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DFA eyes possible merger with Michigan cooperative

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Dairy Farmers of American may be involved in another merger soon.

The Kansas City-based dairy cooperative formed this year when four cooperatives, including Springfield's Mid-America Dairymen, merged. Now the cooperative is talking with Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Independent Cooperative Milk Producers Association about merging the two cooperatives.

ICMPA has 730 dairy farmer members who must vote to approve the proposed merger before it can proceed, according to a release from DFA.

"The objective of this action is to increase efficiencies, enhance profitability and secure long-term stable markets for the member-producers of ICMPA," said Bob Naerebout, president of the cooperative's board of directors. "After a thorough review and lengthy deliberation, the board agrees that merger with DFA would provide ICMPA's members with the greatest opportunities for growth and stability in this dramatically changing industry."

Independent Cooperative is a regional dairy cooperative. Its 730 members are in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, and the cooperative markets milk to fluid and manufactured-product customers in the tri-state area, the release said.

"ICMPA has developed an excellent reputation for quality milk production, and DFA is a leading supplier and manufacturer of quality dairy products. We think the merger of these two organizations will be very positive for our dairy producer members," said Herman Brubaker, DFA board chairman, in the release.

DFA will be 1 year old Jan. 1, 1999, and is the nation's newest dairy marketing cooperative and food company. The cooperative has 22,000 members in 43 states and markets and processes more than 32 billion pounds of milk annually.

ICMPA's members will participate in information meetings about the merger in preparation for a special member vote, the release said. A time line for the merger has not been set.

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