Originally started as Cabot Farmers Cooperative Creamery in 1919 by farmers in Cabot, Vermont, it was taken over by the Agri-Mark Cooperative in 1992. Agri-Mark started a new corporation, Cabot Creamery Cooperative, in Michigan.
The original plant had an investment of $3,700 in total, which was paid by 94 farmers in proportion to the number of cattle which each owned. The cooperative started out making butter with the excess milk produced, and began shipping its products south. In 1930 they started making cheese. By 1960, the cooperative had 600 member farmers, though the number of farms in Vermont and across the nation were steadily shrinking.
Following a decline in membership, the Cabot Farmers Cooperative Creamery merged in 1992 with Agri-Mark, a cooperative of 1,800 farm families in New England and New York, and was re-incorporated as Cabot Creamery Cooperative Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Agri-mark. In 2008, there were about 400 Cabot farms in Vermont belonging to Agri-Mark.
Cabot has facilities in many locations, including Cabot, Vermont, Route 100 in Waterbury, Vermont, Quechee, Vermont as well as a newly added store in Portland, Maine. Each location offers samples of products from the expansive line of Cabot goods, specialty foods from local vendors, and souvenirs. Additionally, at the Cabot Visitors Center, guided tours are given for those interested.
Cabot began marketing cheese internationally in 2007.
Wine Spectator magazine listed Cabot cloth-bound cheddar as one of "100 great cheeses" of the world in 2008. Also in 2008, Cabot Monterey Jack received an award from the American Cheese Society.
As a co-op, Agri-Mark is a membership organization incorporated in Delaware on April 21, 1980. The members of the Agri-Mark cooperative, who supply Agri-Mark's equity capital and directly elect its directors, are not stockholders of record and therefore have no right under Delaware statutory law to inspect the corporation's books and records. Only the board of directors hold a share of stock and so are owners under Delaware law.
The co-op retains much of the excess profit, up to $150,000 per farmer, as equity in the form of non-interest bearing loans. For farmers departing the co-op, this equity is repaid over seven years. Dividends in excess of the retained equity are returned to the members.
The Delaware stock corporation signs yearly marketing agreements with the farmers who produce milk. They can decline to re-sign any producer without reason at the end of the contract.
In 1994, when the two companies merged, they had $30 million in sales. This reached $350 million in 2008.
On several occasions, Cabot has been penalized for pollution incidents by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. In 2000, Cabot was cited for a "minor violation of [its] indirect discharge permit and land use permit." In 2007, Cabot paid a $50,000 fine with an additional $50,000 funding of a Supplemental Environmental Projects. In 2007, Cabot also pled guilty to violating the Clean Water Act after an ammonia spill killed thousands of fish in the Winooski River, in July 2005. The spill destroyed all aquatic life for 5.5 miles (8.9 km).
In 2011, the Vermont Attorney General's office alleged that some Cabot products made in 2009 and 2010 could not be certified as free of rBST, a hormone that causes cows to produce more milk. It should be understood that there is no testing to prove one way or the other that BST has been used. In addition BST used properly is therapeutic for cows that are having problems beginning to produce milk after their dry period. Cabot settled with the state, agreeing not to make such representations, to pay a $65,000 fine, and to donate $75,000 worth of dairy products to local food banks.
- Leyden, Liz (June 11, 2010). "A Weekend at Farm Camp, With Lessons in the Earthy Side of Food". The New York Times.
- "Cabot Cheese". Agri-Mark.
- Agri-Mark to halt use of BST. Burlington Free Press. January 27, 2009.
- "Visit Us". Cabot Creamery.
- "About Us". Cabot Creamery.
- "Land Spreading". Cabot Creamery.
- "FAQs". Cabot Creamery.
- "History". Cabot Creamery.
- "The World of Cheese: 100 Great Cheeses". Wine Spectator. September 30, 2008. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
- Pasanen, Melissa (August 20, 2008). Vermont cheesemakers win a variety of honors. Burlington Free Press.
- Shaw bs Agri-Mark
- Dunbar, Bethany (18 March 2009). "Farmers upset about Agri-Mark report". Barton, Vermont: the Chronicle. p. 13.
- State site
- State Enforcement
- Times Argus
- State of Vermont, Superior Court, Washington Unit, in re Agri-Mark, Inc., d/b/a Cabot Creamery Cooperative, Docket No. 489-8-11 Wncv