Agri-Mark professionally and efficiently markets members' milk and performs many all-important functions for its member/owners.
As a cooperative, Agri-Mark pays its members for all the fluid milk they supply. The cooperative then markets this milk and returns profits to its farm family owners. Working together, the goal is always to realize a better financial return, with more support and with a collective voice, than one could achieve alone. By owning several manufacturing plants and three dairy brands, the cooperative's members actively chart their own future. All of the cooperative's elected officials are member-farmers, including the Board of Directors. The Agri-Mark dairy cooperative works daily to assist its farm families, whether by influencing dairy industry legislation, maintaining strong dairy markets or developing new value-added dairy products for its membership such as whey proteins.
Agri-Mark is democratically controlled by a regional membership structure. The co-op's membership territory is divided into 14 geographical regions, each with between 50 and 200 members. These regional areas are further subdivided into more localized membership structures by the establishment of two or more sections within a region, each with not less than 15 members.
Policy development starts with the Agri-Mark Resolutions Committee. The 14 Resolutions Committee members meet and, following the guidance of the members from their region, develop a set of recommended resolutions for adoption by the full voting representative body at the Agri-Mark annual meeting each year. At the Agri-Mark annual meeting, all elected representatives further consider and discuss the proposed resolutions. If adopted by the representatives, these resolutions establish the general guidelines used by the Board of Directors and management in conducting Agri-Mark's business for the coming year. Through this democratic process, it is the entire membership that has the opportunity to develop and approve the operational policies of their cooperative.
Cooperative members are well represented on national and regional issues of concern to the dairy industry. This representation comes through Agri-Mark's own lobbying efforts and membership in the Northeast Dairy Farmers' Cooperatives, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, the National Milk Producers Federation and the Northeast Cooperative Council.
In addition, one Agri-Mark member chairs a state legislative committee for each state in which Agri-Mark has producer-members. These committees work on issues that will affect Agri-Mark members in their respective states.
Agri-Mark has an active communications program to keep its membership well informed. The cooperative publishes an Agri-Mark newsletter twice a year for all members. In addition, members receive a letter with their twice monthly milk check to keep them further abreast of current affairs of their cooperative and the dairy industry. As part of the cooperative's overall communications effort, Agri-Mark encourages its 14 directors to hold informal meetings within their regions. These meetings are held as often as necessary to give members an accurate and up-to-date picture of the milk business. Each annual regional meeting provides another opportunity for both Board officers and management staff to report on Agri-Mark's progress to the membership.
For more information about becoming an Agri-Mark member, please contact Bob Stoddart, Manager of Membership Services.