Magazine article Rural Cooperatives

Agri-Mark Has Record Earnings

Magazine article Rural Cooperatives

Agri-Mark Has Record Earnings

Article excerpt

Agri-Mark dairy cooperative in 2007 had a record, after-tax profit of $17.6 million, easily surpassing the previous record of $11.4 million set in 2003. Coop leaders say the earnings were welcome news for dairy farmers who have been struggling the past few years with low market prices and huge increases in production costs--especially for energy.

Agri-Mark's profit allocation will be 50 cents per hundredweight. This represents allocated earnings of roughly $9,000 for the average Agri-Mark member milking 100 cows and producing 1.8 million pounds of milk per year.

The Methuen, Mass.-based co-op, owned by 1,300 dairy farmers, had sales of about $836 million and marketed more than 300 million gallons of milk. Co-op officials say the continued strength of the cooperative's Cabot and McCadam branded businesses, strong demand for the whey proteins and powder produced by the co-op and cost reductions due to changes Agri-Mark made in its business during the past year, all worked to boost profits. In addition, Agri-Mark members also received several million dollars in monthly premiums for overall milk quality and other incentives that the coop was able to return to its dairy farm families.

"Last year was finally a good one for farm prices, but milk production costs also climbed to record levels," says Board Chairman Neal Rea, a dairy farmer from Cambridge, N.Y. "That is why I am so pleased that Agri-Mark is able to generate these year-end profits and also earn money for the farm in the form of monthly premiums. …

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