February 13, 2019
New York dairy farmer says the co-op will continue its work to increase farm milk prices and expand the co-op’s Cabot and McCadam brands
Andover, Mass. -- New York dairy farmer Neal Rea of Cambridge, N.Y., was recently elected to his 13th term as Chairman of the Board of Agri-Mark, Inc. at the January meeting of the dairy cooperative's Board of Directors.
Rea milks 275 Registered Holsteins on his 550-acre farm in Cambridge, located north of Albany, with his wife Carol, sons Thane, Travis and his wife Karen – now the 7th generation working the farm. Rea's family has been a member of Agri-Mark and its predecessor cooperatives for more than 75 years. Following his re-election as Chairman, Rea outlined the cooperative's plans for the immediate future.
"We are going to continue to invest in the dairy plants we own here in the Northeast and work to grow our cheese and butter brands even further for members," says Rea. "We are now actively working to find a way to improve farmer participation in the margin insurance program that Congress passed last year as part of the five-year federal Farm Bill. We will also continue to seek ways that the federal government or individual states can generate income to help pay farmers a fair price for their milk. In return, consumers can enjoy the benefits of having local farms supplying fresh, high quality milk, while supporting their local economies and being stewards of their land.”
Agri-Mark farmers own both the Cabot (Vermont) and McCadam (New York) brands of Cheddar, butter and other dairy products. Both brands have won numerous national awards for their cheeses, including World's Best Cheddar and America's Best Cheese, respectively. These brands have continued to grow despite the ups and downs of the U.S. economy in recent years and have allowed Agri-Mark to invest in its brands and processing facilities while providing a secure market for members of the co-op.
The co-op Chairman says Agri-Mark invested $21 million into its butter/nonfat powder plant in West Springfield, Mass., during 2018 to allow the co-op to handle all of the milk its farms are producing. The co-op owns and operates four dairy plants, three in Vermont and Massachusetts and one in New York State, employing more than 900 people in rural areas. Agri-Mark processes more than 70 percent of the milk its farmers produce - more than 370 million gallons each year – into award-winning cheese, butter, yogurt, sour cream and other dairy products.
Agri-Mark's Chairman is among the 14 dairy farmers from New England and New York who are elected by local Agri-Mark farmer-members to serve on the dairy cooperative's Board of Directors.
During the election of officers at the Agri-Mark Board of Director's meeting, dairy farmer James Jacquier of East Canaan, Conn., was re-elected to the position of Agri-Mark Vice Chairman, while Mike Barnes of Mount Upton, N.Y. was re-elected Treasurer. Blake Gendebien of Ogdensburg, N.Y., was re-elected to the position of Secretary and Bill Harrigan of Chateaugay, N.Y., was selected by the Board to join these officers to comprise the co-op's Executive Committee.
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Agri-Mark, the premier dairy cooperative in the Northeast, markets more than 370 million gallons of farm fresh milk each year for more than 850 dairy farm families in New England and New York. The cooperative, headquartered in Andover, Mass., has been marketing milk for dairy farmers since 1916 and actively represents their legislative interests in the Northeast 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, Pepper Jack and other cheeses. Agri-Mark has also invested in operations to manufacture and market valuable whey proteins globally while also marketing fresh fluid milk from its local farm families to the region's largest dairy processors. For more information about Agri-Mark, visit our web site at www.agrimark.coop.
Editor’s Note: Black and white or color digital photos of Chairman Neal Rea are available by contacting Doug DiMento directly at 978-552-5541 or by email at email@example.com.