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Northeast Dairy Compact Commission Members
Connecticut Maine Massachusetts New  Hampshire Rhode Island Vermont
The Northeast Dairy Compact Commission, with its membership from the six New England states, includes producers, processors, retailers and consumer representatives. This broad participation allows the Compact Commission to address the public interest in milk price regulation
The Commission consists of three members from Maine and New Hampshire and five members from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and Rhode Island, all appointed by the Governors of the respective states. There are, thus, currently 26 members on the Compact Commission. In some circumstances, designees may also attend and vote at Commission meetings when Commission members are unable to attend.

Officers of the Compact Commission

Chair: Mae Schmidle, Consumer Representative, Connecticut
Vice Chair: Peter Petrone, Consumer Representative, Rhode Island
Secretary: Douglas Morris, Consumer Representative, New Hampshire
Treasurer: Colon Durrell, Consumer Representative, Maine
At Large: Harold Howrigan, Farmer Representative, Vermont

At Large: Charles Arbing, Processor Representative, Massachusetts

Executive Director: Daniel Smith

Commission Member and Designee Profiles


Shirley Ferris
Farmer Representative

Ms. Ferris serves as the Commissioner of Agriculture for the State of Connecticut. Her husband, Charles D. Ferris III, is principal member of Ferris Acres Farm L.L.C., a 140-head dairy farm, in Newtown, Connecticut. Two sons and a daughter are also members of the company. In 1994, the farm won the Dairy Farm of Distinction Award. In addition to her role as Commissioner, Ms. Ferris also serves as a member of the Board of Control of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment and as a Trustee of the University of Connecticut. Ms. Ferris served as president of Fairfield County Farm Bureau and was a member of the Board of Directors for Conn. Farm. Ms. Ferris earned a Liberal Arts Degree from Western Connecticut State University. Prior to her commissionership, she was a freelance writer specializing in agriculture.

Robert Jacquier 
Farmer Representative

Mr. Jacquier has been a dairy farmer for the past 48 years. He operates the Laurelbrook Farm in partnership with his wife Dorothy, son Peter, and grandsons Robert and James in East Canaan, Connecticut. In addition, he serves as Chairman of the Central Connecticut Farmers Association.

Mae S. Schmidle (Chair)
Consumer Representative

Mrs. Schmidle is a former State Legislator and Town Clerk. She currently serves as a Parliamentarian from Newtown, Connecticut where she conducts parliamentary workshops for the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. Mrs. Schmidle also serves as a member of the Milk Regulation Board in Connecticut. In addition, she is President of the Visiting Nurse Association of Greater Western Connecticut and serves as Chair of The Connecticut War Veterans Memorial Register of Remembrance Commission, The Architectural Resource Survey Committee of the Newtown Historical Society and The Children’s Adventure Daycare Center. Mrs. Schmidle earned a B.A. in English from the University of Connecticut and an M.B.A. from the University of Hartford.

Retailer Representative

Mr. D'Alessandro is president of Scitico Market, a family-owned business since 1948, in Enfield, Connecticut. He serves as a member of the Connecticut Milk Regulation Board. He is currently on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Food Association of which he is a past Chairman of the Board.Mr. D'Alessandro is also involved with the Knights of Columbus, the Chamber of Commerce, the Jaycees, and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.He has also served on the Special Olympics Committee and helps to raise funds for the Little Sisters of the Poor.He resides in Windsor, Connecticut with his wife, Donna, and has two grown daughters, Alison and Melissa.

Neil Marcus
Processor Representative

Neil Marcus is the President of Marcus Dairy, Inc., a Connecticut based processor and distributor of milk and other dairy products in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts.He represents the third generation of a family-owned business, started on his grandfather's dairy farm and continued by his father and brothers at its current location.He holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.He is a principal of and attorney with the law firm of Cohen and Wolf, P.C. in Danbury, Connecticut. He is active in a number of community-based organizations and currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Danbury Health Systems and the Danbury Hospital.He is a trustee of the Wooster School and the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art.He chairs the Capital Campaigns of both the Women's Center of Greater Danbury and the Redding Boys and Girls Club.He also serves on the Connecticut Milk Regulation Board.


