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Dean Foods Cancels 27 Hoosier Farm Contracts

Farmers ship milk from their farms to Dean’s facilities (Becca Costello, WFIU/WTIU News).

Dean Foods is a national company with deep ties to the Hoosier state, but the company is severing nearly all of its contracts with Hoosier farmers.

U.S. Department of Agriculture data shows milk consumption has been declining for decades. But, it still came as a shock to Indiana dairy farmers when Dean Foods decided to end its procurement contracts with 27 of its 28 Hoosier farmers.

Dean Foods officials say in a press release the Indiana cuts are part of a national plan—more than 100 farmers lost their contracts in seven other states.

Farmers ship milk from their farms to Dean’s facilities. The company gave all affected farmers a 90-day notice, and the final shipments will go out May 31.

Doug Leman is the president of Indiana Dairy Producers. He believes the cuts will affect farmers across the state.

“There’s been no discrimination to size here, and no discrimination to location,” he says. “They were scattered throughout the state, and we’ve got farms that are less than 100 cows to well over 1,000 cows.”

Dean Foods officials say they will help connect farmers to counselors. Leman says he plans to bring all of the affected Hoosiers together after the group’s annual meeting this week.

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