A milk processing plant in western Kentucky will close next month and 52 employees will be out of jobs following the decision.
Prairie Farms Dairy operates the Fulton, Ky. milk processor and plant general manager David Atchley notified the Kentucky Division of Workforce and Employment Services on May 1 of the plant closing. The letter from Prairie Farms indicates that the plant will close on June 30 and the 52 employees will receive a severance package.
Dairy Herd Management reached out to Prairie Farms several times for comment about how the plant’s closing will impact dairy farmers, but no response was made.
Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) cooperative members do supply milk to the plant and according to officials at DFA they are working with those impacted members to find another processor for their milk.
Fulton County Judge-Executive Jim Martin told the Paducah Sun that the plant closing was not a surprise as Prairie Farms mentioned several years ago it could happen. Martin adds that milk production locally has decreased.
The Fulton plant manufactures milk, mixes and ice cream through Turner Dairy Holdings, LLC, a branded partner for Prairie Farms. The other Turner-Prairie Farms affiliated plant processes milk and juices in Memphis, Tenn.
Prairie Farms plans to continue operating a distribution center in Fulton employing 12 people.
Several dairy processors have announced closings or a reduction in the amount of milk they would take in the past year across the country.
- Earlier this month Arla informed 11 dairies in Wisconsin they would no longer be taking their milk.
- Dean Foods told up to 80 producers in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and Ohio it would no longer be taking milk after May 31.
- Last April, Grassland Dairy Products informed farmers in Wisconsin, New York and Minnesota they would no longer be taking their milk because of trade policies with Canada.