Dean Foods, the largest dairy processor in the US, is to settle an anti-trust suit brought against the business by farmers in the state of Vermont.

The settlement remains subject to court approval but would see Dean Foods pay US$30m, the company said in an SEC filing yesterday (9 December).

In October last year, farmers in Vermont sued Dean Foods, accusing the businesses of violating anti-trust rules and artificially depressing milk prices in the state.

Farmers had been facing falling returns and, according to US Senator for Vermont, Bernard Sanders, were losing $100 per cow, per month.

Dean Foods said yesterday that its settlement also meant the company would "agree to other terms and conditions with respect to its raw-milk procurement activities" at some processing plants in the north-east of the US.

The company said it would incur a charge of $18.4m, net of tax, from the settlement in the fourth quarter of the year.