It’s an important model that provides small farmers with resources, options, and opportunities.
With this in mind, here are 5 producer-owned co-operatives you should know about.
Dairy Farmers of America
Dairy Farmers of America (DFA)(1) | #Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) | is a milk-marketing co-operative which, as the name suggests, is owned by close to 15,000 dairy farmer members who reside in 48 different states.
The purpose of DFA is to market the milk that member dairy farmers produce, while guaranteeing them a competitive price. It also manufactures and markets dairy products made from the milk, notably cheese, butter, and dairy-based ingredients.
But the benefits of DFA don’t stop there: the organization also offers services which help members to manage their operations more efficiently and productively. These services range from risk management to health and workers’ compensation insurance.
Sunkist(2) | #Sunkist | is a remarkable co-operative of citrus growers which has become a household name. Originally formed in the late 19th century, Sunkist is now 120 years old and has a storied history championing the bargaining position of Southern California citrus growers.
Today Sunkist represents citrus farmers throughout California and Arizona, and markets and sells not only the oranges for which it is famous but also lemons, grapefruits, and tangerines. While the company is world-famous, most of the member-growers are small farmers, holding only 40 acres or less.
Land O’Lakes(3) | #Land O’Lakes | is an agricultural and food co-operative which had its start in the dairy farmer business, marketing its now-famous butter. Land O’Lakes is best known for its butter, but the company is also quite successful in the agricultural services and feed businesses.
As one might expect, the benefits of being associated with so large and successful a co-operative can be considerable. The company recently became the very first organization to offer a self-insured multi-state group health plan.
Blue Diamond(4) | #Blue Diamond | is a co-operative of almond growers, one which descends from the original California Almond Growers Exchange formed in 1910. The company has a long history of innovation in the almond industry, having come up with such industry-standard processes as grading and shelling.
Blue Diamond is credited with almost single-handedly creating the California almond industry, an industry which now supplies over 80 percent of the world’s almonds and constitutes California’s largest food export.
In 1930, three cranberry farmers formed a co-operative for the purpose of expanding the success of the fruit they were passionate about. Nearly 90 years later, Ocean Spray has over 700 different cranberry farmer families in North and South America.
Ocean Spray(5) | #Ocean Spray |’s first product was jellied cranberry sauce, but within a decade it was the first producer of cranberry juice drinks anywhere in the world. Ocean Spray has since added more products, but to this day jellied cranberry sauce, cranberry juice, and cranberry juice cocktail are the most popular.
Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) | https://www.dfamilk.com/ | website | https://www.dfamilk.com/ |
Sunkist website | https://www.sunkist.com/ |
Land O’Lakes website | https://www.landolakesinc.com/Company |
Blue Diamond website | #Sunkist |
Ocean Spray website | #Ocean Spray |