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Milk Processing Plant to Close

***UPDATE, THURSDAY 9:44 A.M.***(AP) – A milk processing plant in Monett will close later this year, costing 86 people their jobs.Officials with the Dairy Farmers of America notified employees on Tuesday that the plant would close in September because it is losing money.Larry Purdom, a member of the DFA Board of Directors, says the high cost of corn has made it difficult for dairy farmers to produce enough milk to run the plant at full volume.The Monett Times reports ( ) DFA will offer employees transfers to other company facilities within a 70-mile radius and will hold a job fair for the employees.The Kansas City-based cooperative processes milk and cheese and sells it to wholesale buyers and through its store.***ORIGINAL STORY***Another one of Missouri’s remaining eight milk processing facilities will close later this week, dairy industry sources told ABC 17 News on Wednesday. The facility hasn’t been identified yet and its employees hadn’t received notification of the closure.The impending announcement had Missouri Dairy Association leaders and dairy farmers fearing that the cost of milk and milk products will increase across Missouri. David Braun, a Wardsville dairy farmer for 50 years, said he has seen the state drop from 11th in milk production to 25th in the nation. He said closing another facility lowers the state’s milk production further, meaning more imports and higher prices.”It definitely would have an effect,” Braun said. “The further you haul, the more it costs.”That cost could be 36 cents per gallon at the grocery store, according to the Dairy Association.”Since 1975, we’ve lost over a dozen processing plants in this state,” said Dairy Association executive director Dave Drennan. “It’s been through consolidations and a declining milk supply.”As news of the impending closure spread across the state Wednesday, some state lawmakers were meeting with farmers about ways to save the declining industry. Farmers, like Braun, said government subsidies on ethanol have increased the price of corn and feed, making it hard for them to do business.”If we don’t produce milk here, we’re not going to manufacture it either,” Rep. Bill Reiboldt (R-Neosho) told ABC 17 News. “That could mean a loss of jobs and positions going into the future.”Industry sources told ABC 17 News that Central Dairy in Jefferson City, which is run by Carlinville-IL-based Prairie Farms, likely was not the facility in danger of closing because it consistently operates at capacity has a strong reputation.

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