co-operative foundation

Dairy farms own Valio through regional cooperatives, and we pay out all our operating profits to Finnish farms. Choosing to buy a Valio product helps you to support a food producer.

Valio has roughly 4,000 dairy farmers that own the company through 14 cooperatives. We are a significant creator of livelihood in the Finnish economy: Our dairy farmers and Valio itself employ, both directly and indirectly, an estimated 30,000 people (Survey by Taloustutkimus in 2015). Furthermore, Valio is the most important customer for over 350 small and mid-sized businesses all around Finland.

One dairy farm provides a job for roughly three people: the dairy farmers, a veterinarian, vacation help, feed makers, machine maintainers and manufacturers as well as barn builders and civil engineering contractors.

In Finland, we source milk from Valio dairy farms, our owners, and in Estonia and Russia, we make products from local milk according to precise quality requirements.

We pay a sustainability bonus to farms that are committed to improving animal welfare.


We create work and livelihoods from Southern Finland to the Arctic Circle. Milk production is the only form of agriculture that is feasible everywhere in Finland – even in areas where conditions and fields are not suited for growing food crops.

Valio’s dairy farms produce roughly 80 percent of Finnish milk.

We measure Valio’s financial success with a value we have created for milk, which we call the milk return (Ref: 2). Valio’s Board uses that figure to determine the price we pay cooperatives for their milk. Valio’s Board members are, in fact, dairy farm entrepreneurs. They assess how much Valio can afford to pay for the cooperatives’ milk at any given time. The milk price depends on how well Valio’s various products, from yoghurt and cheese to milk powder and infant formula, are selling and on how profitable sales have been. It’s the cooperatives that pay the producer price to the farmers. We pay a sustainability bonus to farms that are committed to improving animal welfare.

Valio’s goal is to pay a producer price that is at the level of the best cooperative dairies in Europe. The price we pay for milk has been higher than the EU average throughout the 2000s.

  1. Milk margin = Net sales less other costs, excluding depreciation and the price paid to owners for raw milk and interest on shareholder loan.
  2. Milk return = (Milk margin less the requirement for depreciation of fixed assets i.e. financing requirement for investments) / milk volume supplied by the owners.

Milk farms and Valio employ 30,000 people directly and indirectly.


Working at a dairy farm requires a variety of expertise and good physical condition. A dairy farmer’s work includes taking care of animal welfare, ensuring milk quality, handling company finances as well as developing the farm. These farmers work nearly every day of the year, including weekends. Municipalities handle the farmer relief services that enable farmers to take a vacation.

Valio’s primary production services related to milk quality, animal health and farm development, for instance, are generally free of charge to our farmers. Valio and co-operatives hold training sessions on various topics, including barn building, silage feed, animal welfare and financial management. Valio encourages dairy farmers to use occupational healthcare services.