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October 24, 2011

Agri-Mark Names Stammer New CEO

Appointment comes after national search following retirement of Paul P. Johnston, CEO for 35 years.

Methuen, Mass.-- Agri-Mark has announced that Richard Stammer, Phd., has been named as the new Chief Executive Officer of the cooperative effective November 1, 2011. Stammer has worked for the co-op for the past 29 years, and served as Chief Operating Officer of Agri-Mark and President of the co-op’s Cabot and McCadam branded business. He has been responsible for the growth of Cabot from a small Vermont brand to an award-winning national brand.

In April of this year Paul P. Johnston announced his plans to retire after 47 years at the cooperative helm, the last 35 as CEO. Since that time the organization’s Board of Directors has worked with search firm Korn Ferry to identify qualified candidates for Agri-Mark’s top management position.

“After a thorough, national search, the Board of Directors is confident we have selected the best person to lead our cooperative, ensuring its continued success,” says Neal Rea, a dairy farmer from Cambridge, N.Y. who serves as the Chairman of the Board of Agri-Mark.

Rea says that Stammer has held several positions within the organization and has a very wide range of direct experience within the co-op, including government relations, milk marketing, consumer sales and marketing, and plant operations.

“We recognize and are proud of the role Rich has played to get us where we are today, and the Board is confident that we will have continued growth and profitability under his leadership,” Rea says.

Stammer says that he is excited over the opportunity to lead the entire organization to a new level of success, building upon what has already been solidly established.

“We have a great farmer-members, employees and great brands. We’re set for continued growth and profitability in the future,” Stammer says. “My goal is to continue to move us forward and further improve an already great company and great cooperative."

Vermont dairy farmer Paul Percy of Stowe, Vt., is one of the 14 dairy farmers who serve on the co-op’s Board of Directors in addition to one non-farmer. He says that the Board interviewed many candidates, but in the end it was Rich Stammer who had the best qualifications. 

“We have a very complex business. We operate four processing plants throughout the region that act as local outlets for member milk and at the same time support our large, national wholesale and retail businesses,” says Percy. “Rich knows the whole business inside and out, from one end to another. I am sure he will do a great job.”

Chairman Rea notes that a smooth transition to a new CEO was possible due to Paul Johnston’s early notice of his intent to retire, providing the organization with time necessary to evaluate possible successors to run a company that posted more than $780 million in 2010 sales from the sale of its member milk, cheese and dairy products. Rea notes that Johnston’s contributions to the cooperative over the years have been invaluable.

“Having served as our Agri-Mark CEO for 35 years, Paul’s name is synonymous with our cooperative and brand. Starting with our cooperative at age 20 and taking the helm at the age of 32, Paul has overseen the spectacular growth and success of our business,” says Rea.

 Rea says that the past five years have been the most profitable in the history of the cooperative, and Johnston leaves with a great legacy and with great appreciation from both members and employees alike.

 New CEO Stammer says the whole Agri-Mark team is very excited and optimistic about the future for the farmer owned company.

“Our farmers own a tremendously valuable brand that generates steady year-end profits for them from adding real value to their milk. That will remain unchanged,” Stammer says. “We are going to continue to be a very strong voice for Northeast farm families in the marketplace, in State Houses throughout the region and in Washington. That, I can promise.”

Agri-Mark, with $781 million in 2010 sales, markets more than 300 million gallons of farm fresh milk each year for more than 1,275 dairy farm families in New England and New York. The cooperative is headquartered in Methuen, Mass., has been marketing milk for dairy farmers since 1913, 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. Cabot has won the award of World’s Best Cheddar twice and McCadam recently won the award of America’s Best Cheese. Agri-Mark has 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 

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