Fred Hardy (At-Large Officer)
Farmer Representative

Mr. Hardy is a dairy farmer owner from New Sharon, Maine. He has served on many agricultural boards such as the SWC District and other dairy groups. Mr. Hardy currently serves as a County Commissioner for Franklin County District #2 in Maine.

Robert W. Spear
Consumer Representative

Mr. Spear is the Commissioner of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources for the State of Maine. He previously served eight years as a State Representative where he was chairman of the Agriculture Committee and was a member of the Taxation Committee. He is a third generation dairy and vegetable farmer. He performed duties as supervisor of the Knox-Lincoln Soil and Water Conservation District for 20 years and as president of the Maine Association of Conservation Districts. Commissioner Spear has been a member of the Maine State Farm Bureau for 20 years and a 4-H leader. He served as a selectman in Nobleboro for 16 years and the school board for nine years. He was also a Little League coach.

Colon Durrell (Treasurer)
Consumer Representative

Mr. Durrell grew up on a Maine dairy farm and showed Ayrshire cattle in 4-H. He earned a B.S. degree in Animal Science from the University of Maine in Orono. After serving as a County Supervisor with Farmers Home Administration, USDA for 18 years, he became an owner-broker with Village Realty Associates, Better Homes and Gardens. He serves as Chair of the Maine Milk Commission and on boards of the Maine Real Estate Information System and the Franklin County Childrens Task Force. After twenty years of service in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, he retired with rank of Commander. As an active member of the Professional Ski Instructors of America, he has attained full certification (Level III).

Stanley Millay (Designee of Agriculture Department)
Consumer Representative

Mr. Millay grew up on a dairy farm in Maine, served in the U.S. Army from 1969 to 1971 and has worked for the Maine Department of Agriculture since then, currently as the Executive Director of the Maine Milk Commission.Mr. Millay serves on the Board of Directors of the Maine Wild Blueberry Festival, one of Maine's Agricultural Fair events.He has been chair of his town's budget committee since 1990.He and his wife Debbie own a farm in Appleton, Maine and raise Polled Herefords.Mr. Millay earned a B.S. Degree in Public Administration from the University of Maine.



Charles Arbing (Officer At-Large)
Processor Representative

Mr. Arbing is Vice President of Manufacturing & Transportation at the Stop & Shop Supermarket Company. He formerly served as Vice President of Operations at Stop & Shop. Mr. Arbing lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts with his wife and two children. He earned a Bachelors degree from the University of Miami.

Gordon Cook, Jr.
Farmer Representative

Mr. Cook, with his wife, Beth, and son, Hank, own and operate the Cook Dairy Farm in Hadley, Massachusetts. In addition, the Cooks produce Holstein breeding stock.

Jay Healy
Consumer Representative

Mr. Healy is the Commissioner of the Department of Food and Agriculture for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In addition to his role as Commissioner, Mr. Healy runs the family-owned Hall Tavern Farm in East Charlemont, Massachusetts, the Commonwealth's oldest privately-owned tree farm.

Mary Kelligrew Kassler
Consumer Representative

Ms. Kelligrew Kassler is Director of the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program for the Department of Public Health in Massachusetts, a position she has held since 1985. She has served as President of the National Association of WIC Directors as well as on other board positions and is currently chair of the Association's Legislative Committee. Ms. Kassler has also served as Deputy Director for the Massachusetts Association of Mental Health, Director of Massachusetts Association of Community Mental Health Centers, and mutual fund security analyst. She holds an M.B.A. from Boston University and a B.S. degree in economics and government from Simmons College.

