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Illinois Cream Puffs, A Feingold Legacy

A couple of the usual suspects on the Port side of the Cheddarsphere are doing there best to make this news sound like it’s all the work of Scott Walker to build a hopeless case for 2014.  It isn’t.

Illinois-based Prairie Farms is the new official cream supplier of the Wisconsin State Fair cream puffs.

The fair needed a new supplier after Golden Guernsey went out of business in January.

It’s Russ Feingold’s.

Just to prove I’m not going to go to something like Media Trackers or MacIver, I’ll go to the Hoard’s Dairyman with the story.  They’ve only been in the business of Agricultural journalist since 1885.  They’re located in Fort Akinson, hardly an echo chamber of right-wing thought last time I was there.

Golden Guernsey had a long and storied past. It was founded in 1930 as a farmer-owned cooperative. By 1935, it had grown from a single service route with 85 customers to an organization with 20,000 customers. In 1955, the co-op began construction of the current plant which was still located in Waukesha. At one time, the Hoard’s Dairyman Farm’s milk was processed at the plant.

Over the years, Golden Guernsey changed hands through co-op consolidation and mergers. The last cooperative to own the plant was Foremost Farms USA based out of Baraboo, Wis. In 2008, the Foremost Farms Consumer Products Division had net sales of $233.7 million according to a Wisconsin Department of Justice press release. In 2009, Dean Foods acquired Foremost’s Consumer Products Division which included plants in Waukesha and DePere, Wis., for a reported $35 million.

After a very public hearing process in 2010 where the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigated competition in agriculture, it became quite clear that the consolidation of fluid or beverage markets within Wisconsin were among the areas that DOJ was honing in on. One such hearing held in Madison, Wis., was headed up by then Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and called into question the 2009 Dean Foods buyout.

Following the investigation, U.S. District Court Judge J.P. Stadtmueller ordered that Dean Foods divest of the Waukesha plant due to antitrust concerns that could adversely affect the price of milk for retailers, school districts and other purchasers throughout Wisconsin, stated Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. In the court agreement, Dean Foods was able to retain its DePere plant which it acquired from Foremost Farms. The final judgment also required Dean Foods to notify the U.S. Department of Justice and the Wisconsin Attorney General 30 days before Dean Foods acquires any plant within 150 miles of Wisconsin’s border if it is valued at more than $3 million.

Thanks Rusty.

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  • Walter

    Is it just me, or has Blogging Blue really gone off the rails after Wisniewski lost his election? Sure he got rid of psychotic Jeff Simpson and pseudointellectual Phil Scarr, but there’s contributors incapable of delivering a coherent message in under 5000 words.

    I know they’re compensating for a lack of intelligence by being over-wordy, but the topics are down right bat guano crazy — government should take over the press, the nanny state must take away guns, 9/11 trutherism, and my favorite — corporations force you to eat, not government.