The move will retain 106 jobs in the area, and support 600 farms across the state.
The expansion and restoration of Agri-Mark’s Chateaugay facility in Franklin County, on the border with Québec, Canada, involves rebuilding the current 110,641-square-foot manufacturing facility, reengineering the layout, and purchasing new machinery and other equipment.
State to assist with funding
Empire State Development, New York State’s economic agency, will support the dairy co-op with up to $6m in funding, including $4m in Economic Transformation Program (ETP) funds.
“Agri-Mark’s investment to expand and modernize their Chateaugay facility is a win-win for the Upstate economy,” said Empire State Development president, CEO and commissioner Howard Zemsky.
The co-op, which was established in 1913, bought the Chateaugay cheese manufacturing facility in 2003 after its former owner closed the plant. Since then, Agri-Mark has expanded production of the McCadam and Cabot cheese brands at the plant.
Agri-Mark chairman Neal Rea said, “Our farmers are making a substantial investment in our cheese plant in Chateaugay because we believe that the New York dairy industry has a strong future, and our farm families are part of that future.
“We realize that our facility is one of the economic engines in the North Country and by undertaking this project we are letting everyone in Chateaugay and the surrounding communities know that we are here to stay and the jobs and benefits we bring are also here to stay.”
Town pleased with news
Chateaugay town supervisor Don Bilow said the community was grateful the state recognized the regional importance of the facility and McCadam cheese.
“The Town of Chateaugay is extremely pleased to learn Agri-Mark will complete renovations necessary to enable the local cheese plant to remain competitive in the market. Farmers all across northern New York State depend on McCadam to provide a market for their milk and this plant has a positive impact on all of them,” Bilow said.
New York’s dairy industry generates more than $3.5bn in farm-gate sales, constituting approximately one-half of the state’s total agricultural receipts. There were almost 5,000 dairy farms in New York State in 2015.
Agri-Mark’s membership is made up of 1,100 dairy farms in six states, including 600 farms in New York State.