Sam Shields
Farmer Representative

Mr. Shields and his wife, Susan, own and operate Lolans Farm in Middleboro, Massachusetts. They have 100 milk cows and 70 head of young stock. Mr. Shields is a member of Agrimark, Inc. and serves as an elected Representative in Region #3. He also serves on Agri-Mark’s Legislative and Education Committee. In addition, Mr. Shields is a member of the Plymouth County Farm Service Agency Committee as well as a member of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau. He attended the University of New Hampshire.

New Hampshire

Powell Cabot (Treasurer)
Processor Representative

Mr. Cabot is the proprietor of Boggy Meadow Farm and Fanny Mason Farmstead Cheese. In addition, he serves as a Trustee of Franklin Pierce College, the David and Florence Guggenheim Foundation and The Society for theProtection of New Hampshire Forests. He is a Trustee Emeritus of Mt. Holyoke College as well as a Trustee Emeritus of the Mystic Seaport Museum. Mr. Cabot has worked in various capacities in Goldman, Sachs, Oppenheimer & Co., Dillon Read and Brenner Securities. Mr. Cabot is married with four children and four grandchildren and lives in Walpole, New Hampshire. He holds B.A. and M.B.A. degrees from Harvard.

Debora Erb
Farmer Representative

Mrs. Erb and her husband, Doug, own and operate a registered Holstein farm in Landaff, New Hampshire. In 1995, their farm was named New Hampshire Outstanding Dairy Farm of the year. Mrs. Erb is a member of Agri-Mark, Inc. Region #13 where she serves as a member of the Legislative and Education Committee. Mrs. Erb also serves as a delegate member of the New England Dairy and Food Council. Mrs. Erb serves as a member of the Lisbon Regional High School steering committee. The Erbs have three children.

Douglas Morris (Secretary)
Consumer Representative 

Dr. Doug, as he is known, earned his doctorate in Agricultural Economics from Oklahoma State University in 1973. He is currently a Professor of Resource Economics at the University of New Hampshire and has been an Agricultural Economist with the Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. He has been an active teacher, receiving a teaching excellence award from UNH in 1989 and a national award in 1975 by the Joint Council on Economic Education. Most recently, he taught at Hangzhou University, Peoples Republic of China. His research has centered on land use issues and economic impact studies ranging from exporting wood chips to the dairy buyout program. Dr. Doug resides in Durham, NH with his wife Kathleen Ann.

Rhode Island

Al Bettencourt
Consumer Representative 

Mr. Bettencourt is Executive Director of the Rhode Island Farm Bureau. In addition, he is a part-time vegetable farmer. Mr. Bettencourt is also a former Executive with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He holds a Bachelors degree from Rhode Island College and a Masters degree from the University of Rhode Island.

Aaron W. Briggs
Farmer Representative 

Mr. Briggs had been a dairy owner/operator since 1958 until he recently retired from farming. Mr. Briggs is married with three children and lives in Foster, Rhode Island.

Jametta Alston (Designee of Attorney General)
Consumer Representative

Ms. Alston has been a Special Assistant Attorney General with the Rhode Island Attorney General's Office for over eight years.In addition to representing the State of Rhode Island, she is assigned as counsel to the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General's Office.

Ken Ayars
Consumer Representative

Mr. Ayars serves as the Commissioner of Agriculture for the State of Rhode Island. He has been an employee with the Department of Agriculture since 1987. Mr. Ayars began work at the department in the division of animal health, supervised the pesticide section for eight years, and has worked the last eight years in the farm ecology division. He worked in home construction prior to coming to the Agriculture Department. Mr. Ayers earned a B.S. in Agriculture, a B.S. in Zoology and a M.S. in Agriculture from the University of Rhode Island. He resides in Kingstown, Rhode Island with his wife Julie and their daughter Alisabeth.

Ronald D. Newman (Designee of Agriculture Department)
Consumer Representative

Ron Newman serves as an Agriculture Products Inspector with the Rhode Island Division of Agriculture. Mr. Newman's duties include marketing and inspection of agricultural products. Mr. Newman earned a B.A. from the University of Rhode Island. Mr. Newman formerly served as President of the Town Council in his community.

