Prairie Farms to halt Peoria plant operations, permanently lay off employees

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Prairie Farms Dairy will end production operations and layoff all employees at its Peoria plant location.

Darin Copeland, a company spokesperson, says the Peoria plant will shift from a milk production facility to a distribution facility, citing “changes in market conditions, supply and demand.”

On Wednesday, the Edwardsville-based company submitted a notice to the City of Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois Department of Labor, and Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich confirmed the city received the memo Wednesday afternoon.

Production jobs will be eliminated in two phases, said Copeland.

According to the memo, the company plans to permanently layoff employees starting July 31, 2020. Workers on the plant’s USDA boxing operation will be laid off on August 31, 2020.

Some positions, including truck drivers, distribution workers, sales and administrative personnel, will continue to operate the facility, said Copeland.

In all, 62 employees will be laid off due to closure of the plant located at 2004 N. University St. in Peoria.

“Our difficult decision to transfer production to other Prairie Farms plants was made only after a long and careful review of options,” said Copeland. “It was not a reflection of the work of our employees.”

The Peoria facility will continue to receive daily deliveries of milk and products from other plants.

“There will be no disruption of delivery services or product to the Peoria area, and our commitment to the community will remain strong,” said Copeland.

Note: This story has been updated with response by Prairie Farm Dairy spokesperson.

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