Saturday, October 20, 2018
 Land O'Lakes Closing Wisconsin Butter Plant  

Land O'Lakes will close Madison Dairy in Wisconsin and move the butter-making function to other facilities around the country. It was the largest butter-production plant in the Midwest when Land O'Lakes purchased it in 2000.

Land O’Lakes officials said the plant no longer is economically feasible to operate. The volume of butter produced in Madison will be absorbed by other Land O’Lakes plants around the country, said corporate communications director Jeanne Forbis, adding that the company does not make public the production volumes of its plants.

She said the decision to close Madison Dairy was made after a business analysis. "The plant was no longer cost-efficient," she said. "A variety of factors played into the decision." Forbis said the layoffs are expected to begin in mid-May with the plant closing in mid-June. Portions of the plant may close earlier.

The Madison Dairy layoffs would be the third-largest in the Madison area in 2009.

The plant closure comes at a time when Wisconsin’s milk production and dairy herd have grown and cheese plants are running at capacity, said Casey Langan of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau.

"It’s the type of thing we’re really trying to avoid," he said of the closure. "That’s our dairy industry infrastructure (that provides) markets for our products."

Langan said many dairy farms have been modernized, but the processing structure also needs to be upgraded. He said a state budget proposal calls for a tax credit to modernize the facilities of cooperative-owned dairy plants.

The Madison butter plant, purchased by Land O’Lakes from the Steinhauer family in 2000, then was the Midwest’s largest butter production plant.

With annual sales of $12 billion, Land O’Lakes is a farmer-owned food and agricultural cooperative that operates nationwide and in 50 countries. Based in St. Paul, Minn., the cooperative markets dairy products as well as food and animal ingredients and agricultural supplies.

Source: Wisconsin State Journal (WI)

Posted on Friday, April 17, 2009 (Archive on Friday, April 24, 2009)
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