97 Years of Market Growth
The St. Albans Cooperative Creamery, Inc. founded in 1919 was the realization of a dream. That dream promised the individual milk producer a sense of strength in unity and independence and control in what had historically been a buyer’s market. In those days, it was not uncommon for a hard working farmer to haul fresh milk for miles, only to discover his buyer already had more milk than he could handle. The farmer could never be sure of the payment he would receive for his product. Many buyers of the day bid farmers against each other to get them to lower their prices. Sometimes, the final price was below actual production costs.
With a membership base of over 360 farms, the CO-OP markets more than 3 million pounds of milk a day to a variety of customers throughout the Northeast. The CO-OP has grown right along with its membership to meet the daily needs of the dairy farmers who own it. It not only guarantees a market for the milk 365 days a year, but also provides the dairy farmer with proper incentives and services necessary for continuing viable production in today’s fluctuating economic environment.
Because of its “straight-line” manufacturing process, in-house quality control programs and dedication to consumer interests, the CO-OP can and does offer a consistently high quality wholesome milk product, one that brings a premium price, meeting the demands of a large and growing market throughout the Northeast.
The CO-OP received 1.3 billion pounds of milk from its producers in 2013 and grossed sales of over $387,000,000 from all operations. The cooperative has financed a large plant renovation and expansion project, which has boosted manufacturing efficiency and sales.
According to the National Milk Producers Federation, a majority of the nation’s milk today is marketed through cooperatives. This supports the notion that utilization of cooperative processing and marketing techniques can mean the difference between a struggle for survival and a secure livelihood in today’s competitive and technological dairy industry for today’s dairy farmer.