Processing Magazine

Federal Judge Considering Dairy Settlement

April 19, 2011

The Associated Press reports that a federal judge in Vermont is considering moving forward with a partial settlement of an anti-trust lawsuit in which national dairy processor Dean Foods Co. would pay some northeast dairy farmers $30 million. But U.S. District Court Judge Christina Reiss said she may defer a decision on part of the settlement that would require Dean Foods of Dallas to change its milk-buying practices in the region for 30 months by buying milk from independent farmers, a controversial provision that the plaintiffs say would jump start competition but a national dairy cooperative says would harm some farmers. Farmers have complained for years that Dean, DFA and DMS have come to dominate the milk-buying market and have held down prices paid to farmers. It settles a class action lawsuit filed in 2009, which means 5,000 to 10,000 farmers could get a share of the settlement.