Foremost Farms USA talks to WEAU about its plan to close two cheese plants

By  | 

(WEAU)---As we first told you last week, Foremost Farms USA will close two of its cheese manufacturing plants in Alma Center and in Waumandee early this summer.

In Alma Center, news of the closing is worrying business owners who rely on the plant for cheese to make their product.

“We've been buying our cheese from them for the last six or seven years,” Donald Matales said.

Matales owns Jan’s Place and Pizza in downtown Alma Center. Every day the restaurant makes hundreds of pizza for pickup and delivery using only cheese from the Foremost Farms USA.

“We are looking around and have talked to a few people but we will keep looking,” Matales said.

The Alma Center Plant will permanently close its doors on June 30th. The plant’s 52 employees will be laid off and plant operations will be moved.

"The layoff of the employees is a significant impact to the community and we will be working the employees to get them other work and be offering severance packages,” Foremost Farms Communication Director Joan Behr said.

Behr says the Alma Center plant is one of their oldest and smallest plants became too costly to run.

"We are always evaluating our operations product and productivity to ensure that we stay viable for our farmers and customers," Behr said.

Behr said in recent years, “our members have invested over $50 million in our plant system to increase plant production capacity, maximize throughput and enhance processing capabilities,” she added.

Behr says the upgrades allow them to make the same amount of cheese through 7 plants instead of 9.

But for the small town of 500, there will now be a whole in the business community.

“Everyone out there was really nice and really good,” Matales said.