The 2012 shared profits are in addition to $21 million that members received in their monthly milk checks in 2012 for high milk quality and other premiums. They also received $6.3 million in milk-hauling subsidies.
Overall, the cooperative paid out $37.5 million to its members, in addition to providing other services, such as legislative support.
Agri-Mark CEO Dr. Richard Stammer said in a statement that the past year once again showed the cooperative’s strength.
“After a slow start during the first half of the year with falling milk and cheese prices, we made very strong profits during the second half, as increasing prices for dairy products helped both the cooperative and our member-owners,” he said in a press release.
Members receive part of the profits in checks, with the rest kept in an individual equity or ownership account to support the cooperative’s growth. The latter is returned when a member retires or leaves the cooperative.
Checks were mailed in early March and provide assistance in making ends meet in the face of high milk-production costs.
DAIRY SECURITY ACT
Agri-Mark farmers own the Vermont-based Cabot brand of cheeses and dairy products and the Chateaugay-based McCadam brand of cheeses.
Aged Cabot cheddar remains the cooperative’s top-selling product, Stammer said, but sales of whey proteins, butter and cultured products were also strong. The diversity of products contributes to a strong bottom line, he said.
Stammer said the last six years have been the most profitable in Agri-Mark’s history, which dates back to 1913. Total sales of milk and manufactured dairy products were $880 million in 2012.
Agri-Mark Chairman of the Board Neal Rea, a diary farmer from Cambridge, said in the release that, while it is great the cooperative continues to grow and generate profits for its members, that is not enough.