History of Our Cooperative

In 1999, three of California’s most financially successful cooperatives merged together. California Milk Producers, Danish Creamery, and San Joaquin Valley Dairymen were rich in tradition with roots dating back to the turn of the 20th century. California Dairies, Inc. proudly continues these traditions, passing them on to future generations.

1911

Located in California’s Central Valley, a group of creamery associations establishes the Challenge Cream & Butter Company and opens its first cooperative storeroom in Los Angeles to sell their fresh dairy products.

1974

The Protected Milk Producers Association merges with two other dairy cooperatives, forming California Milk Producers.

1995

Founding members Danish Creamery Association, California Milk Producers, and Dairymen's Cooperative Creamery establish DairyAmerica, a federated marketing cooperative that markets its member-owners’ milk powder domestically and globally.

1999

California Dairies, Inc. forms through a merger between three California based dairy cooperatives: California Milk Producers, Danish Creamery Association, and San Joaquin Valley Dairymen. CDI also becomes a member-owner of DairyAmerica.

2001

CDI organizes and joins with dairy-related groups in California to form Dairy Cares, a voluntary organization dedicated to ensuring the long-term sustainability of California dairy farming families.

2010

CDI becomes one of the first dairy cooperatives to adopt the National Dairy FARM Program (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) and achieves 100 percent member-owner participation.

2011

Challenge Dairy Products, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of CDI, celebrates its Centennial Anniversary. Formerly the Challenge Cream & Butter Company, CDPI is the largest butter brand in the Western United States.

2012

Twelve member-owners graduate from CDI’s inaugural Leadership Program, a biannual three-day intensive learning experience designed to equip the cooperative’s member-owners with the intellectual tools to become educated, effective members of any dairy-related organization.

2012

CDI acquires the assets of a fourth cooperative, Security Milk Producers Association, increasing milk supplies and strengthening CDI’s market position.

2016

CDI opens the Innovation Center, a state-of-the-art dairy research and development facility. Featuring a full test kitchen, an analytical laboratory and a spacious pilot plant, the Innovation Center’s mission is to add value to CDI’s dairy products. As one of the Center’s first projects, CDI also introduces a new line of nutritional milk powder products.

2017

Sunrise Laboratories, LLC opens in Visalia, California as a third-party facility specializing in dairy product food testing. Housing both microbiological and chemistry testing operations, Sunrise Laboratories partners with CDI to evaluate, test and grade manufactured dairy products.

2019

CDI celebrates its 20th Anniversary. Since 1999, CDI has become the largest dairy cooperative in California, expanding its product portfolio and continues to be the leading source of dairy nutrition for a healthy world.

2019

CDI acquires a milk powder facility from Hilmar Cheese Company in Turlock, California. This state-of-the-art manufacturing facility integrates advanced processing technology to produce a range of high quality milk powders, largely for the export market.