Butter and Cheese Antitrust Litigation

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A $220 million settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit brought against National Milk Producers Federation, Agri-Mark, Inc., Dairy Farmers of America, Inc., and Land O’Lakes, Inc. (collectively “Defendants”). The lawsuit claimed that an effort known as Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) operated a Herd Retirement Program that was a conspiracy to reduce milk output that violated the law. The Defendants deny doing anything wrong.  The Court has not decided who is right.

The current lawsuit affects both businesses and individual consumers in the United States that purchased butter and/or cheese directly from one or more of the CWT members including the Defendants, during the period from December 6, 2008, to July 31, 2013. 


In the Third Amended Consolidated Class Action Complaint, Plaintiffs claim that from December 6, 2008, through July 31, 2013, Defendants violated the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. §1, and conspired and combined to limit the production of raw farm milk through premature “herd retirements” that required participating dairy farmers to remove all of the milking cows in their herds and, beginning on April 1, 2009, forego a 10% incentive payment if they wished to reenter the dairy farming business within one year. The Complaint alleges that the principal purpose and effect of this contract, combination, and conspiracy has been to eliminate competition, significantly reduce the number of dairy farmers competing in the market, and produce both short-term and long-term increases in the prices of butter and cheese. Defendants deny these claims.


All persons and entities in the United States that purchased butter and/or cheese directly from one or more Members of Defendant, Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) and/or their subsidiaries, during the period from December 6, 2008 to July 31, 2013 who did not timely opt-out of the Class pursuant to the Class Notice approved by the Court in its order dated May 8, 2018 and transmitted to the Class on May 31, 2018.

The CWT members are listed as follows: 

Agri-Mark, Inc.  Arkansas Dairy Cooperative Association Associated Milk Producers Inc.
Bongards Creameries Burke Milk Producers Cooperative, Inc. California Dairies Inc.
Cass-Clay Creamery Inc. Champlain Milk Producers Cooperative Conesus Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Inc.
Continental Dairy Products, Inc. Cooperative Milk Producers Association, Inc. Cortland Bulk Milk Producers Cooperative
Dairy Farmers of America Dairylea Cooperative Inc. Dairymen’s Marketing Cooperative Inc.
Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery Empire Keystone Cooperative Farmers Cooperative Creamery
First District Cooperative Association Foremost Farms USA Humboldt Creamery Association
Jefferson Bulk Milk Cooperative, Inc. Just Jersey Cooperative, Inc. Land O’Lakes, Inc.
Lone Star Milk Producers Lowville Producers Dairy Cooperative Magic Valley Quality Milk Producers, Inc.
Manitowoc Milk Producers Cooperative Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association Massachusetts Coop. Milk Producers Fed. Inc.
Michigan Milk Producers Association Mid-West Dairymen’s Co. Mount Joy Farmers Cooperative Association
National Farmers Organization North Lawrence Producers Cooperative, Inc. Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold)
Oneida-Madison Milk Producers Cooperative Prairie Farms Dairy Preble Cooperative, River Valley Milk Producers Inc.
Schoharie County Cooperative Dairies Seaway Bulk Milk Producers Cooperative, Inc. Security Milk Producers Association
Select Milk Producers, Inc. Snake River Dairymen’s Association South New Berlin Milk Cooperative, Inc.
Southeast Milk, Inc. St. Albans Cooperative Creamery, Inc. Swiss Valley Farms, Co.
Tillamook County Creamery Association United Dairy Cooperative Services, Inc. United Dairymen of Arizona
Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc. Utah Dairy Farmers Cooperative Western Tier Milk Producers Cooperative
Zia Milk Producers Inc.


April 23, 2021

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National Milk Producers Federation, Agri-Mark, Inc., Dairy Farmers of America, Inc., and Land O’Lakes, Inc. (collectively “Defendants”). The lawsuit claimed that an effort known as Cooperatives Working Together (CWT)


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