at a special meeting to be held in February, the companies said today in a joint e-mailed statement. The financial details of the transaction aren’t being disclosed, Kristi Dale, a DFA spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

Dairylea, the biggest raw-milk marketer in the northeast, currently markets 6.5 billion pounds of the commodity each year from 2,000 farms in the region and has annual sales of more than $1.7 billion. The merger would also give Dairylea members access to other parts of the U.S. and growing international markets as well as a share of DFA’s profits, both cooperatives said.

“Today’s dairy industry is undergoing unprecedented change,” Dairylea Chief Executive Officer Greg Wickham said in the statement. “From consolidation in the marketplace and changing farm demographics to a movement toward a global dairy industry, this change presents both challenges and opportunities.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Shruti Date Singh in Chicago at ssingh28@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net

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