Dean Foods
January 29, 2020

DFA Addresses Dean Foods Deal Anti-Trust Concerns

 |  By: Anna-Lisa Laca

The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday reported the Department of Justice is investigating the potential for anti-trust issues should Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) purchase assets from Dean Foods. It’s no surprise that the nation’s largest dairy cooperative purchasing plants from the nation’s largest fluid milk processor would trigger concerns. 

“I think the Department of Justice has a job to do and we want to be transparent,” Monica Massey, executive vice president and chief of staff for DFA told Farm Journal’s MILK. “We think it's premature, because there is no deal yet, but Department of Justice is starting to look into it. That's their job, and of course we will cooperate with them.”

While Massey couldn’t comment much on the deal that is in negotiations, she emphasized the cooperative is interested in specific assets and looking for a deal that’s “fair for all.”

“Not just DFA members, but other farmers too,” she says adding that a lot of people were counting on Dean Foods. “You’ve got a lot of farmers shipping to them, a lot of employees working with them, a lot of communities counting on them, and a lot of school programs in need of their product.”

How can Dean Foods go bankrupt with minimal disruption in the industry? 

“Somebody has to buy those plants,” she says. 

As with all bankruptcies, there is a specific process that must be followed prior to the sale of any assets. Beyond a court date in February, it’s unclear what that timeline looks like.