US -The Board of Directors of American farmer-owned cooperative, Upstate Niagara Cooperative has appointed Kevin Ellis to be the new CEO effective September 6.

He will succeed current CEO Larry Webster who has been leading the cooperative since 2005 and announced his retirement in early January.

“Kevin is a visionary leader who will be communicative and approachable at all levels of the organization,” said John T. Gould, President, and Chairman of the Cooperative’s Board.

 “It is also our belief that working with Upstate Niagara Cooperative’s dedicated executive team and staff, he will not only help to continue Upstate Niagara’s legacy but build upon and enhance it.”

Ellis is currently CEO of Cayuga Milk Ingredients, an Auburn-based producer of specialized dairy ingredients, and Cayuga Marketing, a 9C cooperative of members who own and manage dairy farm businesses in Central New York.

Ellis’s appointment is linked to his substantial experience in C-Level management, with concentrations in finance and marketing. He also has been the CEO of Cayuga Milk Ingredients and Cayuga Marketing for 14 years.

Ellis has pledged to build on his predecessor’s track and make the cooperative fruitful owing to his dedicated professional life in helping the dairy farming industry produce nutritious milk products.

Webster has led the cooperative to become a billion-dollar business attributed to unprecedented growth and expansion through mergers and acquisitions.

In addition, Larry currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Milk Industry Foundation and the National Milk Producers Federation.

Upstate Niagara Cooperative has over 300 family-owned and operated farms, making it one of the largest and most stable dairy cooperatives in the United States with nine dairy manufacturing plants in New York State and Pennsylvania.

Buffalo Business First in 2021, ranked Upstate Niagara Cooperative as the second runners-up in Buffalo’s Top Private Companies 2021 having revenue of US$1.6billion which is an improvement from US$1.3 billion in 2019.

This significant growth depicts how the dairy market size has grown. According to Grand View Research, the market was valued at US$481.08 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.5% from 2020 to 2027.

The shifting preference in consumers from meat to dairy products for protein enrichment, emerging cold chain logistics, and modern retail facilities offering dairy products are the key driver for the market growth.

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