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February 5, 2004

Peterson Elected To 13th Term As Agri-Mark

N.Y. dairy farmer optimistic about the future as co-op has record profits

Methuen, Mass. -- New York dairy farmer Carl Peterson of Delanson, N.Y., was elected to his 13th term as Chairman of the Board of Agri-Mark at the January meeting of the organization's Board of Directors. Agri-Mark, with more than $600 million in sales last year, is the premier dairy farmer cooperative serving the New England Market with more than 1,400 farmer-members. Peterson has served as Chairman of the dairy organization since 1992. Roughly 500 of Agri-Mark's dairy farmers operate family farms in New York State, one of the expanding markets for their cooperative's award-winning Cabot brand of Vermont cheddar cheese and their new McCadam brand of New York dairy products. "Agri-Mark just ended the last year with a record $11.4 million profit," says Peterson. "Despite the low farm prices of the past year, our value-added business continued to grow and earn a record profit for our members. Sales of our Cabot brand of dairy products continue to increase, and our new McCadam brand is also providing a good value-added market for our members as well." Agri-Mark's record year-end profits will mean an additional $.44 per hundredweight on a year's milk production to each of its farmer-members. Peterson says Agri-Mark farmers also received another $9.0 million in monthly premiums in addition to the past year's profits. He notes the co-op also works to increase farm milk prices through various channels, including the new national Cooperatives Working Together plan with its goal of better balancing the nation's milk supply with consumer demand. He says Agri-Mark is also working in support of the proposed National Dairy Equity Act. During the elections of officers at the Agri-Mark meeting, dairy farmer Neal Rea of Cambridge, N.Y., was elected to the position of Agri-Mark Vice Chairman, while Mark Duffy of Carlisle, Mass., was elected Secretary. Ivar Green of Waterville, N.Y., was elected Treasurer and dairy farmer John Malcolm of Pawlet, Vt., will join these officers as the other member of the co-op's Executive Committee. Peterson says that there are a lot of challenges ahead for Agri-Mark and the Northeast dairy industry and he is glad to have the opportunity to continue to work with the Board of Directors, co-op members and management staff to further develop Agri-Mark's business and strengthen dairy farmers" position in the marketplace. "Northeast dairy farmers have to work together as a group to take advantage of the large consumer markets right here in our backyard," he says. "Our farmers have invested in their own processing plants and in branded Cabot and McCadam marketing to better control our future in the marketplace. We hope more farmers will join with us in the year ahead so we can all work together for higher farm prices." Agri-Mark's Chairman is among the 17 dairy farmers elected by local members to serve on the cooperative's Board of Directors. The co-op markets more than 300 million gallons of milk annually for its farmer-owners -- amounting to a truckload of milk every 10 minutes, 365 days a year. Peterson says that 2004 will bring new challenges, but he is confident that Agri-Mark and Northeast dairy farmers will meet them successfully. - 30 -

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