Dairytown’s farmers approve merger into Agropur

New Brunswick butter co-operative Dairytown Products is expected to become part of major Quebec dairy co-op Agropur by month’s end, now that Dairytown’s farmers have approved the deal.

The two co-ops announced Wednesday that Dairytown’s “beneficiaries,” the province’s 206 active dairy producers, voted 99 per cent in favour of the merger Tuesday. Member turnout topped 80 per cent, they said.

All other needed regulatory approvals have already been obtained, they added.

James Walker, Dairytown’s chairman, described the deal Wednesday as an opportunity to build on each organization’s respective strengths in Atlantic Canada.

“We are pleased to join other milk producers who share our vision and values,” he said in an Agropur release.

Dairytown, which employs almost 190 people at Sussex, N.B., makes butter, skim milk powder, custom milk powder blends and whey protein concentrate for retail, foodservice and further-processing clients and produces its own Dairytown brand of butter.

The company began operating at Sussex in 1984 and receives about 50 per cent of the province’s milk production, according to a 2007 study of the province’s dairy industry.

“Better control”

Agropur, whose products include the Natrel, Quebon, Allegro, Olympic and Island Farms brands, reached an agreement in principle with Dairytown in March for the deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed Wednesday.

As was the case in Agropur’s merger last year with Farmers Co-operative Dairy, the Dairytown deal will allow the co-ops “to pool our processing assets and to keep them all in the hands of our producer-members, to ensure the sustainability of our co-operative,” Agropur president Serge Riendeau said in Wednesday’s release. [Related story]

“The competitive landscape is changing,” Agropur CEO Robert Coallier said in the same release. “With better control of our milk supply and increased processing capabilities, Agropur will be better positioned to serve its customers at a nationwide level and that, for the greater benefit of its producer-owners.”

Agropur’s expansions into Atlantic Canada in the past year have also included a takeover of Nova Scotia-based Cook’s Dairy. — AGCanada.com Network


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