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Three Wisconsin Cooperatives Form FarmFirst Dairy Co-op

February 6, 2013

Members of Family Dairies USA, Manitowoc Milk Producers Cooperative, and Milwaukee Cooperative Milk Producers successfully voted on December 18, 2012 to merge the three cooperatives and create FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative, which began operating as a unified entity on January 1, 2013. The new cooperative’s headquarters is in Madison, WI.

FarmFirst will represent more than 5,000 farms in Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana through policy bargaining, dairy marketing services, laboratory testing opportunities, and industry promotion.

Dennis Donohue, general manager of Manitowoc Milk Producers Cooperative, will serve as the General Manager of FarmFirst. Donohue will continue to serve as the cooperative’s representative on the NMPF Board of Directors. Peter Kleiman, who owns and operates a 100-cow, 800-acre operation in Wilson, Mich., was elected president of the FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative board of directors. David Cooper, General Manager of Family Dairies USA, will serve as assistant general manager, and Jim Bird, General Manager of Milwaukee Cooperative Milk Producers, will assume the role of manager and director of lab services and special projects.

Under FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative, the combined member representation will be divided into a total of nine districts, based on membership within each district. The current directors from each of the three cooperatives will transition into the new organization, helping ensure consistency in leadership and membership voice.

Family Dairies USA Milk Program and the Fox Valley Quality Control Laboratory will continue to operate as subsidiaries of the new cooperative.

To learn more about FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative, please visit their website at