Saputo to close additional Wisconsin cheese plant

Montreal-based Saputo will close another goat cheese manufacturing plant in Wisconsin.

The company announced Thursday they will move production from their Lancaster, Wisconsin site to their new state-of-the-art Reedsburg, Wisconsin facility, affecting about 100 employees.  Saputo had already announced it would close the Belmont, Wisconsin plant.

Larry Hedrich is the manager for the Quality Dairy Goat Producers Cooperative, which supplies goats’ milk to other cheese makers.  He says Saputo’s plans to close Lancaster was a surprise. “I don’t know what it will affect on the farm price. I would have to guess that they’re looking at it as they can be more efficient if they’re making all of their goat products in one facility. I don’t know why else you would close down a plant that’s as new as the Lancaster facility.”

Hedrich says it’s unclear what, if any impact the closures will have on the farmers, knowing some will be sending milk nearly 90 extra miles for processing. “Goat milk is much more expensive to transport than cow milk because it’s typically smaller volumes coming off each farm, and so it’s really going to depend on the location of the farm.”

Saputo is a top-three cheese maker in the U.S. and a leading cheese manufacturer and fluid milk and cream processor in Canada.  They’re also a leading dairy processor in Australia and the top dairy processor in Argentina.

In a statement, Saputo Board Chair, President, and CEO Lino Saputo said, “In line with our Global Strategic Plan, the network optimization initiatives announced today will increase operational efficiency and capacity utilization in our USA Sector, while further improving our cost structure.”

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