and O’Lakes has announced it will idle its cheese manufacturing plant in Tulare, Calif., sometime during the latter half of 2010.

Company officials said the company’s recent investment in the Tulare facility’s butter manufacturing operations and declining milk volumes this year were important factors in the decision. They said it will be beneficial to shift milk shipments to the facility’s core butter manufacturing.

Tulare plant employees have been notified of the idling, and approximately 80 employees will be affected.

Jerry Kaminski, Land O’Lakes Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Dairy Foods Industrial, said: “Idling the Tulare cheese facility was a difficult decision that was driven by a variety of factors. We recognize that the plant’s idling will impact employees and the Tulare community, and we are working to ease the transition as much as possible.”

Land O’Lakes is offering affected employees access to its Employee Assistance Program, which offers counseling and other referrals. The company will be working with the Teamsters Union regarding the transition.

Source; Land O’Lakes