Southeast Milk, Inc., (SMI) was created on October 1, 1998, with the merger of two Florida dairy cooperatives, Florida Dairy Farmers' Association (FDFA) and Tampa Independent Dairy Farmers' Association, Inc. (TIDFA). The two predecessor cooperatives developed separately, but the growth of the two moved in parallel lines. TIDFA's original group of dairy farmers formed a cooperative in 1948, with incorporation as TIDFA in 1967; FDFA's was first chartered in 1956, but the aim of both cooperatives was to market their members’ milk more efficiently. Each cooperative formed its own trucking department to haul the milk, TIDFA in 1969 and FDFA in 1973. Through the years, both cooperatives merged with other cooperatives and expanded their membership. In 1998, it was agreed that the future of the dairy farmers located in Florida could best be served by the merger of the two cooperatives. SMI presently markets about 1.8 billion pounds of milk annually.
SMI is a full-service cooperative operating for the benefit of its members. SMI’s 147 members are now in six states, with 35 of its members producing Organic Milk. By far, the majority of SMI members are located in Florida and Georgia. SMI also is pleased to have members in Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee. Member herds range from under 100 to some members having several thousand cows. SMI offers raw milk marketing services, producer payroll services, laboratory services and dairy supplies and transportation services to its members.
SMI currently handles most of the milk marketed in the state of Florida. The growth of SMI rests upon the reputation of its predecessors, FDFA and TIDFA, for providing the highest quality product available at a cost that is fair and equitable to both the farmers and the processors who service the consuming public in Florida. It is our job to balance the needs of the two primary stakeholders – our member farmers and our customer processors.