PLATTSBURGH — Local members of the Agri-Mark dairy cooperative are sharing its $10.2 million profit after taxes from 2012.
Dale Tetreault, who owns Hidden View Farm with his brothers, Dan and Don, in Champlain, says the payment will pay for about one-third of the feed corn they will plant this spring.
Hidden View is one of 1,250 members of the cooperative in New England and New York. The members get about 35 cents per hundredweight, about 3 cents per gallon, for all the milk they marketed through the cooperative last year. That equals about $7,500 for the average member.
Agri-Mark shared a $15 million profit last year. Members received 52 cents per hundredweight, or about 5 cents per gallon.
Agri-Mark spokesman Doug DiMento told the Press-Republican the reduced profits were due to an increase in milk production that caused prices to drop.
“It was just a tough year in the marketplace,” he said.
Tetreault said that, 10 years ago, the Agri-Mark check would have paid the entire cost of planting the corn, but feed prices, as well as most every other cost of running a dairy farm, continue to increase year after year.
That makes Agri-Mark’s legislative advocacy on behalf of dairy farmers more important than ever, he said. One example is Agri-Mark Senior Economist Bob Wellington’s efforts to ensure dairy farmers receive at least the actual cost of dairy production when they sell their milk.
Tetreault said that allows farmers to see that they can at least break even or maybe make a profit in the future. While conditions remain tough in the Northeast, he said, in California it appears one or two dairy farms a week are filing for Chapter 7 (liquidation) bankruptcy.
Hidden View Farm milks about 600 cows in a herd of 1,100 on the 1,500-acre property.