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.


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.


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



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.

California Dairies


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.

Sustainability Produced - The Golden State Standard


CDI announces the launch of farm-to-consumer sustainability effort. While CDI has had a long history of focus on sustainability at the cooperative and on our family dairy farms, the formal launch of this initiative is aimed at measuring, validating, and further improving sustainable business practices. This initiative will focus on priority areas from environmental stewardship to employee welfare to animal husbandry and beyond.

Valley Natural Beverages


CDI breaks ground on a new Ultra-High Temperature and Ultra Filtered milk processing facility in Kern County.