Merry, Dairy Christmas for TN & Southeast Cows! These Brands support Local Dairies in the state and region!


“I live in Tennessee.  I would like to buy milk and holiday eggnogs from Local Dairy Farms which are located close to me.  How do I know that I know I’m doing that?”

Thanks to all of you who like to support your ‘local’ farmers, wherever you may live in the United States, Canada or the world!  I believe it is important to support your local farm neighbors with purchases of their farm products, that’s a way to make sure you preserve a farming economy in any region of the country!

Since I live in Tennessee, and people know me as an enthusiastic dairy  and milk agvocate, I often get asked ‘how do I know if I’m supporting local dairies?” Since it’s Christmas, I’ve focused on those delicious holiday beverages – eggnog and boiled custard  – as a focal point for ‘supporting local.’  According to the Wall Street Journal, EggNog is pretty darn popular this holiday season!

The pictures found in this blog post are a quick visual guide to help you with grocery and retail purchases of eggnog and boiled custard, and the brands that do the most to support dairy farms and cows that live mostly in Tennessee, with some support of cows and farms in the neighboring states of GA, KY, and NC.  I’ve been giving some as hostess gifts!

What is local to you is dependent on where you live, so look for the photo guides for East Tennessee and for a different one for the Nashville Metro Area, and Middle and West Tennessee. They are as follows:

If you live or shop in EAST TENNESSEE (from Chattanooga to Johnson City, generally east of the Cumberland Plateau) these brands do the most to support local farms:


If you live or shop in the NASHVILLE METRO area or WEST TENNESSEE (from the Cumberland Plateau through Middle Tennessee to the Mississippi River) these are the brands which do the most to support local farms:


In Tennessee, we are also fortunate to have two single-farm milk processors, also known as ‘farmstead processors,’ who make delicious eggnogs.  These are Cruze Farm, in the Knoxville / East Tennessee metro area, (with a limited distribution to Asheville and Nashville to a limited number of stores), and Hatcher Family Dairy, who serves the Nashville Metro market from their farm in Cottage Grove.

8556cruzefarmeggsquisiteeggnogf  2190_hatcher_eggnog_f

These photos should be considered as generally correct, but may be affected by milk market needs on any given day!  Have a Merry Dairy Christmas, made even better with LOCAL Egg Nog!

What are the general factors used in the development of these photo ‘Guides to Local Milk’?

  1. LOCAL:  A travel distance of approximately 250 miles from farm to milk plant, and then to retailers within that same distance from the milk plant is how “LOCAL” is defined for the purposes of this post.
  2. FARMS: A milk brand / carton has to contain all – or a very high percentage –  of milk that is produced on farms in Tennessee, or by farms in the neighboring states of GA, KY, AL, or NC.  This is a primary criteria in knowing if your food purchase dollars go to support farms in close proximity to where you live.  Widely available brands source milk from a number of farms, all of whom have to meet strict quality standards.  These ‘widely available’ brands are extremely important because they support many local farms, and not just one. And, because of the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance, a 398- page FDA regulation, consumers can be assured that all dairy farms from all states must adhere to strict national standards,and therefore the US Milk supply is the safest in the world!
  3. MILK PLANTS:  Every carton of milk has a plant number somewhere on that carton. With a knowledge of plant numbers (found on every carton of milk sold at retail, then dairy industry associates have a pretty good idea of the farms whose milk is delivered to those plants. Just because a milk or dairy plant is located in the state of Tennessee, does not mean that the milk it purchases comes from Tennessee farms.
  4. BRANDS – commonly available at retail:  The brands in these graphics are those commonly found at major food retailers or chains, and to a lesser degree, to smaller specialty food stores or restaurants in regions of the state.  Grocery stores, ‘big box’ stores,  convenience stores, dollar stores, and thrift stores have all been considered.
  5. METRO Centers / REGIONAL AREAS are the starting point in backtracking to where the farms are.  The chain is this – Metro Center (a number of retail stores), to milk plant, and then back to the farms.
  6. JOBS generated at each level of the chain from farm to consumer:
    1. Farms, which in turn generate jobs on the farm and in agribusiness.  Because dairy cows have the need for lots of different types of feed, local dairies also support local grain and hay farms as well.
    2. Transport jobs (a)- milk trucking companies which deliver milk to milk plants
    3. Milk plant – numbers of jobs at a milk processing center
    4. Transport jobs (2) – delivery trucks which deliver processed dairy products to stores and restaurants
    5. Food retailer jobs – any number of dairy case and restaurant jobs are involved in the final farm-to-consumer connection.2190_drink_tennessee_local