Peter Petrone (Vice Chair, Designee of Health Department)
Consumer Representative 

Peter Petrone earned a B.A. in Business from Bryant College in Smithfield, Rhode Island and a M.B.A. from the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, RI. He has worked for the Rhode Island Department of Health for the past 18 years -- the last two years in the Division of Family Health. He recently returned to the WIC program, originally starting out there 18 years ago. Mr. Petrone resides in North Kingstown, Rhode Island with his wife Laurie and their three children.


Jacques Couture
Farmer Representative

Mr. Couture and his wife, Pauline own a diversified dairy and maple syrup farm, which includes a retail maple syrup mail order business. Mr. Couture also serves as Chairman of TheVermont Maple Promotion Board and as Vermont representative to the International Maple Syrup Institute, of which he is a past president. He is also a voting representative for Agrimark Region #12.

Andy Dykstra
Farmer Representative

Mr. Dykstra owns and formerly operated a dairy farm with his two sons in New Haven, Vermont. In addition he serves as Director, Secretary and Treasurer of the Independent Dairymen’s Cooperative Association, Inc.

Harold Howrigan (At-Large Officer) 
Farmer Representative

Mr. Howrigan is a dairy farmer who runs a family corporation with his wife and three sons in Fairfield, Vermont. In addition, he serves as President of the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery as well as a member of the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board in Region 13 and Dairy Management Inc. and U.S. Dairy Export. Mr. Howrigan is also an Executive Member and Director of the National Milk Producers Federation Board.

Millicent Rooney
Processor Representative

Ms. Rooney is part owner and Treasurer of Monument Farms, Inc. in Weybridge, Vermont. A family business since 1930, Monument Farms produces and processes fluid milk and distributes dairy products. She previously served on the Vermont Economic Development Authority in addition to other community service agencies and organizations. Ms. Rooney earned a B.A. degree from the University of Vermont.

Robert Starr
Consumer Representative

Mr. Starr has been a member of the Vermont State Legislature since 1979 and serves as a member and former Chair of the House Agriculture Committee. Mr. Starr is also President of Starr’s Transportation. In addition, he is a member of the Troy Vermont School Board, the Troy Zoning Board and Planning Commission as well as the Board of Civil Authority. Mr. Starr also serves as a Trustee of the Vermont State Colleges Board. He holds an Associates Degree in Agriculture from Vermont Technical College.

Leon Graves (Ex Officio Member)

Leon Graves was appointed Commissioner of The Vermont Department of Agriculture June 15, 1995. He was raised on a dairy farm which he leased from his parentsin 1973. He graduated from the University of Vermont in 1973 with a B.S. degree in Animal Science majoring in Animal Science and Vocational-Technical Education. Previous to being named Commissioner he was a State Senator from Franklin County and a Member of the Vermont House of Representatives. He is currently President of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA). 


Commission Executive Director: Dan Smith

Mr. Smith served as founding Executive Director of the Compact Commission, April 1996 through May, 1998, and has served as the Commission’s present Executive Director and General Counsel since August, 2000.From 1992 – 1996, Mr. Smith served as the lead staff person for the Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact Committee, which oversaw the interstate adoption and Congressional approval of the Dairy Compact.

Mr. Smith was a member of the Vermont Legislative Counsel, 1987 – 1992.While serving as staff to the Vermont Legislature, he co-drafted the Dairy Compact, with staff counterparts from New York, Massachusetts and Maine, in 1987 – 1988.Mr. Smith served as law clerk to the Honorable Frederic Allen, Chief Justice, Vermont Supreme Court, and as the Court’s Chief Clerk.He received his law degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1985 and his B.A. from Dartmouth in 1978.

Mr. Smith resides in Calais, VT, with his wife, Flor.

Return to Compact Public Information

The Northeast Dairy Compact Commission
64 Main Street, Room 21
Montpelier, VT 05602
phone: (802) 229-1941
fax: (802) 229-2028