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October 22, 2009

Agri-Mark Sends $2 Million To Struggling Dairy Farmers

Second cash payment this year prompted by continued low farm milk prices

Methuen, Mass. -- The Agri-Mark dairy cooperative has announced that a second round of cash payments were sent this week to each of their dairy farm families for $1.00 per hundredweight or roughly $.09 per gallon on all of the milk their farm produced during the month of September. Co-op officials say the milk marketing cooperative is having another good year and the Board of Directors and management recognized the continued need for cash on member farms. “Our Cabot and McCadam brands continue to be profitable to the point that we feel comfortable making this second payout to members,” says Neal Rea, a dairy farmer from Cambridge, N.Y. , who serves as Agri-Mark’s Chairman of the Board, “If consumers want to help dairy farmers directly, one way they can do that is to purchase farmer-owned brands like Cabot or McCadam cheese. One hundred percent of our profits go to dairy farmers.” Agri-Mark’s 1,300 Northeast dairy farm families own the cooperative and share in year-end profits based upon the amount of milk they market with the co-op each year. However, in May of 2009 the co-op sent out an additional check for $.30 per hundredweight on a month’s production to its members to help cope with the lowest milk prices in more than 30 years. Rea said Agri-Mark’s second cash payout of $1.00 per hundredweight was again approved unanimously by the 14-member Board of Directors, comprised of farmers from throughout New England and New York. Each director has been elected by other local Agri-Mark farmers to represent them on this governing body for the milk marketing cooperative. “We clearly recognize that our farmers need immediate help to pay their bills,” says Paul Johnston, Agri-Mark’s President and General Manager. “We still continue to work with other groups throughout the nation to find a long-term pricing solution we can all agree on and move forward with as soon as possible. However, this payment will help in the short-term.” The checks for the average Agri-Mark farm family will be roughly $1,500, but some families may receive several thousand, depending upon the amount of milk their farm produces. The co-op has now paid out more than $2.6 million in these two extra payments to its farmer members this year from profits generated from its Cabot and McCadam brands of cheese and other dairy products. Chairman Rea says the co-op will continue to explore every state or national opportunity to stabilize farm milk prices at levels above the cost of production for its farmer-members and expand its branded sales even further in 2010. “These early profit payments show how important it is for farmers to invest in and market their own value-added products,” says Rea. “Whether it is from the Cabot cheese we market here in the U.S. or valuable whey proteins we market internationally, our goal is to generate as much income for our farmers as possible each year.” - 30 - Agri-Mark, with $881 million in 2008 sales, is the premier dairy cooperative in the region, marketing more than 300 million gallons of farm fresh milk each year for 1,300 dairy farm families in New England and New York. The cooperative is headquartered in Methuen, Mass., and has been marketing milk for dairy farmers since 1916. The co-op actively represents the legislative interests of Northeast dairy farm families throughout the region and in Washington, D.C. Agri-Mark farmers own the award-winning Cabot brand of Vermont Cheddar, butter and other dairy products in addition to the McCadam brand of New York Cheddar, Muenster and other cheeses. Cabot won the award of World’s Best Cheddar in 2006 for the second time and McCadam won the award of America’s Best Cheese in 2007. Agri-Mark has also invested in operations to manufacture and market valuable whey proteins globally and sells fluid milk from its farmers to the region's largest dairy processors. The past two years have been the best two ever for Agri-Mark, posting year-end profits of $17.6 million in 2007 and $11.8 million in 2008, respectively, due mainly to its sales of branded dairy products and whey proteins. Agri-Mark markets a full truckload of farm fresh milk every nine minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information about Agri-Mark, visit our web site at www.agrimark.net.


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