The Dougherty Dispersal: The Cows Come First in a Tornado’s Aftermath



UPDATE – Dec. 13th:  Catalog (DHIA pages) now postedlink here . . 

At 1:30 am on Nov. 30, an EF-2 Tornado wreaked horrific damage to Polk and McMinn Counties, in Tennessee’s most southeast corner.

In Polk County, TN, a couple lost their lives and an estimated 50 structures or houses were either totally destroyed or severely damaged.

Among the areas receiving the worst property damage was a roadway that’s long been known as one of Tennessee’s most beautiful farming corridors, TN Hwy 307.  At one end, the roadway is anchored by the Mayfield Dairy Farms Dairy Processing plant in the town of Athens, TN, and then runs for several miles up to Hwy. 68 in Monroe County.  In one very nice modular home subdivision on that highway, 30 structures were either totally destroyed or severely damaged.

Blan & Kathy Dougherty, long respected as being one of the best teams in Tennessee as both a dairy farming couple and agricultural and community leaders, owned the dairy operation which received by far the worst structural damage. In just a matter of a couple of minutes or less, their milking parlor was destroyed,  barns which sheltered their excellently-cared for cows were decimated, and the feedways where the cows ate were obliterated.

An article in the Athens, TN newspaper, the Daily Post-Athenian, relays more details.

Approximately 11 hours or less after the storm, and thanks to a great crew of family members, friends from area farms and agribusiness, and the generosity of a fellow farmer, 130 milking cows were relocated to a neighboring dairy farm, just over the GA state line, and only 45 miles away from the home farm.

Due to the devastating damage to their milk barn and animal housing facilities in that tornado, and the time it will take to repair them, Blan and Kathy concluded that it’s in the best interest of the cows to help them find new homes via an auction. This is one of Tennessee’s best herds. The milking herd and bred heifer dispersal will take place on Friday, December 16, at Noon, at the Athens Stockyard in Athens, TN.

The cows are receiving great care and extra attention at this temporary home, from caretakers who believe in animal welfare and have years of experience in taking care of high-producing dairy cows, and have really done exceptionally well. The Doughertys will keep some of their heifers while they make decisions about their future. This is an extremely difficult decision for any farmer to make, and we ask for folks to keep them in their thoughts and prayers during the transition. More information pertaining to the sale and individual cows will be posted before the sale.


Final Payments to Farmer / Class Members in Southeast Milk Litigation Authorized by the Court

“The Checks Will Soon Be in the Mail,” may be a better headline.

An historic and record-setting food industry  class action that began in July of 2007 is now approaching completion nine and one-half years later. Final Settlement payments to farmer/class members in the Southeast Milk Litigation have been authorized by Judge Ronnie Greer, US District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee, Greeneville Division. Judge Greer issued his Orders on December 6, 2016.

A total Settlement Fund of over $280 Million was reached in three different settlements: one with Dean Foods, the second with Southern Marketing Agency and related entities, and the third with Dairy Farmers of America and Related Entities.  Payments began in January of 2013, and completed via annual payments.

In short, the final payments to farmer/class members in the Southeast Milk Litigation will shortly be in mailboxes, and should be received before or shortly after Christmas, 2016.

Farmers / Class members should be watching their mailboxes. Since previous payments have come in rather ordinary envelopes, recipients are advised to pay detailed attention to each envelope in their mailboxes, being careful to not lose Settlement payments with heavy mail volume common at this time of year. These are not electronic payments.

