Prairie Farms Dairy, Carlinville, Ill., and Swiss Valley Farms, Davenport, Iowa, entered into a merger agreement. The combined entity will bring together two well-known brands and expand sales opportunities for both farmer-owned dairy cooperatives.

Under the terms of the agreement, Prairie Farms will merge the assets of Swiss Valley Farms into Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc. Assets include five manufacturing plants in Luana, Iowa; Shullsburg and Mindoro, Wis.; and Rochester and Faribault, Minn., which produce cheese and whey powder. Swiss Valley Farms CEO Chris Hoeger will continue to oversee the operation of the plants.

“The merger with Swiss Valley was driven by our commitment to build value for our cooperative members, and is consistent with our growth strategy. Swiss Valley’s contributions will allow us to diversify our product portfolio and expand into new markets,” says Ed Mullins, executive vice president and CEO of Prairie Farms.

"We are very excited to be joining forces with Prairie Farms,” adds Hoeger. “This merger offers numerous benefits for our cooperative members, and is an ideal opportunity to bring together two industry leaders. We will leverage the strengths of both companies to offer a broader range of products and to enhance and expand relationships with customers.”

As Prairie Farms and Swiss Valley collaborate on pre-merger integration activities, their employees and customers can expect a business-as-usual environment. The deal is expected to close mid-2017.