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February 11, 2002

Agri-Mark Posts $5.7 Million Year-end Profit

Officials says Cabot business and whey protein operations performed well

Methuen, Mass. -- Agri-Mark dairy farmer-owners will share in a $5.7 million profit for the company's fiscal year ended November 30, 2001, up from the $1.9 million profit the cooperative recorded last year. The cooperative's profit allocation to its dairy farmer-members will be $.25 per hundredweight on their farm's milk production during the 2001 fiscal year. Officials at Agri-Mark say the continued strength of the cooperative's Cabot branded business and the contributions made by the company's new whey protein manufacturing plant in Middlebury, Vt., contributed to a successful year. "Our members have made investments to obtain more income from their milk processed in their own plants," says Paul P. Johnston, Agri-Mark President and General Manager. "These investments are not only important for current profits, but also give us a very solid base for future profitability." Johnston says the terrorist attacks of September 2001 hurt many U.S. industries, including the dairy industry, as consumer travel and eating meals outside of the home declined. This caused a fall in wholesale butter and cheese prices as demand slackened in the food-service sector. He noted that although the attacks hurt Agri-Mark earnings this year, "...We still had a decent year, which shows the overall strength of the cooperative." Johnston also noted that this year was the first full year of operating the new whey protein manufacturing plant in Middlebury, Vt., Members invested $20 million and the plant has performed even better than projected, contributing to the yearend profit. This facility takes whey -- a cheese by-product that Agri-Mark formerly had to pay to dispose of -- and, from it, captures and manufactures valuable whey proteins used in body building and other nutritional products. Richard Stammer, Agri-Mark Chief Operating Officer, added "Investments we made in marketing efforts and in new equipment for expansion at Cabot continue to pay off. Our sales continue to grow in core Northeast markets, in new markets down the Eastern seaboard, and in expansion markets in the rest of the country. Today you can probably purchase Cabot cheddar cheese in every state in the continental U.S., and you can also buy Cabot butter in most of those states." Stammer said he is particularly grateful for all of the consumers around the U.S. who support Cabot and its dairy farmer-owners. New York dairy farmer and member Carl Peterson of Delanson serves as the cooperative's Chairman of the Board, and was recently elected to his 11th term in January. His says his optimism is fueled by the continued growth and diversity of Agri-Mark profits, the support of the farmer-membership and the overall positive impact the cooperative has made for its members in the Northeast dairy industry. He cited the success of the Northeast Dairy Compact in adding income to farm milk checks and Agri-Mark's present work to increase farm prices in the national Farm Bill. Peterson summarized his feelings and those of the other 14 dairy farmers who serve on the cooperative's Board of Directors by saying "This past year we had a good year-end profit, and our business continues to expand in both sales and profitability. With our solid customer base, our own strong branded business and whey operations, I can"t help but feel that Agri-Mark and we, its farmer-owners, are positioned well for the future." - 30 -

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