Agri-Mark, a dairy cooperative, started a $16 million expansion at its plant in Chateaugay, New York. The project is expected to retain 100 full-time employees and support an additional 514 agricultural jobs in Franklin County.
Part of a $30 million plant modernization project that started in 2016, the innovative expansion and restoration of Agri-Mark's facility involves rebuilding the cooperative's 110,641 square-foot manufacturing center, reengineering the layout of the facility, and purchasing new machinery and other equipment. The plant will continue to operate during its modernization effort.
Agri-Mark CEO Bill Beaton said, "We are excited to move into this second phase of our modernization project and to see the plant addition come to fruition. Our vision is to revitalize the Chateaugay facility to better support the growing needs of our local farmers, meet the appetites of our customers and consumers, and provide an improved facility for our employees. This investment would not be possible without the help of our partners, whom we thank for their support."
Empire State Development is supporting the dairy cooperative's expansion project with $6 million in funding, including $4 million in Economic Transformation Program funds.
Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President and CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, "New York's farmers are a cornerstone of our economy, especially in the North Country - and this public-private partnership with Agri-Mark will encourage industry strength and sustainability. Modernizing the Chateaugay plant will also increase the production of award-winning cheese made from New York State milk, supporting jobs, and generating an economic boost to dairy producers statewide."
Agri-Mark is a dairy farmer cooperative that dates back to 1913. The co-op bought the Chateaugay cheese manufacturing facility in 2003.and since then has invested millions of dollars into the facility to expand production of its award-winning McCadam brand cheese as well as some types of Cabot cheese, known for being the "World's Best Cheddar." The plant is the second oldest cheese company in the United States and its cheeses are New York State grown and certified.
“Agri-Mark's modernization efforts will solidify their future in the North Country and ensure that they can continue to produce some of New York's finest dairy products, and that New York State remains a leader in the dairy industry nationwide, added State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball."
In 2020, Agri-Mark marketed milk for more than 750 Northeast dairy farms, which amounted to more than 378 million gallons of farm fresh milk. Agri-Mark's membership is made up of dairy farms in communities across six states, including 400 farms in New York State. In addition, 100 percent of Agri-Mark's profits are distributed to the dairy farms it serves.