The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, June 15, 2021 1:00 am

Decatur dairy plant to close

Losing 156 full-time, 20 part-time jobs

SHERRY SLATER | The Journal Gazette

DFA Dairy Brands Ice Cream will close its Decatur manufacturing plant by the end of the year, company officials informed the state.

The permanent closure will eliminate 156 full-time and 20 temporary jobs, according to a WARN filing with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act requires companies planning mass firings or layoffs to notify state and local officials at least 60 days before the effective date.

The company plans the first of several job cuts to be on Sept. 10. Officials declined to reveal the workers' wages.

DFA is short for Dairy Farmers of America, a national milk marketing cooperative owned by family dairy farmers. According to a map on the group's website, the cooperative includes more than 7,000 family farms, including between 101 and 350 in Indiana. Ohio is home to more than 350 member farms.

The decision to close the Adams County plant won't affect any farm's co-op membership, officials said.

The company's brands include Borden, Breakstone and PET. The Decatur plant produces ice cream products for the Mayfield Dairy, Dean's Country Fresh and Friendly's brands.

All of the production and the majority of the manufacturing lines will be relocated to other facilities, officials said.

Robin Galloway, president of DFA Dairy Brands Ice Cream, said the decision isn't a reflection of the plant's workforce.

“Decisions like this that impact people's livelihoods are never easy,” she said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the financial challenges associated with running the facility are just too great. The employees here have done an excellent job producing quality ice cream products, and we sincerely appreciate their hard work and dedication.” 

A company news release attributed the decision to “changing market conditions.” Galloway said the Decatur location wasn't profitable. The co-op isn't closing any other manufacturing plants.

DFA is working with local agencies to identify employment opportunities and job placement services available, the release said.

“This was a difficult decision,” Galloway said, “but we have a responsibility to our dairy farmer-owners to operate financially sound businesses that bring them additional returns on their investments in the cooperative.”

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