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Automated milking cows machine in rustic farm. File photo

DFA buying St. Paul plant from Agropur

Dairy Farmers of America is buying the Agropur plant in St. Paul, allowing DFA to expand its current product line.

The sale is expected to be completed in early January.

Employees will retain their current positions and the existing management team will continue to manage all day-to-day operations, including customer relationships, milk procurement and production, according to the two companies.

The facility manufactures fresh, extended shelf-life and aseptic dairy products for well-known

grocery store chains and organic milk brands, DFA and Agropur say.

Aseptic means that milk can be safely kept for months without the need for preservatives or refrigeration while retaining color, taste and nutrition.

"This acquisition offers an opportunity to grow our customer base while strengthening our processing capabilities for existing customers and diversifies our product portfolio," Pat Panko, senior vice president and chief operating officer for DFA's Fluid Milk and Ice Cream Division, said in a written statement.

Dairy Farmers of America, based in Kansas City, is a national, farmer-owned dairy cooperative that describes its mission as "focusing on quality, innovation and the future of family dairies" and "supporting and serving more than 14,500 family farmers" while also working "with some of the world's largest food companies."

Agropur Inc., is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Agropur Cooperative, which is based in Longueuil, Quebec, Canada.

"DFA is a tremendous organization with strong cultural and business ideations that marry well with those of Agropur's cooperative roots. Our focus has been and will always be meeting the needs of our customers and being strategic in our investments toward complementary growth areas. This transaction is well aligned with long-term strategic plans for both parties," Doug Simon, president of Agropur Inc., said in a written statement.