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Foremost Farms USA to Close Chilton Cheese Plant
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 05/19/2020

The Baraboo-based Foremost Farms USA announced on Monday that it plans to close its Chilton manufacturing plant in July. CEO Greg Schlafer said with the facility in need of many upgrades, it made more sense for the company to shift the operation's production to other sites.

"We are always reviewing our manufacturing network and looking for ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our operations," Schlafer said. "Closing the facility is difficult for us. But in looking at our operations holistically, we don't think making long-term investments in the plant make strategic sense for our network. We have other plants with upgraded technology and optimized logistics that will drive significant cost efficiencies."

The Coronavirus was another factor in the decision to close, as food service clients have decreased their orders in recent months because of the governor's Stay at Home order.

"This is not a reflection on our employees in Chilton. This is a business decision that has nothing to do with their performance, which has been excellent," He said. "We are committed to treating our employees with respect and dignity and will be working with them through this transition."

Built in the 1940s, the Chilton plant makes Italian cheeses including Provolone which is sold into the foodservice market for sandwiches. The 53 employees who work at the location were informed of the news earlier in the week.

Foremost will offer its affected workers a severance package in the coming weeks.

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