The class action began in July of 2007, when two original complaints were filed in US District Court, Middle District of Tennessee.  One complaint was filed on behalf of co-op member farmers, and one on behalf of independent farmers (those not belonging to a co-op).  The two complaints were consolidated in July of 2008 and redirected to the Eastern District of Tennessee, Greeneville Division, presided over by The Honorable Judge Ronnie Greer.

Farmer/Plaintiffs were represented by a team of antitrust attorneys from Baker-Hostetler, Washington, DC.  Led by Robert Abrams, the team included Greg Commins, and Danyll Foix, and a host of others during the course of the litigation.  Local plaintiff counsels in the District court included Thomas Jessee of Johnson City, and Steve Terry and Gary Brewer, Brewer & Terry of Morristown, TN.  When the complaints were filed, the same attorneys were with Howrey LLP, a law firm which dissolved during the course of the litigation.

The amended complaint is a great summary and timeline of the activities which eventually led to the Dean Foods Settlement in January of 2012, (first payments took place in January of 2013) and the DFA/Related Entities Settlement in January of 2013.  It should be noted that all defendants have fulfilled the terms of their settlement agreements, and that many (but not all) of the individuals named in the actions are no longer active in the named organizations.

During the course of the litigation, nearly 2 Million pages of legal documents were generated, many of which can be found at the litigation website.

With a 4-page Order of December 6, 2016, Judge Ronnie Greer, presiding Judge, authorized the fifth and final distribution of Dean Settlement funds.  In a separate but parallel action, he authorized the distribution of the Residual DFA Funds in a 3-page Order.  With these Orders entered on the Court’s record, Rust Consulting, Claims Administrator, will quickly begin writing and mailing checks to over 6,000 class members.


First, The Order Authorizing Distribution of the Final Dean Foods Settlement Payment:

Order Fifth Dean Distribution.pdf


Order Fifth Dean Distribution.pdf


Order Fifth Dean Distribution.pdf


(The Judge’s signature, and then keep scrolling down for the DFA Payment Order.)

Order Fifth Dean Distribution.pdf

Second: ORDER Authorizing Distribution of the RESIDUAL DFA SETTLEMENT Funds:

Order DFA Residual Distribution.pdf

PAGE 2: ORDER Authorizing Distribution of the Residual DFA SETTLEMENT Funds

Order DFA Residual Distribution.pdf

Page 3: ORDER Authorizing Distribution of the RESIDUAL DFA SETTLEMENT Funds:

Order DFA Residual Distribution.pdf

From having done extensive review of documents related to this class-action case, along with attending most of the courtroom hearings and then reporting on various matters related to this litigation,  it is my fervent hope that all farmers make every effort to more fully understand the BIG BUSINESS of what happens to affect their milk checks.

If one wants to begin, they will read the 7-pages of legal documents above, then read the 60-page amended complaint , and  then re-read them, and re-read them, and then re-read them again.  Although these events described in these documents are now a part of dairy industry history, they will provide a foundation for understanding milk marketing. If a person does begin to read them, they need to remember that today’s markets will have changed, due to time, and the evolution of milk markets themselves.

Happy Reading!  Be Watching for those checks!

Sun Photo by Phil Gentry
Federal Court House




Faith. Family. Milk. Passion. Legacy. The Randy Davis Memorial Milk Fund Drive

“I’m Randy Davis. I’m a Dairy Farmer. I would like to talk to you about the world’s most nutritious product – MILK!  And I want to tell you how God has blessed me so I am able to work as a farmer in the dairy industry!”

Man of Deep Faith. Devoted Family Man. Dairy Farmer. Passionate Milk Advocate.

That, and much, much more. And the quote? How many times has he been heard opening speeches to civic clubs or business meetings with those words?  Whenever he spoke, this group of folks, wife Rita, daughter Alli and husband Tyler Kamper (left), and daughter Samantha, husband Chad Craun, and their children Wilson and Deacon were ever on his mind.


