Western Dairymen to merge with co-ops

Western Dairymen Cooperative Inc., the marketing co-op for most of the dairy producers in Northern Colorado, voted in October to merge its resources with that of three other major dairy operatives to create a new organization with $7 billion in annual sales, said Greg Yando, CEO of the cooperative.If the merger is approved by the other cooperatives, it would consolidate 22,000 dairies in 42 states, Yando said, making it the eighth-largest dairy producer in the world.
Western Dairymen was the first of the four cooperatives to vote on the issue. Voting by the others will conclude by the end of November, Yando said.
But even if one or more of the co-ops fails to approve the consolidation, Yando said, it would not mean it was "a dead deal.˜ It would just "change the numbers," he said.
If approved, the new co-op would emerge in January 1998 as Dairy Farmers of America. Western Dairymen has members in nine states, but the majority are located in Colorado, Utah and Idaho.