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May 14, 2004

Allied And Agri-Mark Dairy Co-ops Agree To Work More Closely Together

Now exploring ways to collectively market their milk and strengthen both groups

Methuen, Mass. -- Two of the region's largest dairy farmer cooperatives have agreed to explore ways they can work together to market their milk more efficiently and have signed an agreement to further that goal. As the first step in this process, the Allied Federated Cooperatives, Inc. and Agri-Mark, Inc. have signed an agreement that will make Ed Pcolar general manager of Allied. Ed was formerly general manager of Allied from 1991-95 and has held a number of other management positions within the dairy industry, the last of which was as plant manager for Agri-Mark's largest manufacturing facility in West Springfield, Massachusetts. As part of the agreement, Pcolar will be an Agri-Mark employee, but still under the direction of and fully responsible to the Allied Board of Directors for all of the co-op's business activities. "It is a major step for Allied to have a person of Ed's abilities and experience as our general manager. We think this is a good first step for each organization to get know each other better and explore ways to work together to benefit both co-ops," says Michael Barnes, a dairy farmer from Mount Upton, N.Y., who serves as president of Allied. Paul P. Johnston, Agri-Mark president and general manager, also says that having Pcolar on board at Allied is just the first step, but an important one for both organizations. "Northeast dairy farmers need to work together to develop better markets for their milk and have more clout behind their national and regional legislative efforts," says Johnston. "By exploring ways to work together, our hope is that in the end Agri-Mark and Allied will both be stronger dairy organizations that can market milk for farmers more efficiently and more profitably than ever before." Allied is a federation of dairy cooperatives serving nearly 1,900 dairy farm families throughout New York State and Pennsylvania. Agri-Mark is the largest dairy farmer cooperative based in the New England Market with more than 1,350 farmer-members. More than 500 of Agri-Mark's members operate farms in New York, 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. - 30-

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