Settlement to dairy farmers approved

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) – A federal judge in Vermont has approved a $50 million settlement to be paid by a national dairy marketing cooperative to thousands of Northeast dairy farmers.

Dairy Farmers of America will pay an average of $4,000 to about 9,000 farmers to settle a lawsuit that accused the marketing group of trying to drive down milk prices. The judge approved the deal Tuesday.

The 2009 class-action lawsuit charged Dairy Farmers of America; its marketing arm, Dairy Marketing Services; and Dallas-based Dean Foods with working together to monopolize the market for raw milk in the Northeast.

Dean Foods agreed to a separate $30 million settlement in 2011. It covered farmers in Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

The Virginia settlements will be given to farmers in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties and farmers in the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park, according to Eric Paulson of the Virginia State Dairymen’s Association.

Northern Virginia Daily reporter Jake Zuckerman contributed to this report.

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or