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Vermont Lawmakers Hear Pros and Cons of Proposed Dairy Co-op Merger

Supporters say the deal would give the dairy co-op much-needed cash while critics warn it would hurt farmers

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Proponents of a proposal to merge one of Vermont's oldest dairy cooperatives with the national Dairy Farmers of America say the move would provide the co-op needed cash and a better way to market their milk-products.

But people wary of the proposal that would merge Vermont's 100-year-old St. Albans Cooperative with DFA say the managers of the larger co-op don't always have the best interest of farmers in mind.

The Vermont Senate Agriculture Committee heard testimony Monday about the proposal.

If the merger is approved, the assets of the St. Albans Co-op, including a milk hauling company and creamery plant would become fully-owned by DFA, based in Kansas.

The vote is expected later this summer. It comes after two years of planning and prolonged low milk prices paid to farmers.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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