Editor's note: The 2018 Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Awards banquet will be held Saturday, March 2, at the Quality Inn & Suites in Batavia.
Upstate Niagara Cooperative Inc., a dairy cooperative owned by 340 farm families located throughout Western New York, will be honored March 2 as the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce’s Agricultural Organization of the Year.
“On behalf of our member-owners, especially those located in Genesee County, we are honored to be presented with this award by the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce,” said Keith Telaak, senior marketing manager of Upstate Niagara Cooperative. “We are grateful of this recognition and are proud to be a part of the Genesee County community.”
Upstate Niagara Cooperative is a result of several mergers, acquisitions, and consolidations of local dairy processors over the past 100 years, as dairy farmers realized the need for increased efficiencies to be able to grow their businesses and compete in the changing marketplace, Telaak said.
In 2006 Upstate Farms Cooperative and Niagara Milk Cooperative consolidated, bringing together two of the nation’s top dairy cooperatives. Its history, however, goes back even further.
Some of Upstate Niagara Cooperative’s family-owned farms have been in existence for more than six generations, according to Telaak.
The cooperative operates seven manufacturing facilities – three fluid plants (Buffalo, Rochester and Williamsport, Pa.), with their main office in Buffalo; two cultured facilities (West Seneca and North Lawrence); one cheese plant in Campbell; and O-AT-KA Milk Products in Batavia. The Membership Office is also located in Batavia, Telaak added.
“Our mission is to serve each one of our customers the highest quality dairy products and services, in order to market milk and maximize returns for our dairy farmer owners, while providing a rewarding environment for our employees,” Telaak said.
“Our commitment to quality dairy products extends to every stage of production, from the farm to the consumer. The success of our cooperative begins with the passion and dedication of our farmer-owners to work hard every single day to produce the highest quality milk.”
Upstate Niagara’s high-quality dairy products have earned several first-place awards at dairy competitions, including their Bison French Onion Dip and light sour cream. They are marketed to consumers throughout the country.
Their products include milk, flavored milk, yogurt, dip, sour cream, cheese and ice cream marketed under the Upstate Farms, Valley Farms; Intense Milk for consumers looking for a healthier way to indulge; Bison; and Milk for Life.
“We are also a private label manufacturer of dairy products for many of the largest retailers throughout the country,” Telaak said.
Today, Upstate Niagara employs more than 1,400 people in their offices, manufacturing facilities and distribution network.
Batavia was chosen as the site for the Membership Office because of its central location to member farmers in Western New York, Telaak said. Mike Davis is plant manager of the Batavia plant.