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Decatur, Huntington dairy plants to be included in Dean Foods sale

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21 and CNN) - Two local plants are likely to be included in a transfer to a farmers' cooperative -- while others owned by troubled conglomerate Dean Foods have been left off the list.

Dairy Farmers of America, a major farmer-owned coop, has put in a bid for a "substantial" part of Dean Foods' business.

As ABC21 previously reported, Dean, the country's largest milk processor, filed for bankruptcy in November.

For U.S. dairy farmers, keeping Dean afloat is essential. The milk processor is a "significant customer of DFA," Rick Smith, president and CEO of the cooperative, said in a statement Monday.

"No one has a greater interest in preserving and expanding milk markets than DFA," he added.

The two entities have been working on the deal since the co-op learned about Dean's bankruptcy plans, according to DFA. DFA has agreed to pay $425 million for Dean's delivery system and 44 of its facilities as well as other assets, and has agreed to assume some of Dean's liabilities.

The Decatur and Huntington plants are on the list of plants slated for transfer, according to a Dean Foods asset purchase agreement.

A handful of Midwest facilities -- in states including Ohio, Michigan and Illinois -- were left off.

The deal is subject to approval by the Department of Justice, which will be looking at antitrust concerns, and the bankruptcy court overseeing the case, among others.

Jonathan Shelley

Jonathan Shelley is the news director at WPTA TV, which he joined in 2016 following nine years in a similar role in New Orleans and previous news management positions in Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

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