Kansas City-based DFA, the largest dairy in the US, this week reported net sales of US$17.9bn (€16.8bn) for the year ended December 31 2014 - up from US$12.8bn (€12bn) in 2013.
At US$43.1m (€40.4m), 2014 profit was, however, down on the US$61.3m (€57.4m) recorded in 2013.
The reported US$5.1bn (€4.8bn) increase was "primarily a result of higher milk prices," said DFA.
US milk prices averaged at US$23.98 (€22.46) per hundredweight (cwt) in 2014, compared with US$20.05 (€18.78) in 2013.
This hike was reflected in the average price paid by DFA to its member farmers, which increased from US$20.15 (€18.87) in 2013 to US$24.17 (€22.64).
DFA paid a total of US$10.9bn (€10.2bn) to its 13,000 members in 2014, compared with US$7.9bn (€7.4bn) in 2013.
Merges and acquisitions
“As a member-focused cooperative, our mission is to bring value to our farmer-owners,” said Rick Smith, president and CEO, DFA.
“DFA’s solid performance in 2014 benefited members as we opened new processing facilities, acquired new brands and merged with a major milk cooperative.”
In January 2014, it acquired Portland-based Oakhurst Dairy, a family-owned, New England dairy processor for an undisclosed amount.
Months later, on April 1 2014, DFA merged with New York-based Dairylea Cooperative.
The merger added 1,200 Northeast-based dairy farmers to DFA's 13,000 existing supplier members.
During the year, DFA directed the marketing of 63.7bn pounds (approximately 7.6bn litres) of milk for its members and others.
This represented around 31% of total milk production in the US, said DFA.
Connect, collaborate, innovate
At its Annual Meeting, attended by more than 1,400 members and guests, DFA highlighted the role collaboration can play in driving growth.
"As dairy farmers, we maintain a strong connection not only to our cows and the land on which we farm, but also to DFA," said Randy Mooney, chairman, DFA.
"In return, the cooperative pursues collaborations and innovations that assure ongoing markets for our milk. Together, these efforts help to provide safe, nutritious milk and dairy products that feed people here and overseas," he said.