Land O'Lakes announced on Friday that it was calling off merger talks with three other dairy producers.

Merger plans announced in August would have brought Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative into Land O'Lakes' family of dairies along with two smaller companies — Lone Star Milk Producers of Windhorst, Texas, and Arkansas Dairy Cooperative of Damascus, Ark.

The Arden Hills-based company had hoped that by absorbing the cooperatives, it would return to second place among the nation's largest milk suppliers. Such an agreement would have increased Land O'Lakes' milk volume by 25 percent to an estimated 16.4 billion pounds of milk per year.

Boards at each of the cooperatives had approved the signing of letters of intent to develop a merger plan.

John E. Gherty, Land O'Lakes' president and chief executive, said Friday that while working with other cooperatives remains a goal, member concerns were taken into account in the decision to halt the plan.

"The feedback we were receiving from Maryland and Virginia members indicated it would be counterproductive to continue merger discussions," he said.