How do you best honor the memory of one who lived his passion until the very end?  With a means to share his legacy with local food banks in the purchase of fresh milk for those who need it the most – that’s how!

Randy, a friend and colleague to many in the southeast and across the country, had valiantly fought prostate cancer since 2009, and finally succumbed to the disease that has claimed so many on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016. He didn’t talk a great deal about it, but yet those who knew him best could watch his struggle as the disease advanced.  Many believe his work on the farm and work for the dairy industry was far more therapeutic to him than any drug or treatment, and his drive to farm kept him going until the end. You can begin to get acquainted with him through his obituary.

However, his story covers a scope far greater than can be covered in that obituary or through a single blog post, so for now, we’re going to share news of the Randy Davis Memorial Milk Drive Fund, and why it was so important to him.

In recent years, Randy had helped organize and promote a series of local, onsite milk drives in his home area of East Tennessee, centered in the Knoxville metro area. These events were promoted in conjunction with several area grocery stores.  A Knoxville radio station, Q100.3, has been great to work with in promoting these drives.  A basketball player, and then coach,  Randy believed in the value of Teamwork, and how each member of a team played a vital role. And these were great teams that came together in a common purpose, with Randy reviving his basketball coaching skills to bring home a win for MILK and FOOD BANKS! (Sometimes those team members included Farmer Bright, and former UT Football players like Erick Ainge and Andy Kelly!)


At these events, a refrigerated truck from Second Harvest East Tennessee would be seen as shoppers walked into grocery stores, and would encourage them to ask questions about “What’s going on?”  Dairy farmers and event promoters, including folks from Molly the Milk Leader and SUDIA would then answer questions about milk, farming, helping buy milk for food banks. They would then encourage people to buy fresh milk to bring to the truck as they shopped.  Many very gladly did, some teaching their children the act of giving in the process.


Randy delighted in these days, especially when he could see children and families returning a second year to participate in buying milk  – buying even more than the first year. One such occurrence happened in the spring of 2016.

A family had participated in a milk drive in the spring of 2015, and remembered how their boys enjoyed the thought they were helping others.  When they heard announcements of the 2016 Milk Drives on a radio partner,  Q100Country from Knoxville, they quickly decided they would participate a 2nd time.

They gladly made their first trip in to the store’s dairy case, buying eight gallons, since that was their original mission.  But as they approached the Second Harvest truck,  one of the boys decided that wasn’t enough, and the mission grew. The family went back in for a second time on the same shopping visit because they felt they needed to buy even more- another 7 gallons!  One young man reasoned “I think we need to get the same number of gallons as my baseball number, Dad!”  (The jersey number was 15, so 15 total gallons of milk it was!)] Tears came to the eyes of everyone around when the cart came to the truck!


The Randy Davis Memorial Milk Drive Fund is designed to carry on that legacy:  To encourage the act of giving, and to do it in a very direct way by going to local stores, buying milk brands which support local farmers, and by then supplying food banks which will distribute that milk to the local families who need the most nutritional help.

To honor Randy, you can contribute to the fund in the following way:

You may send cash, check, or even a gift card to the following:

Randy Davis Memorial Milk Drive Fund

c/o First Bank & Trust Co.

Attn: Roy Settle, Fund Administrator

1185 North State of Franklin Road

Johnson City, TN  37604

At the current time, we are trying to figure out how to accomplish online payments.  We’ll keep you posted on that.  It is expected to keep the fund open through next July 1st, which will take the fund giving through June Dairy Month.  A committee of Randy’s friends and some family members will be making decisions on how the funds will be distributed, and when, where, and how the milk will be purchased and delivered to an area food bank, or banks. The plan at the current time is to spend the funds in an onsite event (one or more) of some sort, yet to be determined.

Would you please consider joining in to make Randy’s smile from Heaven brighten the day of some needy families during the next months?  THANKS for doing that!

Randy, you taught us, you inspired us.  We’ll see that your legacy carries on!