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April 15, 2005

USA: Roberts Dairy to end production at Des Moines plant

Dairy processor Roberts Dairy has announced the end of production at its Des Moines plant.

Dairy processor Roberts Dairy has announced the end of production at its Des Moines plant.

It will begin phasing down production immediately and will completely curtail production by the first week of June. The plant will become a distribution operation, it said.

While Roberts Dairy will no longer be manufacturing in Des Moines, the customer will not see a difference in the availability of Roberts’ fresh, quality dairy foods and beverages, the company said. Roberts’ dairy products will be delivered daily to Des Moines consumers from Iowa City and Omaha.

Those employees affected will have the opportunity to relocate to open positions at Roberts Dairy processing facilities in Iowa City, Omaha or Kansas City. The Roberts Des Moines plant currently employs 117 people and potentially up to 60 employees may be affected.

“After a lengthy, careful and comprehensive review of how our plants operate to serve the customer, it is with much regret that we must announce that the Des Moines plant will curtail production,” said Roberts Dairy president Jeff Powell. “Seven dairy production facilities currently serve Iowa; three are operated by Roberts Dairy. Current market conditions cannot support this much production. Milk consumption has been on the decline for a number of years, leaving our plants with excess capacity.”

“Roberts Dairy’s ties to the Des Moines community and Iowa remain strong and the company looks forward to continuing to serve our customers in Des Moines,” Powell said.

Roberts will continue operating its production plant in Iowa City. The plant produces fluid milk and juice products. Roberts will also continue operating its processing facilities in Omaha and Kansas City, and the joint venture Hiland-Roberts ice cream plant in Norfolk, Nebraska.

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