By Robert Cohen Executive Director Text Only

Stolen Pensions

Stolen Pensions

When Cows Retire & Collect Pensions

Just kidding. Cows don't get pensions, people do. That
is...unless their pension funds have been looted or
misappropriated as seems to be the case at the largest dairy
co-op in America.

After years of hard work, cows do not get to retire. Their
reward is to either get clubbed, stunned, or shot in the
head. Their throats are then cut, and their blood sprays
from severed necks. Sometimes, cows drown on their own blood
as they gurgle their way to oblivion.

Cows get no pensions.

However, dairy workers do get pensions. Sometimes.

The largest dairy co-op in America is the Dairy Farmers of
America (DFA). In 2002, DFA farms cumulatively produced 80
quarts of milk for each American. With thousands of
employees, DFA must have some enormous pension fund, right?


An investigation by my favorite pro-dairy newspaper, The
Milkweed (608-455-2400) reveals that something is very
rotten, west of Denmark.

An audit of 2002 books by Milkweed's editor, Pete Hardin,
reveals that DFA's financial condition is precarious, to say
the least. According to Hardin, somebody is playing with
DFA's books. DFA's pension deficit is frightening. Hardin

"Add 'em, up. The Milkweed concludes that DFA's total
exposure on its employee pension programs slid backwards
about $150 million in 2002."

Add the $162 million in pension deficits to nearly $400
million in phony intangible assets, and one finds that DFA
is milk gone sour. Hardin writes:

"The mumbo-jumbo contained in DFA's 2002 audit is
purposefully confusing. DFA claims equities of $638 million.
However, that figure must be compensated by acknowledged
'intangible assets' of about $400 million. DFA reports
'Goodwill' of $105 million and 'intangibles' of $294
million. 'Goodwill' and 'intangibles' are bookkeeping

The Antitrust Division of the United States Department of
Justice is now conducting an investigation of DFA's illegal
and deceptive practices. The pension fund fraud is just the
tip of the iceberg. This should get interesting. According
to Hardin, the CEO of DFA, Gary Hanman, is close friends
with the Attorney General of the United States, John
Ashcroft. Make that, "very close." Rumor has it that these
two Missouri friends have become close Washington, D.C.
drinking buddies. During his unsuccessful bid for a Missouri
Senate seat in 2000, Ashcroft set a record by accepting
$2,028,823 in PAC donations, ranking him in the top ten for
contributions from industries, many of which have anti-trust
and other matters pending before the Justice Department.
Agri-business represented 7.6 percent of those funds, and
dairy sat atop the list.

The dairy industry has a long history of buying their way to
power. See what resulted from the famous ("I am not a
crook") Richard Nixon $3 million dairy bribe in 1971. At
DFA, it's business as usual.

On Monday (April 21, 2003), I spoke with Craig Conrad, Esq.,
and Judy Boudreault, Esq., two of the Justice Department
attorneys investigating the DFA case. Before my phone call,
they were not aware of the pension fund debacle, nor the
dairy industry's previous history of placing substantial
dollars into political activities. Should you have any
further information about how DFA conducts their business,
please give these lawyers a call: 202-514-5387.

Robert Cohen, author of:   MILK A-Z
Executive Director (
Dairy Education Board

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