Farmland Foods to close New Riegel plant

From a news release:

NEW RIEGEL, Ohio - Farmland Foods, Inc. announced today that it would shift spiral ham production to other facilities and close its New Riegel, Ohio plant in April of this year.

The plant closure will affect approximately 230 hourly and salaried employees. The company will offer transfers to other facilities to some salaried employees.

"This was a very difficult decision for the company," said James C. Sbarro, president of Farmland. "We are proud of the workers of New Riegel and the plant's record of performance. Unfortunately, we need to find ways to improve our operating efficiencies to remain competitive. And this often means consolidating operations."

The operations currently at New Riegel will be transferred to other larger and newer facilities owned and operated by Farmland. "We will work with UFCW officials to discuss the transition for New Riegel employees," Mr. Sbarro said.

The company will comply with the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), including providing a 60-day notification of the plant closure to employees. Under the WARN Act, Farmland also will notify state dislocated worker units so that they can promptly offer dislocated worker assistance. WARN Act notices, where appropriate, are being issued today.

"The move is designed to improve Farmland's competitive position and enhance the company's ability to provide quality products and superior customer service. Unfortunately, the move requires us to make some tough decisions." Mr. Sbarro said.

Farmland Foods will continue to own the New Riegel facility and will be exploring opportunities to find a future use of the plant.

"We're going to be looking at a number of possibilities. We've been in this community a long time, and this move is a very difficult one for us. It has been a good work environment for Farmland."

Farmland Foods provides a broad selection of pork products for retail and foodservice customers.