Dewitt, New York-based Dairylea is announcing that it plans to merge with Dairy Farmers of America.

The boards of both groups have approved the merger.  Members of Dairylea will vote on the move in February.

Dairy Farmers of America issued a release on October 16, 2013 quoting Dairylea CEO Greg Wickham as follows:

Today’s dairy industry is undergoing unprecedented change...From consolidation in the marketplace and changing farm demographics to a movement toward a global dairy industry, this change presents both challenges and opportunities.”

Dairylea has been studying ways to improve its efficiency since forming the "2020 Group" in 2010.  To accommodate the merger six seats will be added to the board of Dairy Farmers of America and, according to representatives from both parties, no jobs will be lost as a result.

Dairylea has existed since 1907 and has been a member cooperative of Dairy Farmers of America since 2002.  In a press release issued on November 9, 2012 after its annual meeting last year, the group credited its long-standing success to the "strength of its diverse membership."  Supporters believe the move will increase the diversity.

Dairylea has fewer than two thousand member farms; Dairy Farmers of America has about 13,000 members.

Opponents of the move, and of Dairylea itself, say a merger will only put more stress on family farms which are already struggling to compete in the marketplace.