ANDOVER, Mass. – At their January meeting, the Agri-Mark Board of Directors voted in new officers, including a new chairman upon the retirement of Neal Rea, a dairy farmer from Cambridge, New York, who had served in that role for the past 13 years. As a result of the elections, James Jacquier of East Canaan, Connecticut, was elected the co-op’s sixth chairman of the board since the co-op was re-named in 1980.
According to Jacquier, “It is an absolute honor to serve as chairman of the board of a co-operative whose core values represent strengthening and enriching the livelihoods of our dairy farm families across New England and New York. Through brands like Cabot and McCadam, opportunities to drive value back to our members while sharing the farmer story to our consumers will be key in securing our future together. Working with and through the Board of Directors, the farmer owners, management, and employees for a stronger co-operative business will be a responsibility that I will hold with the highest regard.”
Jacquier is part of a family dairy in Western Connecticut, milking 1,400 Holsteins on his family’s 1,000-acre farm with his wife, Jenn; father; brother; two nephews; and his son. The new Agri-Mark chairman is now the third generation working the family’s Laurelbrook Farm.
Jacquier’s family has been marketing their farm’s milk through Agri-Mark and its predecessor co-operatives for more than 75 years.
Agri-Mark farmers own both the Cabot (Vermont) and McCadam (New York) brands of cheddar, butter and other dairy products. These brands have continued to expand in recent years as consumers’ appetite for high quality cheeses continue to grow at a remarkable pace. This has allowed Agri-Mark to invest in its brands and processing facilities while providing a secure market for the family farms who are members of the co-op.
The co-op’s 900 employees also received special praise from Jacquier, as he noted that they live in hundreds of communities across the region and all play an important role in producing award-winning dairy products for consumers and the co-op’s farmer-members.
Following his election as Agri-Mark’s chairman, Jacquier outlined the co-operative’s plans for the immediate future.
“We are going to continue to invest in the four dairy manufacturing facilities we own here in the Northeast, as they are profitable, dependable milk markets for our farmers. In this new world of trade wars and political uncertainty this will continue to be a priority,” says Jacquier.
The new chairman also says Agri-Mark will continue its important work with state and federal representatives to help develop programs and legislation that will benefit all farm operations.
These farms will continue to be the best stewards of land and provide the billions of dollars of economic impact to the local communities and the states in which they operate. In return, consumers can enjoy a safe, sustainable food system providing fresh, high quality milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt to their families and enjoy the rural landscapes in which they live.
Jacquier is among the 14 dairy farmers from New England and New York who are elected by local Agri-Mark farmer-members to serve on the dairy co-operative’s Board of Directors. More than 200 other dairy farmers also serve on different committees and provide important input into issues such as milk hauling, policy resolutions, on-farm and manufacturing sustainability, and legislative goals of the co-op.
During the election at the Agri-Mark Board of Directors’ meeting, the following dairy farmers were elected as officers: Rob Wheeler of Wilmington, Vermont, as vice chairman; Bill Harrigan of Chateaugay, New York, as treasurer; and Blake Gendebien of Ogdensburg, New York, as secretary. Director Mark Duffy of Carlisle, Massachusetts, was elected by the board to serve with the officers to form the co-op’s Executive Committee.